Dropbox is actually something we’ve covered quite a bit here on AppStorm; most of us use this great service on our computers as well as on our phones. A recent update to Dropbox completely overhauled the app on Android so I thought it was the perfect time to write a review on it: people not already using Dropbox get to hear about it, and current users of Dropbox get to find out what’s new.
If you don’t use Dropbox yet, or have never heard of it please read on – it’s one of the most useful apps I have.
I use Dropbox on a daily basis, and was pleased to find new features that are especially useful for people like me. I find Dropbox so useful I even used it for this post: it’s the easiest way to get screenshots from my phone to my laptop.
I always thought that the Dropbox app for Android lacked the engineered quality of the desktop apps and even the website, it was a pain to use at times and didn’t even look like it was made by the same company. But now, the added features and polish have solved these problems.
What Is Dropbox?
In case you’re not aware: Dropbox is an online file storage service that automatically syncs files between all your computers and devices. You’re given 2GB of free storage, and can pay monthly for more. On the desktop versions you interact with Dropbox through a folder, within which every single file is backed up and synced. This syncing happens in the background and is nearly instantaneous – that’s the beauty of it.
If you need more space you can invite friends; if one signs up, both you and they will get 250MB extra free space.
The Newer Features
The latest 2.0 update has drastically improved and overhauled the Dropbox app, so let’s look a little closer at these newer features.
Part of the work done was to make sure that Dropbox works well on Android 4.0 devices. Unfortunately, I was unable to test this out myself.
The new multi uploading ability has proven to be a real time saver for me. This ability to upload numerous files at once really pushes the power of Dropbox on your phone, allowing for easier backing up of important files.
However, when using this to sync all 400 photos taken on my phone I realised that a “select all” feature was desperately needed! Each file must be selected individually; this is fine when dealing with a few files, but as the number of files increases this gets a lot more tiresome. But perhaps this was intentionally left out, in case some people tried to upload 400 photos at once.
Before, navigating to a file through the app involved a lot of browsing through directories to get to the right location. Now, if you know you’ll need a file again soon, or use it frequently, you’re able to “favorite” it. This places a shortcut to the file in a easily accessible section of the app, as shown in the screenshots below:
The File Previewer
This is just what it sounds like: a previewer, and nothing more.
I’ve tried playing music through it; it works, but it doesn’t compare to the online syncing of Google Music and so on. Once you leave the app the song or video stops playing; starting it again causes the download to restart.
It’s a real pity that this aspect is so underdeveloped, as it would really add to the uses of Dropbox: it could function as a streaming media player, on top of everything else. Even just allowing these files to open with the phone’s default app would be an amazing improvement, in my opinion.
The UI of the app got a total makeover. It now looks a lot cleaner, with file access made much easier, and the number of steps required to upload files greatly reduced.
This polishing has brought the Android app to the excellent level that Dropbox on the desktop is known for. It’s this level of attention to detail on even the simplest of things that has set Dropbox apart from all of its competitors, and it’s great to see the Android app on par.
Probably the most versatile app available on Android, it’s definitely an app I’d recommend anyone to install: you’re going to find a use for it. Even if you don’t use the app itself, the service is well worth signing up to, as an Android user – check out Rita El Khoury’s great roundup of Android app that make the most of Dropbox. Okay, some of these uses will have a bigger impact than others – but I’ve no doubt that this brilliant app will improve the way you use your phone somehow.