At an attractive price point, Corel’s WordPerfect Family Pack 5 is clearly battling the likes of Microsoft’s Works Suite, throwing in seven applications at a surprisingly decent cost. That Corel sweetens the deal with a total of nearly 7,000 images, fonts and photos does the value for money aspect no harm at all.
Still, if the content’s no good, then no amount of money is worth it, so what exactly is Corel throwing into its software pot pourri? Well it starts off very strongly, with copies of both WordPerfect (word processor) and Quattro Pro (spreadsheet application). These are both cornerstones of Corel’s WordPerfect Office suite and both are quite hard to fault.
Easy to use, yet with a lot of really quite powerful features, both are quality applications that compare in most areas equally with their Microsoft equivalents (in some areas eclipsing them). The downside to both, despite their compatibility with both Word and Excel, is that for those reared on a school of Microsoft applications, there can be a little unlearning to do in order to get used to them. Fundamentally though, both WordPerfect and Quattro Pro are excellent.
Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003 Ready Reference isn’t the most comprehensive electronic version of this reference product, and as such doesn’t contain equivalent content to, say, Britannica 2004 Deluxe. But it is useful, with over 25,000 entries to query. The one caveat to the electronic Britannica has always been that it’s simply not as easy to get around as Encarta. Its content is arguably better, but the package isn’t quite as user friendly. In this instance, though, there’s still little doubt that it’s a valuable addition.
McAfee Virus Scan Home Edition 7.0 is a very able utility, which goes about its business happily without you really needing to intervene that much. Like those we’ve covered so far, this is a worthwhile package in its own right, and one of the most powerful and user-friendly virus killers on the market. Corel has also put Aladdin’s iClean in there, a helpful tool for removing the clutter that Internet usage tends to leave behind.
Family Tree Maker 10 is a sensible inclusion, given the burgeoning interest in genealogy. However, given that you can buy similar software that comes with over 10 CD-ROMs in the box, it’s fair to conclude that one that shares a CD with another piece of software isn’t going to be as comprehensive from the off. That’s true, and the program requires extensive use of your Internet connection to do its work. These programs do, by their nature, have a mainly American focus, but this one isn’t bad. If you don’t mind the continual need to go online for the data, it’s actually rather good, although some fine tuning to the user interface wouldn’t go amiss.
Rounding off the package is another Corel application, Photobook. It’s a dual-headed tool, enabling you to touch up your images and then organise them along the lines of specialized applications such as Adobe Photoshop Album. It’s very user-friendly in its work, too, and effective adjustments to photos aren’t hard to make using the software. In terms of organising them, the PhotoAlbum side of the application is a little more daunting, and could really use some more thought to help you get around it that little bit easier.
What’s ultimately hard to get away from, though, is that the pack as whole is excellent value for money, and would be worth the asking price for WordPerfect, Quattro Pro and VirusScan Home Edition alone. That you get a whole lot more than that is a genuinely welcome bonus.
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