This is one of the things that I like about android – the functionality to explore stored files like a directory…just like the Windows File Explorer!
Android’s default file explorer (‘Files’) has really evolved since its inception and is now better than ever in Android 10, but it has been only recently that it has reached to a level that I would call as ‘usable’
In 2016, Neatbytes (dev) had deployed a huge overhaul to Solid Explorer which really caught my attention (UI things, you know!), coincidentally a few days after that, it was up for grabs ₹15 (roughly 2 cents) and it was a no-brainer for me and I grabbed it!
It is 2020 now, and I am still stuck with it for all the good reasons…read on!
Design, micro-interactions, etc.
I can’t start this review without the thing that is prima facie visible – the design. Honestly, the app is so well-made in this department that I have no complaints about it. I mean, the interface is strikingly loving and really makes me crave for more!
The clicks, movements between folders, selecting things, copy-pasting; the overall journey is delightful (One may think I am exaggerating; I won’t blame you because everyone has different opinions, but certainly one won’t have any complaints with this app as far as this portion is concerned!)
Here are a few examples
Has everything needed in a file explorer
Name a functionality and you have it!
From regular browsing, copying things, moving things changing views, customizations (detailed them next). This has it all. This section does not need further drilling
File compression tools
This feature is not there in-built, even in Windows as such. Along with normal compression, it also offers to encrypt the .zip files and some additional options too for compression algorithms (high, low, etc.). This compression algorithm thing (high, low, etc.) does not seem to work for me, though. (anyway, this isn’t much bothering)
Selection (on steroids)
This is indeed my favorite! Select the file icon to the left to select it, or long-press a file/folder name to select it – that is normal. Press ‘Select all’ to, well, select everything! – even that’s normal!
Invert the selection – this is very handy for those moments where you wanted to act on files D, E, and F but ended up selecting files A, B, and C; and similar situations – this often comes in handy too, and I always want to thank Neatbytes for adding this!
From-to selection? (I don’t know what to call it 🙁 ) – So what it does is quickly select files by selecting the outer ranges (It’s better to show it than explaining it – refer below)
This, I got to know only a month back! – Thanks to a post on Reddit and the dev himself!
Pinch to change font sizes
I do not use it as much, but I am glad it is here, and also it took me a while to realize that this feature even existed, and I was very-very astonished!
Multiple cloud storage and inter-cloud management
Solid Explorer even supports connecting to various cloud services too (includes Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Mega, SFTP, etc.) and even adding more than 1 account for a particular service (just had to mention it in case someone is wondering)
What’s great about having more than 2 cloud storage is that you can copy/move files between them (Hence, doing away with extra steps of downloading a file, and then re-uploading them onto another cloud server). That’s pretty nice!
Pro-tip: folders can even be shared by FTP (after which these can easily be viewable on any browser or even your Windows File Explorer, just need to enter the path there!)
Open the app and just swipe left… Voilà! Another panel! It is just like having 2 monitors for a PC so that one can multitask, switch tasks easily! Needn’t explain, but dual panels do help in easing files management by doing away with the need for going back and forth while, for example, moving files!
There is even an option in the app settings to remember folder location on both the panels or even setting the default folders to be present whenever opening the app.
Many customization options!
Changing the sorting orders and sorting types, switching views (lists grids, compact, gallery styles, etc.), changing the look and feel either on your own or through pre-set themes, biometric protection, switching to dark mode – the app has it all!
It even offers to bookmark frequently accessed folders – which can be accessed through the sidebar and even through app shortcuts.
An Active Developer
Last but not the least, for sure; the app released in 2015 and have since then been very actively maintained by the developer – Krzysztof Głodowski, keeping the app current to the latest android functionalities and optimizations (even managed to optimize it for the Android 10 back gesture which conflicts with the sidebar! – and did it well!) Kudos to the dev!!
Bugs / Feature requests
[I hope the dev is reading this!]
I am being nitpick’y, but this is how it is 😁
Bug #1 – There is this bug of copying things from ‘zipped’ files when trying to copy a file from the zip file to the outside…the Paste button doesn’t appear at the bottom left (as it appears normally). I have to switch to the second panel and there I have the ‘Paste’ FAB! – Bug link with a video demo
Bug #2 – The share option doesn’t appear in the overlay while selecting text in the SE Text editor (I use the SE Text editor very often!) – Bug link with the screenshot
Feature Request: How about adding a ‘Swipe to Select’ feature (just like Google Photos)? This thing is present even in the native files on Android! In action below:
For the “Why I should use this app when even Google Files is good and is Free” people
Google’s AI is pretty good at its magic!
Absolutely! Even I have that app installed on my phone, but because of Google’s magic. The app detects duplicates, has a meme detector which offers to delete those, highlights my unused apps, helps clear cache very easily, has file-sharing features, and yes, it even has a file explorer of its own! That file explorer pretty much does the job and I do not deny, It’s handy for people who are just looking for a simple all-in-one file manager. But then, there are people who need additional functionality (say, having on-device and cloud services in one app!); Solid Explorer pretty well fills that gap IMO, hence it remains my go-to file manager.
All in all this app will not disappoint (well don’t expect any Google’s AI magic, as is there in Google Files), because the app’s reason for existence is not this at least!
The dev has a sweet blog too on some tips and tricks, or some dummies looking for tutorials!
There is even an Easter egg too if you have the patience to find it!😉
Indeed, the full write-up pretty well justifies the title now!
Anyway! here is the download link…
The full version is available for just ₹40 / 53 cents (₹20 / 27 cents – if opted to purchase within the 14-day trial period)
Solid Explorer (Free / IAPs)
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below:
stay aware, stay appy 🙂
[It feels wonderful to be back, though!, my exams are over, and I am finally back to reviews!]