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Head to Head: Office 2010 vs Open Office 3.1

UPDATED: It's a battle of the office productivity suites as we look at how Office 2010 shapes up against its main open source alternative. We find out which is best in this head to head review.

Open Office is the more nimble of the two, though this is hardly surprising as it lacks many the bells and whistles of its counterpart.

In terms of system requirements, Open Office strides ahead, demanding only 450MB of hard disk space over Microsoft Office's 3GB. This could prove to be a telling factor in laptop and ultra-mobile installations not to mention the ageing, stalwart computers which keep most offices ticking over to some extent whether we like to admit it or not.

Disk space aside, it's pleasing to see both sides paying attention to lower-end hardware. As any IT decision maker will attest, there are seldom more unpleasant words than hardware upgrade' and these applications will enable even the most basic office PCs to keep up with the times for a good while yet.

It's worth noting that speed is somewhat of a subjective matter. Not everyone will have the same level of horse power as our test unit and some will see greater results thanks to even beefier kit. But we have provided some examples as points of references.

When it comes to performance the pedigree of Microsoft Office shines through, with the 2010 suite opening its applications very swiftly. Word, for example, opened within a second. The open source competitor labours somewhat with its equivalent taking a leisurely 10 seconds to open up ready for use.

These times were reflected throughout the suite of applications with the exception of Outlook as, of course, Open Office doesn't include an email client although it does make for a good bedfellow with Mozilla's 'Thunderbird' and 'Lightening' for email and calendar. Both of which operate as quickly as Outlook.

Outlook

We don't want to cast the aspersion that Open Office is a slacker though. It really is a stable and mature suite of applications, which represent great ideals and value. Just don't expect them to beat the hare, as they're more of a reliable old tortoise.

Winner: Open Office 3.1 Sun's product clearly excels here though this is to be expected based upon the open source philosophy behind the suite.

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