I was a little taken aback by the packaging of this product. It comes in a box like any other software package, but inside the box was a small instruction brochure, and another package which contained the program on a USB flash memory stick. No discs. At first, I didn't get it, and then I realized they mention netbooks a lot all over the (too large) package, and realized this was a marketing decision to get their product "in" with the netbook crowd; No need for an optical drive with the USB stick.
And it works as advertised. Plug in the USB stick, and you get the typical Windows "what do you want me to do?" prompt. Use Autorun and it installs Corel Home Office in no time at all. While I'd prefer a disc, I can live with this media, too.
Unfortunately, the "for netbooks" philosophy didn't stop there. One installed, running the program within Windows 7 on a regular 15" notebook computer was a disappointing experience. The program works well enough, and seems to handle MS Office files with no real problems; However, it has the annoying habit of opening in it's own non-Windows styled window, and anchoring itself to the upper left corner of the screen. This small window remains the same size, and will not allow resize, reshape, or any dimensional changes. Selecting "Full Screen" just makes everything in the window fill that window. It's as if they decided to completely disable the ability to run this well on anything with a screen resolution higher than 1024x768. I couldn't drag the window using standard Windows interface functions. It even lacks a proper window frame, and has no buttons for minimize, maximize, and close window in the upper right corner, like EVERY WINDOWS PROGRAM EVER.
What were they thinking?
I can't see using this on anything other than a netbook, unless you like your office documents to be anchored to the top left corner and want to get used to a completely new interface. It's a shame, too, because I like the actual program; It looks good and works well with documents. It's just a pain in the neck to use because of the lack of comprehensive view/layout controls for the windows themselves. Any self-respecting office suite should at least allow me to put the window in the middle of my screen so I'm not looking up in the corner of my large monitor.
I get that they're aiming for netbooks more than standard desktops/laptops, but why can't they do both? Why does the interface have to be so... Limited?
If you have a netbook, I imagine this is awesome, and I'm hanging on to my copy to put on the netbook I will inevitably be getting somewhere down the line... But as an MS Office replacement, this falls woefully short on anything bigger than a netbook. Call me confused, but I don't see the logic in ONLY supporting 1024x768 screen resolution, and I'm a bit miffed that the box says "optimized for netbooks & compact PCs" but fails to say anything about how "optimized" really means "only meant for" and mentions nothing about how you're completely unable to resize or move windows, even if you DO have more screen real estate to use than on a netbook.
Get it for your netbook and you'll probably love it. Do not bother trying to replace MS Office with this on a full-sized computer, though. It's not meant for that, and pretty much fails to be user-friendly.
I do wonder if all this is just an issue with Windows 7, which I'm running. If so, consider the rating to be one star higher. However, considering that Windows 7 is due to be the de facto OS on PCs two months from now, I don't think it's a good sign that this sort of thing could happen with a new product.