App: X-plore File Manager v4.01.10
Developer: Lonely Cat Games
IAP: $1.35 - $21.60
X-plore File Manager is a fast and efficient solution for Android system management that boasts an expansive feature set in a small package of less than three megabytes. As my extensive personal tests have covered dozens of other file managers, including the very attractive Solid Explorer, X-plore offers a more thorough experience aimed at power users who require functionality over form. Completely missing are scores of icon packs, plugins, themes and various add-ons that tend to bloat apps and use much more memory than necessary. Impressive speed, abundant features and streamlined operation is the primary focus of X-plore; combined with unique and thoughtful ideas, make this app pleasingly different from other offerings in its class. Let's explore X-plore to see why...
Two simple color schemes of either black/gray or aqua/blue are available for the interface that is displayed in directory tree style folder listings, which lends an overall quickness to browsing and fast navigation. It is a dual-pane system that can be swiped horizontally in portrait orientation to switch between windows of source and target destinations, or swapped with a handy button in the configurable scrolling function menu. The dual panes are readily visible in landscape orientation with no need to swipe back and forth. This vertical scrolling function menu contains the majority of operations needed to manage files and windows, which has its separate editor to toggle and sort each button to suit your particular needs. Also, a number of typical and convenient functions exist in a popup menu accessed by long pressing files and folders to bring up relative options during usage. Given a couple hours to adapt to this interface, mundane operations became more efficient, less backtracking occurred pulling out of folders and access to network and cloud locations was a breeze. As there are no cute animations or breathtaking effects while navigating, my file management tasks appeared to speed up dramatically, as did file transfer times.
Heavy network and cloud users won't be disappointed at the wide range of supported protocols and services offered built-in, needing no external plugins whatsoever. Box, Dropbox, Drive, OneDrive, Copy, Mega, Yandex, SugarSync, Dump Truck, WebDav, Picasa, MediaFire and the elusive Amazon cloud are available with multiple accounts supported for each, as can be seen in the screenshot below. Full WLAN, SFTP, SSH Shell, DLNA/UPnP, SMB, FTP and WiFi file sharing are also included to communicate in nearly every possible protocol possible. File transfer speeds are quicker than most other file managers I have tested with not one single transfer error, bottleneck or issue in the dozens of gigabytes tested as of this writing. With your windows set accordingly to their normally preferred locations, a check box can be clicked to select the entire contents of a folder and sent off in a matter of two simple clicks. Rather than long pressing files and folders to select, responsive check boxes reside to the right for both, resulting in a fast 'tap and go' result for optimum speed. Between this quick 'Select all' method and the zero delay of these individual check boxes, bulk and selective file transfers are pleasantly speedy and efficient due to the streamlined interface.
X-plore also includes built-in media viewers for images, music, text, video, Rar, Zip, 7zip, Tar, Hex, SQLite databases, APK as Zip and more, all of which can be toggled and configured in settings. Root exploration and management is fully supported if you have superuser status on your device, which can be toggled in options, as well. File sharing is completely supported by Bluetooth, email, or whatever your device supports, from any location with a long press to access the popup menu. Thumbnails will appear for image and video files, as well as special inset icons on folders for special locations such as favorites that can be chosen by long pressing to access the menu and added to your list. Favorite locations are placed chronologically on the Home menu among all location options and can be renamed and deleted, but not later sorted or organized as of this writing. Not to exclude app management, there is also an App Manager to list relative information of installed apps and to batch uninstall as desired, saving time versus deleting them manually. To aid in storage management, a simple push of the space analyzer on a current location will graph out with percentages file allocations in that particular storage location.
Getting to some unique, extremely convenient and time saving features, X-plore paves the way on the unbeaten path of their relative competitors. Of great importance to KitKat users, X-plore will automatically create a KitKat sandbox location listed among the menu of various location types. As apps no longer have write access to the SD card directly with that OS version, this custom location is a virtualized space utilizing the SD card as a clever workaround. This means that all those apps that refuse to be moved to the SD card can now actually reside there using this virtual location. Their relative generated data may also be stored there as in the days of old. To delete this virtualized location, you simply clear the app data in Android's app settings, but caution must be given as it will delete everything stored there. My favorite feature of X-plore is an import and export option for all global configuration settings you incur past the defaults. Exporting your settings into a tiny Zip file, it will save all settings relating to buttons, cloud locations and passwords, network locations and credentials, favorites, UI theme and every option you set in settings or created manually within the app. Instead of taking an hour to set up X-plore with your configuration on a new device or upon reinstalling, it takes only a couple seconds to locate and import that Zip file. Other developers, please take note; this is how it's done!
For the somewhat inglorious aspects, utilizing the built-in archive extraction method is a bit tricky and awkward. As you may view Zip, Rar, Tar and 7zip archives as folders easily enough, extracting these relative files requires the other pane to be set to the target location. You cannot simply and intuitively long press on an archive and select an 'Extract here' option as implemented in most file managers. Sending the archive to my Rar app worked a bit faster so that I could get that option and simply extract to a default location in mere seconds. This also applies if you are transferring files on the same storage location as there is no cut and paste method available. You must use a second window pane to transfer or extract to anywhere else. Also, the inability to reorder favorites as desired can be a hassle if you have many. Adding your favorite locations in order and keeping them that way is really the only option at present. As X-plore is activity developed with numerous updates per week, I am confident that any minor shortcomings will be ironed out over time and given the same amount of consideration as the existing wide array of features have seen. Given the scope of incredible functionality this app provides, these little nitpicks can be easily be forgiven in lieu of an outstanding overall experience.
As seemingly thorough as this review appears to be, there are so many features and options available that this limited space barely suffices. Daily use still reveals more hidden caches of useful features packed into this dynamo of a file manager that it's now my primary solution for Android. I would certainly categorize X-plore as a tool for intermediate to advanced users that require great and specialized control of their devices within all methods of inherent protocols and services. The fact that X-plore weighs in at under three megabytes in APK form is astounding for what it does, and does so very well. For those who desire a straightforward approach and all inclusive solution to file and network management with all the bells and whistles, but minus the lights and tinsel, X-plore goes where no file manager has gone before. It's also quite a bit faster than most for the added benefit of time management, as well.
- Impressive list of supported network protocols.
- Ability to import and export all configuration settings.
- Offers the most amount of comparative cloud services.
- Offers a KitKat sandbox location for SD card utilization.
- Very useful built-in file viewers for nearly every format.
- Fast, efficient and organized file and network management.
- Extremely small app size considering overall relative functionality.
- No way to reorganize favorite locations after adding to the list.
- Archive extraction and same location transfers can be awkward.
Device/OS used: Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note 3, Nexus 7 2012, Nexus 7 2013 / KitKat v4.4.2, KitKat v4.4.4, Lollipop v5.1.1
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Mobilism: X-plore File Manager v4.01.10 [Donate]