“The more technology, the better” has become the slogan of today’s wired generation. Yet sometimes it’s easy to get lost in a sea of documents, music and other files spread around all of your different devices. File synchronization is always an option, but it can be confusing and time-consuming for many of you.
In the world of networking there’s finally a tool that could save you a lot of work and effort. Find out if it’s about time to bid your flash drive goodbye in today’s test.
|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
Dropbox is just that: a box you can throw all of your random stuff into and forget about it. The app may not boast a slew of features, but it’s reliable in doing its job. In today’s day and age, a service that can manage your files between all of your laptops, desktops and smartphones is worth its weight in gold. Instead of searching franticly for a file on your hard drive, all your important documents are available to you wherever you are.
It wouldn’t be appropriate to stick to describing the Android app since Dropbox is first and foremost an online storage service. In its free version, Dropbox includes 2GB of storage space and doesn’t have any limitations concerning file type or size. When accessing the service from your Android device, the app performs fairly well, but with a couple understandable restrictions. With the help of a small program you can create a folder on your computer that you can use like any other. The big difference is that this folder instantly synchronizes with the Dropbox online storage.
The Android app works in almost the exact same way. The app let’s you:
- Upload available files (photos, videos, music, audio recordings, and documents).
- Record or create photos, videos, music, and text files directly from the app.
- Open, save, share, delete and search for files in your folder.
Things you can’t do directly:
- Delete entire folders
- Move files around
- Upload “other” files
- Access ALL of your files offline
At start-up you’ll be asked to enter in your account information. In case you don’t already have one, you can set-up an account within seconds by providing your first and last name, email and password. After that your new personal folder appears where you can navigate by tapping. Using the long press you can open, save, delete or share a file by selecting the needed option in a pop-up menu.
Pressing “open” opens up the file using the appropriate program and saves it to the Dropbox folder on your SD card. “Save” does the same exact thing without opening the actual file whereas “Delete” deletes your files from both your Dropbox AND your SD card folder. Selecting the “share” option let’s you share the file via email or Bluetooth. What’s more interesting are the “share a link” and “copy a link” options. Here you can create an individual link for a specific file with which ANYONE can open your file. With “share a link” you share this link directly with others via Facebook, Twitter, Email etc. Not bad!
You can access other options like search and upload by clicking on the Menu button. Here you can select between Search, New, Upload, Refresh, Help and Settings. All very self-explanatory so there’s no need to go into details here. The only important function available in your settings is “Show file-status icons”, which displays the offline availability of any particular file.
Before uploading a new file, make sure you have the correct folder selected. You can’t move files around afterwards using the Android app except by deleting them and uploading them all over again. Once you’re in the correct folder, you can record a new video, audio or music file, generate a new text files or create a folder.
You’re going to be using the “upload” feature a whole lot. Here you can add files to your Dropbox on your device. All of your pictures, videos and music are listed in gallery view. If you need to upload different files, you’re in for a disappointment: most of them won’t show up on your list. I can only recommend that you download OI File Manager from the Market that will show “any file” and let you upload them to Dropbox.
Both the Dropbox online service and its Android app are really great for synchronizing files between your smartphone and other devices. Some additional functions are lacking such as deleting entire folders, multiple file selection and moving files around between folders. Luckily, you can manage these problems by using your desktop computer or via a normal web browser. Dropbox is especially useful to use with small files like documents and music. I would recommend using a cable for bigger files like movies and games.
You can put all of your security worries aside because Dropbox guarantees that:
- All transmission of file data and metadata occurs over an encrypted channel (SSL).
- All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted (AES-256) and are inaccessible without your account password
Screen & Controls
The screen is well laid out and all important functions can be accessed via a long tap on the needed folder or by pressing the Menu button.
It would be nice if they had an upload status bar integrated into the app.
Speed & Stability
Nothing to complain about in terms of speed and stability.
The app performed magnificently with Android 2.2 (Froyo) without any delays or lags.
The app can be downloaded for free from the Android Market.
The Dropbox service is free for online storage up to 2GB. If you need more space, you can increase your storage to 7GB by inviting friends to sign up for Dropbox or simply pay for additional memory space.