The good news is that Quickoffice Pro HD comes loaded with the best cloud support in this roundup. It works with Box, Dropbox, Google Docs, Huddle, MobileMe, and SugarSync. Adding new cloud services is as easy as tapping the plus sign in the lower menu, choosing your preference, and logging in.
Having used the Android version of this app pretty extensively, I hold out hope that Quickoffice will bring all of the missing features over to the iPad version in a near-future update, but for now I'd suggest holding off on the $20 download.
Apple Pages, Numbers, and Keynote (The Winner)
Apple's launch of the iWork suite on the iPad coincided with the debut of the device a year ago, and the company has continued to update the software since its introduction. Like their desktop counterparts, the three iPad editing apps strive for simplicity in their interface, and succeed handily. Unlike the other "suites" in this roundup, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are three separate apps. Each one sells for $10 in the App Store.
Yes, there's some disparity in comparing three separate $10 apps against rival apps that perform word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tasks all within a single interface for under $20. But with that said, the focus here is on finding the best way to edit Microsoft Office documents on the iPad, so it seems fair to include Apple's apps with the competition. Bear in mind that since any of these three apps can be had separately, it could be a compelling value proposition for someone who, for example, needs only a strong word processing app for the iPad and doesn't plan to do spreadsheets or presentations. The à la carte option is nice.
Of all the apps in this roundup, Apple's offerings--perhaps unsurprisingly--deliver the slickest, most intuitive iPad interface. The apps run smoothly, allowing you to swipe your way through documents, insert and resize images, render charts, and reposition design elements without noticeable lagging or choppy scrolling, even on a first-generation iPad. The simple menu bars offer intuitive buttons for managing fonts and formatting, and they strike a reasonable compromise between the full set of possible options in an office application and the minimalist interface you might hope for on a slate. And every change you make saves automatically as you work, so you don't have to worry about losing a change.