"If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63."
OpenOffice.org OpenOffice 3.0 beta
A great office suite that costs nothing
Who should use OpenOffice? Anyone who needs an office suite but doesn't require the more sophisticated features of Microsoft Office. It's ideally suited for home users, students, and small businesses who don't want to pay the hefty fee for Microsoft Office. If you plan on purchasing an ultra low-cost portable such as the Asus Eee PC, the suite is ideal - it's free, doesn't require an excess amount of RAM, runs on a variety of operating systems (including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux), and won't take all of your precious hard disk space. Even on a normal PC, it's a great alternative to Microsoft Office. Enterprises, though, may have already standardised on Office. And even if they haven't, there simply aren't the support tools and support ecosystem for OpenOffice as there is for Microsoft Office. All in all, OpenOffice 3.0 shows that you don't have to pay a bundle for a great office suite - in fact, you don't even have to pay a penny.
OpenOffice 3.0 shows that you don't have to pay a bundle for a great office suite — in fact, you don't even have to pay a penny (this review is based on the beta version of the suite). OpenOffice 3.0 is a free, open-source software suite that provides most of what anyone could want in an office suite. OpenOffice 3.0 includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, database, drawing tools, and maths equation editor.
Although it doesn't include all of the high-end features and the slick user interface of Microsoft Office 2007 (for the PC) and Microsoft Office 2008 (for the Mac), it will handle just about any job you need done.
If you're not working in an enterprise that has standardised on Microsoft Office, you should think twice before paying full freight for Office, and give serious consideration to OpenOffice 3.0 - at least when the final version is released.
Keep in mind that OpenOffice 3.0 is in beta and should be used for evaluation purposes only. We tested the Windows version on a 1.83GHz Core Duo PC with 1GB of memory, and found it to be somewhat buggy. For example, we were unable to create a document and save it without crashing — we had to first create a document in another program, and then open it in OpenOffice; at that point it worked fine. These types of problems should come as no surprise; the final version of OpenOffice 3.0 isn't due until September, and this is a very early beta.
OpenOffice 3.0 beta comes with six applications: the Writer word processor, Calc spreadsheet, Impress presentations program, Base database program, Maths equation editor, and Draw graphics program. Even as a 147.9MB download, though, it's still svelte compared to Microsoft Office.
If you've already used OpenOffice 2.0, the beta of version 3 will be very recognisable. Little in the overall interface or each individual application has changed. If you're not familiar with OpenOffice, you'll consider the interface either functional and straightforward or old-fashioned and stodgy, depending on your aesthetic inclinations. Toolbar icons, for example, are cartoonish-looking, and you won't find the equivalent of Microsoft Office 2007's Ribbon.
A nice addition is the Start Centre, which lets you easily create a new document or open an existing one — just click on the proper icon. The Start Centre appears only if you don't currently have an OpenOffice application opened. Once you've opened an application, you can create or open a document by right-clicking the OpenOffice icon in the system tray and making the appropriate choice.
Particularly important are changes to support for file formats. OpenOffice 3.0 supports the upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard, and will also be able to open documents created in Microsoft Office 2007 and Office 2008 for the Mac, which means that it's about as universally useful as an Office suite can be. It can also export files to PDF format. Mac users will be pleased to know that it can now run natively on Mac OS X without having to use X11.
There's also a new zoom control on the status bar, much like the one in Microsoft Office 2007. And there are minor tweaks to each of the separate applications. For example, both Draw and Impress have improved on their cropping features, and Writer can now display multiple pages.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 2 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Peak performance from a home entertainment heavyweight
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- WWDC 2018: Apple gives us a first look at an all-new Mac App Store
- Apple combats iPhone throttling backlash with new iOS 12 features
- Budget 2018: Government seeks to boost Australian AI capabilities
- JBL take smart speakers back to the living room Link 300
- Sonos say Aussie Alexa support for One smart speaker won't arrive until Autumn 2018
PCW Evaluation Team
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
- Computex 2018: Everything you missed at Asia's biggest tech tradeshow
- Computex 2018: Nvidia launches new AI-focused hardware and software platforms
- Huawei P20 Pro review: See it and believe the hype
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies