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Tech Review: Apps to check on work on vacation

AT&T launches push-to-talk service for the iPhone.

AT&T launches push-to-talk service for the iPhone. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Will your summer vacation mean a break from the office but not from work? With wireless connections and increasing competitive pressures, many employees will pause their vacations to check on the work they left behind. These apps can ensure you're good to go by allowing you to return to your desk remotely.


(iOS, Android; free)

Despite growing competition from Google, Microsoft and Amazon, Dropbox remains a top choice for storing files in the cloud and syncing them between PCs and mobile devices. The original file stays on your desktop PC and is updated when you make changes on your smartphone or tablet. The first 2 gigabytes of cloud storage are free. If you need more storage space, there are several pricing tiers.

QuickOffice Pro

(iPhone, iTouch, $14.99; iPad, Android, $19.99)

Need to check a document while poolside? This productivity suite can access Microsoft Office files, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It not only reads the files, but also allows you to edit them. QuickOffice, which syncs seamlessly with Dropbox, can also read PDF files. One drawback: The Android app does not have a word-count feature, although it is incorporated in the iOS versions.

Splashtop Remote Desktop

(iOS, Android; $4.99)

Not everything you want is in the cloud while you're on the road. You may need to access an archived document available only on your PC. If your desktop computer and network are powered up and your IT department allows it, you can use Splashtop to remotely control your PC from another room or another continent. Be aware, using Splashtop on a smartphone takes practice and patience to control the tiny mouse pointer with your finger.

ezPDF Reader

(iPhone, iTouch, $1.99; iPad, Android, $3.99)

This app is more than just the PDF reader that its name implies. You can also add text, graphics and comments to existing PDFs. For PDFs set up as fillable forms, like those used for contracts, tax forms and legal documents, you can use ezPDF to fill in or change information. It has a multimedia function that will "speak" the contents of the file, perfect if you take work and a PDF e-book to the beach. ezPDF Reader also syncs with Dropbox.

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