HopTo is a great version of Microsoft Word for the iPad. And that’s because it is MS Word, up in the cloud, driving a native iPad app. And you know what? If Microsoft just made the exact same app only with the Word part running locally on the iPad, I’d be happy. It really is nice enough to let you forget you’re using Word.
The app is – amazingly – free, and uses a proper licensed copy of Office to let you edit Word and Excel documents, and to read PowerPoints. You get your documents by connecting with Dropbox, Google Drive, your PC (using a desktop connector app) or Box.
The file-browsing interface is lovely, a great example of iOS 7-style design that also has cuteness and personality. You browse your cloud storage using a swipe-able cover-flow-style view, and you can mark favorite files and folders (good, because the root Dropbox view goes back to the beginning every time you access it).
You can also interact with files by long-pressing to bring up a circular pie menu.
The editor itself feels native, although it’ll give itself away sometimes as the text will get a little fuzzilated (fuzzy and pixelated), and the most-used Word functions are arrayed in buttons above the keyboard like Apple’s new Pages app and a zillion other app-store text editors.
Because it’s effectively taking your document from your own cloud storage and opening it in a cloud-based instance of Word, opening files takes a little while, even on my fast home connection. On the plus side, there’s full compatibility, which means you can track changes and all that jazz.
I almost never use Word, but The Lady is forced to by the ignorance of others. You mightn’t want to do a whole lot of work in this thing (who knows how it handles dropped network connections?) but it will certainly mean that she can travel without her MacBook more often than she does now.