Review: InstallFree Nexus – MS Office for All Platforms? (beta)

Picture of InstallFree Office 2010

Image from Google Chrome Store (c) Respective parties

As the “millions” of readers of my blog will know I am currently facing the choice of spending a lot of money or not on a new computer or perhaps even computers. One problem I do face is my rather mixed range of platforms that includes IOS, Android, Linux, Mac OS and Windows, to say the least this poses a number of problems. Not least the problem of compatibility especially when I want to edit Word files under say Android or Linux. While Documents to Go or Libre Office are ok, in the end neither get there 100% of the time.

However, yesterday I discovered perhaps one of the cooler apps which is Installfree Nexus Office for the Chrome Browser. This essentially lets you run standard apps within your browser such as MS Office You can link it to your Google Docs, Dropbox and Box storage spaces and run Office on ALL the platforms I mentioned earlier! Rather neat! Right now it comes with a 60 day trial of Office 2010, and while its not 100% perfect (read stable) it beats having to set up VNC type connections it is VERY easy to set up and install. For sometime I also ran Office 2007 under Wine, this in general worked ok but the installation process was so bad that root canal work at the dentist was often quicker and less painful.

What are the downsides? Well for now it only supports some countries namely the USA and Western Europe and should you be moving around and try to use it elsewhere then it will display an error message. What’s more there are sometimes problems with loading or reading files and opening dialogue boxes, but this could in part be down to me using it on a rather old Atom N270 netbook. Other potential issues include data privacy and security as they require access to your cloud storage accounts – I personally am always a bit nervous about granting this to companies I don’t know to well. That said InstallFree Nexus with Office 2010 is not anywhere near as fast as the original application or even running it under Wine. It is also slightly slower than using Google Docs, well on this rather old netbook anyway.

As I said it’s as yet not stable and right now it’s in beta but is certainly worth trying out. It’s far from being 100% stable ¬†or ready however unlike when using Google Docs you get the option to work fully and natively with your Office files, this in itself is a big bonus and installation is very easy.

About Rod McCall

Rod McCall is a researcher in the field of human-computer interaction in areas such as augmented reality, mobile gaming in-car systems and virtual environments. He has a passing interest in economics after not being entirely convinced by the rubbish presented as fact during lectures on that particular subject while at uni.
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