Dropbox Paper Beta is the latest option for individuals and businesses looking to collaborate on documents. Teams or bands, images or text, Dropbox Paper Beta facilitates editing and commenting together, in real-time. Beyond that, it provides many of the features of a word processor, and for those who already use the main Dropbox service, synchronization functionality is baked right in.
A few holes where features should be
As the name implies, Paper is in beta. This means that where some features might be expected by its end users, they are not yet implemented. The good news is that Dropbox is adding new features to the app every day, on both the desktop and mobile versions, meaning that a feature you consider critical could be added by the time you finish reading this review. Still, Paper doesn't have complete rich text editing, and its table functionality can be a bit of a chore, among other things.
Paper integrates seamlessly with Dropbox. Any applicable files you currently have on Dropbox can be accessed and edited via Paper, and returned to Dropbox, as quickly as anything else the app does. If you already use Dropbox to store files and documents, Paper is an incredible boon, providing you with the ability to edit and collaborate on documents without using an additional service.
Ease of use for the corporate world on down
Paper Beta has a number of virtues to its name, however. One is its ease of use. Since it's difficult to transplant the interface of an office suite onto mobile platforms, the mobile version of Paper Beta instead centers on what it can do by making use of each tap. Select a new line, and a plus sign will appear. Tap that, then, and you'll be offered multiple options for what to place on that line (be it text, images, or a header). Brush over an existing piece of text, and you can leave a comment, just like that.
In the business world, the overhead of learning a new piece of software can be quite large. Dropbox Paper Beta seems like, of all the options, it will involve the least overheard. If nothing else, a team using it can communicate and help each other figure the app out. For home users, the story is much the same, with the app's ease and speed of use being very high. Even with five or six people collaborating on the same document, Paper runs very well.
A developing solution
Paper offers all of the essential features for collaboration, and does it with a well-designed, fast interface. Unfortunately, it's missing many less-critical but desired features, and the features offered differ between the PC and mobile versions, which should be able to collaborate cleanly.
But like many online apps, and in particular like many competing apps, Dropbox Paper Beta will doubtless see a whole raft of changes after the publication of this review. As such, it's surely worth giving a look (particularly if you already use Dropbox or your business does).