Although cloud-based apps are becoming increasingly powerful and feature rich, presentation and other document apps just don’t quite compare yet. Today we’ll take a look at SlideRocket and see what it brings to the online presentation market and how well it compares to presentation desktop counterparts.
SlideRocket is a subscription based online presentation web app running in Flash. Although it isn’t free, the price appears to indicate a much higher level of features and capabilities than other online competitors. SlideRocket is clearly marketed towards business professionals, though if you need a higher level presentation app in the first place then you likely fit somewhere in that category.
If you’re a Google Apps user you can add SlideRocket integration via the Google Apps Marketplace.
Starting at $12 per month for individuals, SlideRocket’s pricing isn’t bad if you’re a frequent presentation user. The real question, however, is whether or not the features offered will justify the monthly price in comparison to a one-time purchase desktop app.
For $12 per month [starting], I would expect a little more storage than 1GB, especially considering what other web apps are offering these days.
SlideRocket offers a Free plan, though limited to 250 MB/user and 15 MB file size limit. To see this, view the lower right corner of the pricing table.
Interface Design and Usability
After signing up and signing in, the main Flash application will open and play a nice little introductory video. Once that’s completed you’ll be able to get started with tutorials or just get straight to work.
The overall interface design is quite minimal, leaving heavy graphics out which seems to let you focus more on your presentation and its graphics than a distractingly sexy app interface. The interface actually reminds me of a few Adobe web-based applications and it has a very nice professional appeal to it.
Aside from the app’s interface design, it’s very easy to use and incredibly responsive, an absolute must for web apps competing with desktop apps.
One of the most disappointing aspects I’ve found in using other online presentation apps is the lack of ability to create new themes with custom backgrounds or other features. SlideRocket, thankfully, supports this capability via selecting an image from your asset library, purchasing via integrated marketplace, searching Flickr’s database (including creative commons-licensed images only) and even using the URL of a YouTube video.
This is perhaps the most options I’ve seen in any online presentation app for theme creation and asset management. Of course, you’re also able to choose a solid color fill or gradient for backgrounds. Background options for images even include several scaling and tiling choices.
Creating & Editing Slides
I found SlideRocket’s slide creation and editing features to be superb. The SlideRocket team has paid great attention to detailed features, including guide alignment for quick and easy element placement.
Although the font selection didn’t offer the number of fonts you’d find on your desktop system, they do offer the ability to upload custom fonts for use in your presentations. Every other font styling option you’d expect from a desktop presentation app is available, even including custom bullet styles.
SlideRocket gives you the ability to add nearly any media type to your slides, including audio, video, shapes and much more. There are tons of elements you can add and even further customize those element’s opacity, fill color, stoke, font, effects, etc.
And, of course, there are several slide transition effects to choose from, accompanied by more settings to customize the effect duration, trigger effect on event, etc.
System Resource Usage
One of the faulting aspects of Flash-run apps as feature rich and powerful as SlideRocket is they tend to consume disturbing amounts of system resources and generally slow after a period of time. However, I found SlideRocket to use no more resources than a regular desktop app would have. In fact, I’d have to say it likely uses less system resources than other desktop presentation apps.
So its system resource usage is in check but what about its responsiveness over time? I tried my best to use the app for a relatively extended period of time and found that it didn’t seem to slow at all except when adding heavy assets, which was only temporary while positioning the assets. This app runs as smooth as butter and won’t kill your computer!
Though I couldn’t cover too many aspects of the app in this review, I did take the time to explore as many as I could and I am very impressed. SlideRocket is truly an online presentation app with capabilities on par with (or greater than) competing desktop apps, not to mention it’s in the cloud and accessible anywhere you have an internet connection.
The interface design is clean and very professional and it’s incredibly user friendly. I wasn’t too keen on the $12 per month starting pricing point but after giving the app a run, I have to say that if I were a frequent presentation user then I’d have absolutely no qualms with paying that price and perhaps more. They also do have a free plan for those of you who don’t present too often.
SlideRocket is an app I’ll most certainly be recommending to people in need of a quality presentation app and especially to those who need a fantastic demonstration of cloud computing capabilities.
Keep in mind that I didn’t cover any of the major features offered to business and enterprise level plans, which really make this app even more outstanding than it already is for free and basic plan users. If you’re in the market for a presentation app, you should definitely give SlideRocket’s 30 day free trial a go.