These days, when most people think of office suites (integrated word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and personal information managers), Microsoft Office or Google Drive Office Suite come to mind – and for good reason.

Both are well-developed and highly effective solutions for creating, managing, and archiving business documents, as well as generating, responding to, and collecting correspondence data.

It’s these two powerhouses, Google and Microsoft office suites (both developed and offered by two of the biggest corporations in the world), that set the standards. But Microsoft has always been the stalwart in office productivity software, and their massive resources have allowed it to relentlessly develop and implement at a rate with which smaller software developers couldn’t keep up.

As the number of computer technology enthusiasts grew exponentially, at an astonishing rate, Microsoft responded with frequent and fascinating upgrades to Word and Excel, its core digital office word processing and spreadsheet programs. Shortly after that, Microsoft rounded out the suite by integrating its well-received PowerPoint presentation software, followed by a powerful combination email client and personal information manager, or PIM, called Outlook.

Over the next few years, Microsoft Office saw the occasional addition (and often subsequent removal) of other programs and utilities, including desktop publishing (Microsoft Publisher) and project management (Microsoft Project) applications.

From a time perspective, Google’s Drive and office suite apps were, despite their enormous success, late bloomers. While they didn’t, by way of advancing office document suite technology, bring much to the party, Google Drive and its office apps (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, have played a significant role in promoting cloud-based office productivity software.

Since the Android operating system is also one of Google’s massive endeavors, development of Google Drive and office suite apps native to that platform is yet another of the company’s impetus.

The Other Android Office Suites

There are other contenders in the ongoing struggle for a share of the Android office apps market. Depending on how you look at it, the number of players range from around 5 to 20 or more, and some – with tiny user bases and generally unheard of – aren’t contenders at all.

Others, including Kingsoft’s WPS Office, with over 100 million installations and the virtue of having been around (as a Windows Microsoft Office Suite alternative) for a while, is easily a viable candidate for inclusion here.

All six final candidates for this roundup, except one, MobiSystems OfficeSuite, boasts more than 1 million installations, as reported by Google Play, the foremost Android App repository; hence, culling the field down to five products was taken care of for me.

Combined with my many years analyzing office suite software, each product’s installation count at Google Play, overall compatibility with Windows versions of the core apps, and the purchase price, the products that made the cut are:

  • DataViz Docs to Go 3
  • Google Drive
  • Infraware Polaris Office
  • Kingsoft WPS Office and PDF
  • Microsoft Office Suite (365)

Buying The “Best” Android Office Suite Apps

Some of these apps, under specific scenarios, are free, and if you don’t (as I do) make your living composing and managing documents, communicating with numerous contacts and potential clients, you may not need a full-featured office suite.

By full-featured, I mean word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, though most businesspeople also use PIMs, such as Microsoft Outlook, for keeping track of contacts, responding to and managing incoming and outgoing email, scheduling appointments and other events, keeping track of To-Dos (or tasks), and so on.

Only Microsoft and Google (Gmail) provide PIMs with their office suites, but then many users get these services, or most of them, anyway, via either their ISPs or email providers. Gmail’s online email client, for example, has a calendar, contacts list, To-Dos lists, and so on, and, as a Google property, it’s also well-integrated with Android – and it’s… well, free. You don’t have to buy anything to compensate for your office software’s lack of a calendar.

The Android Office Suites Reviewed Here

As usual with my reviews, this roundup doesn’t make judgments as to which of these products is “better” than the other, though in this case, a couple are lopsidedly more well-developed than the others. Even so, as mentioned, to gain a spot in this roundup, the suite had to have word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps, or capabilities, built-in.

The products below are listed in alphabetical order; hence, you should infer nothing by positioning in the list. Have no fear, though, if, after installing each app and putting it through its paces—creating complex documents, presentations, and spreadsheets—and analyzing ease-of-use, performance and the presence of critical design and layout features, I come across missing functions and other issues, I tell you about it, without hesitation and completely.

Finally, while most of the more recent Android smartphones come with considerably large screens than just a few years ago, typing and laying out documents on their still relatively small screens isn’t always easy. Where notable, I’ll spend some time analyzing as app’s suitability to specific tasks. Just because you can easily type double-spaced school homework pages without a lot of display-driven frustration, doesn’t mean that getting around in large spreadsheets or creating sophisticated full-page graphics-heavy handouts will be straightforward, too.

Okay. Let’s take a look at the best five Android Office suites.

DataViz Documents to Go 4

Product Tiers

  • Free version includes:
    • Word processing
    • Spreadsheets
    • Presentations
    • View PDFs
  • Paid version: includes
    • Word processing
    • Spreadsheets
    • Presentations
    • View pdfs
    • Cloud site support (no storage included)
    • Sync with desktop computers over USB

Pricing

  • Free version = $0 for life, not a trial version
  • Paid version = $14.99 monthly

Pros:

  • Simple and straightforward productivity apps
  • Strong Find and Replace tool
  • Robust editing tools
  • Redesigned user interface breaths new air into an otherwise down-and-out app
  • Android v.9 (Pie) ready

Cons:

  • Does not track and record changes
  • Pricy for feature set
  • Lackluster PowerPoint support
  • No storage space included

Bottom Line:

Docs to Go is an inexpensive capable Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint alternative that allows you to make touch-ups and revisions on the fly, on your Android handheld, without having any of the native Windows Office Suite programs on hand.

A few years back, a rocky version 3.0 upgrade left the Docs to Go userbase wondering about their lightweight, inexpensive, and straightforward Android office suite document viewing and editing app. With version 4, though, there was nowhere to go but up.

Now, with over 50 million installations and at 15-years-old, with Docs to Go there’s no need to download separate components or cloud service or drive apps. You get multiple file save and synchronization options, such as save and sync directly to your Android device, desktop and/or laptop via USB, and to various cloud services.

With version 4, you don’t have to upgrade to Premium to edit documents, and an app redesign modernizes the File Explorer-like UI, providing access to a wider range of editing and formatting features—without giving up valuable screen space.

Editing and formatting options for each app has been revamped, too. In Sheets to Go, for example, you can port Freeze Panes, Sort, Auto-fit and other configuration settings from Microsoft desktop Excel to the Sheets to Go Android app, as well as rename, insert, resize, and delete headings, and more.

DataViz’s InTact Technology retains original document formatting applied in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, making Docs to Go a ready-for-prime-time utility for editing MS Office files on your Android mobile device, but you must supply your own cloud storage.

Google Drive

Pricing Tiers = Free to $1,024

  • Free version includes:
    • 15GB of Google Drive storage space
    • Google Docs (word processing)
    • Google Sheets (spreadsheets)
    • Google Slides (presentations)
    • Gmail (email client, calendar, scheduling, tasks, and more)
    • Google PDF Viewer (view and limited PDF editing)
    • Google Keep (notes, lists, workflow, and more)
    • Several other Google productivity apps
  • Paid version ($1.99 to $1,024) includes:
    • 100GB to Unlimited Google Drive storage space
    • Google Docs (word processing)
    • Google Sheets (spreadsheets)
    • Google Slides (presentations)
    • Gmail (email client, calendar, scheduling, tasks, and more)
    • Google PDF Viewer (view and limited PDF editing)
    • Google Keep (notes, lists, workflow, and more)
    • Several other Google productivity apps

Pricing

Personal Accounts “Google One”

  • Free version = $0 for 15GB of storage and full access to apps
  • Paid accounts
    • 100GB = $1.99
    • 1TB = $9.99
    • 10TB+ = $99.99 with incremental 10TB upgrades for $99.99; 30TB, then, will run you $299.99

Business Accounts (G Suite)

  • Basic = $6 per user for 30GB storage, Office apps, and other services
  • Business = $12 per user for 1TB storage, Office apps, and other services
  • Enterprise = $25 per user for 1TB storage, Office apps, and enterprise-level security and data protection services

Pros:

  • Massive business-level features for relatively low prices
  • Highly compatible with Microsoft Office apps
  • Powerful document creation, editing, and archiving tools
  • Complete integration with Android OS and Google apps

Cons:

  • Google support is mostly online and sometimes difficult to navigate
  • Office Suite apps are not as robust as Microsoft Office apps

Bottom Line:

Google Drive Office Suite offers free cloud storage and several Microsoft Office Suite compatible apps, or, for a small fee you can get full support and more functionality than most average personal users and businesspeople will ever need.

I could go on for thousands upon thousands of words and barely start to cover this powerful set of office suite apps, which, like Microsoft’s Office 365 and OneDrive, is centered around the Google Drive cloud-based storage product. You pay for storage in increments of GBs and TBs, starting at free, and Google throws in its Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail online email client and personal information manager, the Keep notetaking and list-making app, and much more. (I’ve had a G Suite business account for several years now, and don’t use half of what’s available.)

On Windows PCs, Google Office Suite apps are in the cloud. Android versions, however, are apps that you download and install on your device, so that your work is available to you when you’re offline. Also, you can access, share, and collaborate on office suite files saved online via Google apps that run inside Chrome and some other browsers. Google Drive’s cloud-based storage also automatically uploads, saves, sorts, and syncs with your smartphone’s storage folders, as well as your Windows, iOS, and macOS installations.

The bottom line for Google Drive Office Suite is that it works well, you’ll want for nothing in terms of features and performance, and it costs about a third less than Microsoft’s OneDrive/Office 365 solution. And, its integration with your Android mobile device is second to none.

Infraware Polaris Office

Product Tiers

  • Free version includes:
    • 1GB storage
    • 3 Devices (1 PC or Mac, 2 mobile devices)
    • Limited word processing
    • Limited spreadsheets
    • Limited presentations
    • Real-time collaborative editing
    • Document version management (restoration for up to 3 previous days)
  • Paid versions Personal Smart and Pro
    • 3GB to 10GB storage
    • 9 to 15 devices
    • Ad-free
    • Real-time collaborative editing
    • Word processing
    • Spreadsheets
    • Presentations
    • Create, edit, and view pdfs
    • Document version management (restoration for up to 15 previous days
    • Convert PDF to MS Office documents
  • Business products – Standard and Business
    • All personal product features
    • Lifetime ownership option available
    • 24-hour support

Pricing

  • Smart = $3.99 monthly or $39.99 yearly
  • Pro = $5.99 monthly or $59.99 yearly
  • Business Standard = $240.99 lifetime ownership
  • Business = $6.99 monthly or $83.88 yearly

Pros:

  • Compact, one-app utility for opening, editing, and managing all doc types
  • Stylus support
  • 1GB storage with free version, and support for other cloud sites
  • Strong collaboration tools
  • Multiple licenses for one price

Cons:

  • Too many product variations and pricing tiers
  • Adds in free version
  • Mobile apps crowd small smartphone screens
  • Skimpy on document templates

Bottom Line:

Polaris Office delivers strong MS Office Suite compatibility across all platforms and free storage with the ad-supported product, though the product and pricing models are a bit nit-picky and complicated.

If you’ve been using Android devices, especially Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets, for a while, then you probably recognize Polaris Office as the MS Office alternative that shipped with those handhelds for several years. Polaris Office for Android is a small (60MB) collection of word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and PDF creation and editing apps that you can access under the same Polaris interface, essentially bringing business docs together beneath the same lightweight, easy-to-use banner, so to speak.

The document editors themselves, the MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint equivalents, look and feel very much like their Microsoft Office counterparts, and the complex heavily formatted Windows-version documents that I ported to Polaris Office on my Galaxy Note 9 came across nearly perfect, without my having to go back and do any reformatting.

Polaris Office’s strong suit is its real-time, or live, cross-platform collaborative prowess, though. In other words, multiple users can access a single document in real time and work on it simultaneously, wherein contents edited by each user is saved automatically. The app also ensures that corporate documents are secured and protected from data leakage and data breach.

WPS Office – Word, Docs, PDF, Note, Slide & Sheet

Product Tiers

  • Free version includes:
    • 1GB storage
    • Word processing
    • Spreadsheets
    • Presentations
    • Save to PDF
  • Paid version: includes
    • 1GB storage
    • Word processing
    • Spreadsheets
    • Presentations
    • Save to PDF

Pricing

  • Free version = $0 for life, not a trial version
  • Paid Premium version= $29.99 per year
  • Paid Professional = $49.99 per year
  • Paid Lifetime = $79.99

Pros:

  • Excellent MS Office compatibility
  • 1GB cloud storage
  • Interface is customizable
  • Handy tabbed documents, rather than individual windows, support
  • Section Navigation feature makes moving around in large documents easier

Cons:

  • Collaboration features are limited, with no real-time coauthoring
  • Free version includes too many ads
  • Lacks grammar checking
  • Missing a few advanced formatting and layout functions
  • Lacks PDF editing

Bottom Line:

WPS Office is a no-frills, straightforward MS Office Suite alternative with very little difference between its free and inexpensive Premium and business-oriented Professional products, though you’ll have to look elsewhere to edit PDFs.

WPS Office has been around since before the turn of this century, and it’s well-known for looking and behaving much like the Windows MS Office Suite programs, though MS Office apps are getting updated so frequently nowadays that Kingsoft (and everybody else) is having trouble keeping up. Of all the MS Office Suite clones out there, though, this one is the least expensive and the most straightforward.

The ad-supported free version comes with three apps, Writer, Presentation, and Spreadsheets and 1GB of storage, which is the same as the reasonably priced $30-per-year Premium version. The Premium and $45-per-year ($80 lifetime) Professional products differ from the free version in that they are ad-free. And, while WPS Office is not the most feature-rich MS Office alternative out there, during my tests, it easily covered most business document scenarios, such as importing and exporting MS Office-compatible documents seamlessly. In fact, it didn’t fail to export formatting-error-free documents once, and I had trouble only when I got carried away and tried to make it port out highly advanced features like index and table of contents associations.

Alas, WPS Office, while it can export WPS Writer docs to Adobe Acrobat PDF files, there is no app for formatting and annotating them. In other words, you’ll have to make your changes in Writer and then export the PDF again with each revision. Compared to what Adobe’s portable document files (PDFs) are capable of, the support WPS Office provides is nominal. But you do get a robust MS Office Suite or Android alternative for free or ad-free for next to nothing, which makes WPS Office a budget-friendly choice for creating and updating your word processing docs, spreadsheets, and presentations on your smartphone.

Microsoft Office for Android

Product Tiers

  • Free Microsoft Office Mobile:
    • 1TB storage on OneDrive
    • Limited Word
    • Limited Excel
    • Limited PowerPoint
    • Limited Outlook
    • Limited OneNote
    • Limited PDF features
    • Skype and several other Microsoft apps
  • Microsoft Office 365 Home
    • 1TB storage OneDrive
    • 6 users
    • Word
    • Excel
    • PowerPoint
    • save to PDF
    • Outlook
    • OneNote
    • Skype and several other Microsoft apps
  • Microsoft Office 365 Personal
    • 1TB storage OneDrive
    • 6 users
    • Word
    • Excel
    • PowerPoint
    • save to PDF
    • Outlook
    • OneNote
    • Skype and several other Microsoft apps
  • Microsoft Office 365 Business
    • unlimited OneDrive storage
    • Word
    • Excel
    • PowerPoint
    • save to PDF
    • Outlook
    • OneNote
    • Skype and several other Microsoft apps
    • Numerous other business-oriented features depending on which business plan

Pricing

  • Microsoft Office Mobile = free
  • 365 Home = $9.99 monthly or $99.99 yearly
  • 365 Personal = $6.99 monthly or $69.99 yearly
  • 365 Home & Business = $249.99 lifetime
  • 365 Business = $8.25 monthly per user with 12 months commitment
  • 365 Business Premium = $12.50 monthly per user with 12 months commitment

Pros:

  • Numerous apps, features, and added-value options
  • 1GB cloud storage on non-business products
  • Mobile apps and online in-browser access
  • Free version includes Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint Android apps with all the key Office features, seamless OneDrive cloud storage and a familiar design.
  • Cross-platform compatibility and productivity
  • Real-time live collaboration in Word and PowerPoint

Cons:

  • Advanced features require upgrade to Office 365 subscription
  • Some layouts are crowded on smartphone screens
  • Costly compared to Google Office Suite and other Android solutions

Bottom Line:

It took some time and a few slow starts, but Microsoft’s Android office suite solution (and Microsoft Office 365 in general) has become the powerful, feature-rich solution we’ve come to expect from the world’s largest software publisher, though, like everything else Microsoft, the elegant, full-featured solution isn’t, compared to its competitors, cheap.

There’s so much to say about Microsoft Office Mobile and Office 365 that, well, pull up a chair… Office Mobile is the free version and it comes with everything you need for basic editing and cloud solutions. If you want collaboration, cross-platform compatibility, and so much more that makes this giant solution highly productive, you’ll need to upgrade to an Office 365 solution. That opens the entire suite of apps and all the advanced layout, formatting, and added-value features.

With Office 365 you get it all, downloadable (and browser-based) Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Skype (and… well, I’m sure I’ve left something out) apps. (If, by the way, you were confused by the bulleted product feature lists at the onset of this review, I confess that after researching this for hours, I still don’t have it figured out.)

As the company has done with almost everything since the beginning of IT time—that is, overdo and convolute everything—Office 365 is a monster and there are more ways to buy it with so many variants that I say, pick the one closest to your needs and lay your money down. Even at $100 yearly, which covers licenses for nearly every productivity app the company makes on up to six devices, office suites (even Office 365) are, compared to a few years ago, some the best deals around.

Only Google Drive Office Suite offers close to a similar list of products and features, and Google’s solution costs notably less, but I’ve been using Microsoft Office Suite programs since long before there was an internet, Android devices, or even a Google, for that matter. Granted, I don’t use even half of Office 365’s features, and I doubt that I’m alone in that.

When You Think About it

You and I could probably get by with the least-expensive and less-robust of the solutions discussed here, saving a few bucks at the same time. Now that I think about it, Microsoft doesn’t need my money more than I do, nor does Google. Researching and writing this review has caused me to reexamine and reconsider my own office suite requirements, and to ask myself why I don’t take advantage of free? How about you?

On the other hand, for those of us who make a living depending on office suite productivity software, none of these products are too expensive. Besides, depending on the publications that I work for, often I am required to use products from one or more of these solutions. One of my writing gigs, for example, stores product test results in Google Sheets, which means I must have at minimum a subscription to Google Drive. Another publication requires that I turn in manuscripts in the latest Microsoft Word format, and it’s easiest for me to ensure the “latest” format by using and updating MS Word 365.

Most users, though, don’t have such stringent production requirements, and I suspect that for most of you, any of these Android solutions will do.