Ginger is an intelligent cloud-based spelling and grammar checker which works in Microsoft Office (2003/ 2007/ 2010), Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Installation is quick and easy, as the small setup program downloads the various modules it needs (Office addons, a Firefox extension, and so on). Despite having all these local components, though, Ginger still needs to connect to the internet in order to work: you can't use it offline.
Once setup is complete, all you have to do is keep typing as normal, and the program will begin to highlight any errors it finds. Which sounds all very standard, but the difference here is that Ginger looks at the context of an entire sentence in order to detect any problems.
What does that mean? Suppose you'd typed "just type some words" as "juzt tipe sum words". At that point, Ginger would highlight both "juzt" and "tipe" in blue. Enter a full stop and begin a new sentence, though, and it would also highlight "sum", as while it's a legitimate word, it's also clearly not used in the right context here.
That's impressive enough, but there's more. While other spell checkers would make you work to correct three errors, all you have to do here is hover your mouse cursor over one of the highlighted words. Ginger displays a pop-up alert with what it thinks is the correct sentence fragment - "just type some words" - and if you click the alert then your document will be updated immediately.
The program can also highlight grammatical errors you make on a regular basis, so working to improve your language skills. And there's even a text to speech tool, to help check that your words sound right when spoken aloud.
There is a price for all this functionality in terms of resource use. RAM use in particular was higher than we expected, with the core Ginger processes requiring 90MB of RAM on our test PC, then there's the multiple extensions and regular internet connection use to consider.
That's still not too bad, though, and overall Ginger is a capable and effective spell checker.