There are two ways in which you can access the premium Microsoft Office products. One is by subscription and second is by buying the full software on a one-time purchase basis. Before you decide which plan to choose, it is important to know that over the years, Microsoft has been giving away for free some of the subscription benefits. For example, now the company offers on mobile devices Excel, Word, and other software at no cost.
While this is something to cheer about, form both the consumer and the company’s point of view, it makes you think whether you need a subscription, with the cheapest plan starting at $70 annually. As it seems, the one-time purchase is not very popular among consumers, unlike the subscription plan, which greatly appeals to users who use the Office apps on Mac computers or traditional Windows or Windows tablets like the Surface Pro 3. As for those who mostly use Android and iOS mobile devices, it is probably better to avoid the subscription and simply stick to free apps.
So in the end, it looks like deciding what is best for will depend on whether you need a PC or you can survive with just your tablet or smartphone. Either way, this post is going to help you make a decision. It is a review of the Microsoft Office software and whether it is worth paying its fee.
Let’s start with what you should consider:
The newly launched Office applications for Android tablets, iPhones and iPads are quite impressive. Among the best features that we like is Word for text documents, PowerPoint for presentations, Excel for spreadsheets, and OneNote for organization and Outlook for email. All these features are available for free.
Today, you can easily create and edit documents on Word using Android tablets, iPad, iPhone, and smartphones. Although the mobile apps can be tricky to use due to change in functionalities such as cutting and pasting texts in Word and adding cells in Excel spreadsheets. That is not all; there are also some missing features on mobile apps, such as color underlines of potential grammatical errors. Nevertheless, the apps include almost everything you can find in PCs. Simply click here to see. Another thing you need to know is that you will be required to sign in with a Microsoft account, if don’t have one already you can just create one in few minutes, and it is free.
On iOS gadgets, a subscription will allow you access to over twenty features, including inserting section breaks as well as tracking changes between drafts. Of course, that is if you need them. Android phones and tablets have fewer features as compared to iOS, whether pay or free. According to Microsoft, the Android apps will soon catch up, along with Windows phones version.
It is worth knowing that Windows tablet users must pay for Office unless they are running a lightweight OS known as RT.
If you feel you can’t have much done with smartphones and tablets, you can go for a one-time software purchase. You can have access to the entire Office package by buying the software for $140, which includes Excel, Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint.
Many people prefer subscription plan to one-time purchase, but for $70 annual subscription, you will start feeling the pinch in year three. By the time new version of Office is released (every three years), the subscription cost more than the one-time purchase. So one-time is cheaper than a subscription.
Do the Math
I am not going to make a decision regarding the two methods of having the Microsoft Office, but what I want you to do is math. It is not hard math, no calculus or algebras, so follow along:
If you use smartphones, you get extra features with the subscription you can’t access any other way.
- Windows tablets require either a one-time purchase or subscription to use even the basic features. With a subscription, you get three apps – Outlook, Publisher, Access, which you don’t get with a one-time purchase of $140, but you can get all seven with $400 one-time fee.
- With a $70 single-user annual subscription, you get access to all seven Office apps on several PCs and tablets as long as you sign in and out. But a one-time purchase of $140 limits you to only one device and access to only four Office apps.
- The subscription plan is perfect for multiple PCs or users if you go for $100 per year plan instead of $70. This way, you can install the Office suite on five Windows PCs, or Mac without signing in and out. It can be five people or PCs you have in a household.
- The subscription option allocates you up to one terabyte of storage space through OneDrive, unlike free account where you only get 15 gigabytes. You also get an hour a month of Skype calls to other Skype users.
Wrapping things up
It is risky storing your valuable information on a single machine, but with a subscription plan, it becomes easy to utilize multiple PCs and sync your data. But on the other hand, it is practical that the majority of people have multiple mobile phones or devices and not PCs. So the freebies by Microsoft to Android and iOS applications reduce the need for a subscription.