Top positive review
38 people found this helpful
Times have changed
on October 29, 2015
The bottom line: I like this deal much better than trying to buy an Office 365 license outright from Microsoft because it's cheaper, you get more, and you have a lot more options.
The full review:
More to the point though, Office has become a different animal than it was. In the long run, Office 365 is a better deal than buying a downloadable, installable product--because you *get* a downloadable, installable product with this deal.
So what exactly are you getting here?
This package is the ability to use the latest version of Office in the browser--meaning, if you're on a machine that doesn't have Office installed, you can log into your Microsoft account (required) and use browser-based versions of all the Office apps. This also means that the online storage place called "OneDrive" (formerly known as "SkyDrive") can be used to store up to one TeraByte (1,000GB) of stuff, anything you like, private or public or just shared out as you wish.
It's ALSO the ability to download and install Office 2013 OR Office 2016, on up to 5 machines, for up to 4 people! That's the cool part. In the past, you might have to buy more than one copy of Office, or be the sole user, or only put it on a desktop and a laptop. Now I can put this on my desktop, laptop, and Surface Pro, then install it on my wife's PC and my daughter can also have a copy installed to use. I've been running Office 2016 for the most part and have been pretty happy with the way it works. 2016 is not hugely different from 2013 or 2010, just in little ways.
This package lets you use Office for a year. You can buy two or three and stack them to prolong your subscription (if you're afraid the price of Office will go up) or you can extend your subscription to more people (in case you have a bunch of kids and want to add mom and dad and grandma into the number of users). I added a year using this code. It was only easy to do because I looked online first for HOW to do it.
Which brings us to the only real drawback to Office 365: anything to do with the browser. The browser-based apps try to be as much like the desktop as possible, but they're still not quite the same. OneNote is probably the closest match I've seen, while Outlook is the ugliest and least useful. The fact that the browser-based versions run in Azure ("the Cloud", a.k.a., "on the Internet") means that they typically run a bit slower, depending on your Internet connection. OneDrive is more annoying to manage using the browser, so I find myself using a computer to do most of the work like uploading files/folders, creating new folders, etc. I use the browser-based OneDrive interface to download individual stuff or share stuff out to people. The entire browser interface is trying to do the "Kanban" look that you also see in Windows 8's "Metro-now-called-Modern" apps and parts of Windows 10's look and feel.
My rule of thumb is that the browser-based Office is for small tasks on the go, but for anything substantial I go with the PC.
You also have to use the Office website to mange things like who you share Office with, or how you download. They make it annoyingly over-complicated to download the 64-bit version of Office if you don't want to use the 32-bit. You have to choose "Install-->Language and Install Options-->Additional Install Options--> then pick the specific 64-bit version you want. There's no good reason to bury the better-performing version that far down except that they hope it prevents tech support complications.
The Home Subscription is: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and a 1TB bump-up to OneDrive, up to 4 people across 5 machines.
The Personal Subscription is the same, but only for one individual user, on up to 5 machines.
The Business version has a lot of other options *and* things to consider when choosing.
Overall, I find this a much better deal than shelling out a few hundred dollars up front and knowing the next version will require me to buy it again, and I don't get the benefit of the added OneDrive storage space. With this price, it's cheaper and I will always have the option of downloading the latest version of Office or sticking with the one I have. The browser-based versions I consider an afterthought, or "bonus feature" - I wouldn't rely solely on those for everyday work. And I would like to see managing the subscriptions and installs get a bit easier.