Transfer Files Through QR Codes with Scansfer

It seems like I’m on a constant search for file syncing apps for my Android phone. Most recently I checked out DroidCloud, an app that added CloudApp functionality to Android. While this was a good solution, I kept looking and found my way to Scansfer, an app that allows you to send and receive files using QR Codes.

Scansfer is a simple app that allows you to transfer files in three ways: Phone to Computer, Phone to Phone, and Computer to Phone.

Using Scansfer

The first thing to note is that you do not need a Scansfer account if you’re using the Phone to Phone, or Computer to Phone functions (Computer in this case means any type of computer). The app simply generates a QR Code that you then scan with a barcode scanning app.

I recommend Barcode Scanner. Google Goggles is another decent app for this purpose.

However, if you want to send files from your Phone to your Computer, you will need a Scansfer account. This is so that you have a place to access the files you send.

Scansfer My Files

Transferring Files

How It Works

As you can see from the above image, each of these functions is pretty simple.

For Phone to Phone transfers, you upload the file and a QR code is generated and displayed on your screen. Then any other phone with a camera can scan and download that file.

A Generated QR Code

You can also long press the QR code to save the image file and email it to whomever you want.

For Phone to PC, you simply select the file you want to send and choose “Send to a PC.” Make sure you are logged in (you add your login info by pressing the menu button, then “Account”) because you will not be able to send the file to a PC otherwise. Luckily if you’re not logged in, Scansfer prompts you for your information.

File Browser / Uploader

Scansfer also has a hook so that you can send files right from Android’s Share menu

Share Button / Upload

Once you upload the file, it’s added to your “My Files” page at scansfer.com and you have 15 minutes to download the file. Personally, I feel 15 minutes isn’t a very big window.

Finally, for PC to Phone, you go to scansfer.com and upload a file under the “Scansfer a File!” heading. Scansfer will then upload your file and produce a QR Code for you to scan with your phone. Again, you can also email the QR Code; and again, you only have 15 minutes to retrieve  the file.

Web-based QR Code

Interestingly, the uploader seems only to be available on the homepage.

Using Scansfer

Using Scansfer is pretty cut and dry. You open the app to its built-in file browser, select a file and transfer it. All of the folders are available to you, both on the phone and on your SD card. This means you can transfer any file, from images to PDFs to bookmarks. You can even transfer contacts.

It seems there is a max upload size of 5MB. No word on whether or not this will change in the future.

The way Scansfer handles bookmarks is pretty nice: they have a separate section titled, “My Bookmarks” that includes a text link to the bookmark. Fortunately, since links don’t take up any space, there is no time limit on the bookmarks. Unfortunately, there is no way to send bookmarks from PC to Phone, just Phone to PC and Phone to Phone. For Phone to Phone, Scansfer will first ask the user if he or she wants to be redirected to the site, which is a nice little security precaution!

I would like to see a nicer design of the file browser — while it’s currently functional, it’s not very pretty. I’d also like to see a way to select multiple files to upload.

It is nice that Scansfer integrates into Android’s share menu because if you do have a preferred file manager (like ASTRO File Manager for instance), you can use that to browse files, but still use Scansfer to share/upload them.

Scansfer on the Web

While the web interface isn’t really part of the Android app, it is integral in using the app. The overall site is well designed, but the My Files page looks a little rushed and displaying the files can be designed a little nicer. This would be as simple as applying some custom CSS to the table that displays the file.

My biggest problem with Scansfer is that when you upload a file via the web uploader, Scansfer does not maintain the file name, instead making it an untitled file. While this didn’t have an adverse affects on images or PDFs, it did mess up a text file I tried to transfer. Android assigns the name of the page (dl.php) to the name of the untitled text file, so I was unable to open it right from the download menu. When I did open it via ASTRO File Manager, there was extra mark up added and the file was difficult to read.

Conclusion

QR Code

In using Scansfer, I thought it was a decent solution for transferring files and links- especially to the PC from a Phone. However, the time limit for files makes it difficult for me to use it as a full time file transfer solution. If I’m not going to be in front of a computer within 15 minutes of sending a file, there’s really no point in me sending the file at all. The fact that uploading a file from a computer removes the file name completely also puts a big damper on using the app.

 

However, I do think that with some refinement, this can be a very nice tool for file transfer and sharing and I will definitely keep an eye on it for future iterations.


Summary

Scansfer is a simple app that allows you to transfer files via QR codes in three ways: Phone to Computer, Phone to Phone, and Computer to Phone.

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