Try it | Full review
This week, Corel came out with a brand-new suite of office applications for XP, Vista, and Windows 7 users. Corel Home Office ($69.99) bundles in three applications: Write, the word processor, Calculate, the spreadsheet maker, and Show, the presentations builder.
Corel Home Office differs from other Corel office suites in two ways. First, it's been written with a new code base, so it's not a perfect continuation of Corel WordPerfect Office. It doesn't hurt that the suite is the near-spitting image of Microsoft Office 2007 in layout and design.
Second, it has been optimized for Netbooks, both in terms of a smaller footprint (just over 100MB) that translates into lighter features (Corel sticks to core tasks) and a couple concessions for the small screen. The best of these is the F11 button, which hides the menu bar, significantly increasing the amount of screen visible on a Netbook.
As a result of its lighter features and lighter footprint, the suite is aimed toward home users--both casual consumers and those operating home businesses. While there are strong features in this suite--like a built-in PDF maker in each of the three apps--there are detractions, too. Converting files from Microsoft Office into Corel Home Office was sometimes off, and the results from pasting data were imperfect. While it's meant for the budget-conscious, freebies like OpenOffice.org offer a full-featured suite for no cost and may be better suited for Netbook, laptop, and desktop users looking for more powerful tools. However, it may also provide casual users with more functionality than they really need.
Corel Home Office isn't for everyone, but it does hold its own as a midrange productivity suite. It has the added bonus of giving Microsoft users a very familiar workflow and feel in a smaller, cheaper, and less cluttered format. Try Corel Home Office for free for 30 days, or read more of the pros and cons in our detailed review (with images.)