Features & Use
Right off the bat, Olive Office by Olive Phone meets the basic duties of an Office application in a no fuss manner. When you first start the app the simple user interface immediately impresses. The functionality here is divided into four simple categories. The ''home'' screen is your most recently edited documents. Despite having support for different languages, during the test period it was not possible for me to change the language from English to German.
Furthermore, the application naturally offers the possibility to access the local and external memory of the device. Here are the first stumbling blocks, however, found in the understanding of the variety of functions. Although the application differentiates between internal and external memory, it is not entirely clear how Olive Office distinguishes these files. My Nexus 4 has no external memory and yet files appear in one of two ''External Storage'' sections. They are actually the internal memory files, which also appear in the ''Internal Storage'' section. This could be confusing if you have both internal and external memory on your Android.
On the other hand, the initial impression of a functional app is rounded off by the integration of files from the cloud. Unfortunately, only three cloud providers are integrated with Olive Office: Dropbox, Google Docs and Box. There is still room for improvement in this area. The tab ''Function" also holds a lot of potential for confusion. This is where other apps by Olive Phone are offered. Functions such as a PDF converter or handwriting recognition must be bought, but how this section is set up is not entirely clear. For example, the wireless file transfer setting is positioned here (for free), along with a free Instagram client and numerous other paid apps and services not included in the Olive Office app.
These points aside, when it comes to the basic tasks that need to be done, Olive Office passes with flying colors. In addition to the usual functions of an Office application, our test candidate also performs some additional tasks, which not all other competitors in this category can handle. In this context, having the comment function supported in Word documents especially must be emphasized. The previously saved commentaries will open in the text file with a double-click. Thus, comments are fluidly incorporated into the work flow and can be viewed without much fuss.
Speaking of work flow: due to the somewhat cumbersome arrangement of the controls the work flow is not always so fluid. At least not as fluid as many other competitors manage to make it. For example, the buttons to go up or down to the next page appear buried in a feature bar with many buttons.
On one occasion during the test period, it was not possible to open an Excel spreadsheet created on the PC in Olive Office. In context, this means a failure rate of almost 10%, which is not really acceptable if you work with these kinds of files often.
Screen & Controls
The operation and graphical presentation of Olive Office is a double-edged sword. Thus, the graphical presentation succeeds because the simple design is convincing and fits well into the overall system. Unfortunately, this nice clean interface is then marred by ugly display errors which you can see an example of in the screenshot below.
In general operation there is also still room for improvement. As mentioned above, the control bar is not very well integrated into not only the app interface but also into the general work flow. Also, the menu button at the bottom is somewhat annoying because the action overflow menu already exists in the upper right corner of the screen.
Speed & Stability
During the test period, Olive Office Premium suffered from no stuttering or crashes.
Olive Office Premium is available free of charge. A number of in-app purchases will be offered but are not essential unless you specifically need that functionality.
Olive Office Premium is expected to be worth a closer look for many readers at least. Despite being freely available, Olive Office Premium meets the basic expectations of an Office app with ease. Personally, I was surprised at the good integration of the comment function and will continue to let Olive Office enjoy the precious memory of my smartphone for that reason alone.
But the generally good impression should not obscure the areas that need improvement. Graphical glitches, sub-optimal placement of the function buttons and many (sometimes expensive) in-app purchases tarnish the image of something otherwise so clean and functional. The last aspect especially should help you decide if you think this free app is worth the additional price you will need to pay if those features are something you need. It's safe to say that the Premium in the title is not about what you get for free, but what you need to pay for the extras.