Does Microsoft offer the best Android Office suite? (Android Office app showdown)

Microsoft expanded access to its Office preview for Android and in this screenshot gallery Matthew takes a look at it and several alternatives.

Several Office apps for Android tablets

Microsoft recently expanded the availability of its Office preview for Android tablets so it is appropriate to take another look at how you can perform word processing, work with spreadsheets, and create slideshows on Android tablets.

It's been over three years since I posted my Android Office apps showdownand screenshot gallery. Some of the same products have been improved while others have been left to age on the vine. With Microsoft's official Office suite launching soon for Android, I wanted to see if that option was going to trump available third party options.

I took the following six suites, both Microsoft and Google suites come as three separate apps each, for a trial over the past couple of weeks.

-Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Preview

-Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

-Kingsoft WPS Office

-DataViz Documents To Go

-MobiSystems OfficeSuite Pro

-Polaris Office

All of these suites can be downloaded and used for free. WPS Office states it has over 300 million users and 627,000 Google Play Store reviews. There are in-app purchases for Docs To Go, OfficeSuite Pro, and Polaris Office.

Docs To Go has a range of feature options priced at $5.99 to $14.99. OfficeSuite Pro is priced at $14.99 for premium features. Polaris Office charges $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year for premium features such as cloud storage, sync across multiple devices, handwriting features, and more.

Some of these applications are preinstalled on Android tablets. The free version of OfficeSuite 8 was installed on the Sony Z3 Compact Tablet I am evaluating at the moment.

All of the applications allow you to open, edit, and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. Some apps support other file types, such as .txt and .csv.

Most of the apps provide access to files on the device or storage card, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, and Dropbox. Microsoft doesn't support Box or Google Drive. Google's apps only support Google Drive.

The UI of the application is important for working with documents and understanding where all of the functions can be found. You can judge for yourself in the screenshot gallery, but I found WPS Office to have the best layout. Microsoft and OfficeSuite Pro were next, followed by Google's suite, Polaris Office, and Docs To Go dragging up the rear.

A few years ago Quickoffice (now owned by Google) and Docs To Go were the standard on Android and iOS. Docs To Go looks like development has stopped and I would never recommend it today.

After opening some fairly large and complex files, creating new documents, and editing existing files, I found that Kingsoft's WPS Office is the most powerful Office suite for Android. As an engineer I spend more time in Excel than Word and was pleased to see advanced functions such as pivot tables, extensive functions, detailed cell control, encryption, and more in WPS Office.

My second choice is MobiSystems OfficeSuite Pro and my third choice is Microsoft's Office Suite.

Google's suite is great if you live in the Google ecosystem, but the tools are fairly minimal and there is no support for other cloud services.