Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to my new favorite file explorer app for Android, Solid Explorer. The little jewel is still in beta (which means it could have a few bugs), but don't let that stop you from installing it today and giving it a whirl for yourself. Let me lay out some of my favorite features for you.
First up, like any top notch app, the user interface is clean, easy to use, and simple. The main interface consist of two individual panes that are easily switched by swiping your finger to the left or to the right. Each pane can be set differently according to your preference of view styles (which I'll show you in a minute), sorting options, or filtering. You can long press on a folder or file to bring up an options dialog. The dialog is context sensitive, based on the type of file or folder that you're trying to manipulate. For example, if you long press on a ZIP, RAR, TAR.GZ, or TAR.BZ2 file, you'll have two options pop up for extracting the contents of that file. You'll also be given options to copy, move, rename, send (which integrates with Androids share functions), view properties, or archive the current item (which also supports ZIP, RAR, TAR.GZ, and TAR.BZ2).
Skipping down to the bottom of the app, we have Solid Explorer's menu. This is where the magic really begins.
The first item on the left is the "New" button, which allows us a way to create new folders, and new files. It also allows for an array of new connections, including FTP, SFTP, SMB, DropBox, and Box.net. I was able to test the FTP and Dropbox connections and both worked seamlessly. When you're browsing a remote connection of any sort, your active pane's browser gets pushed into the background. If you then change panes, a simple tap of the Android icon in the top left corner gives you easy access to all of your current connections and local folders. This is great if you frequently access files in the cloud or want to use your web hosts storage to backup or offload files from your phone.
Next on the menu is the Actions button which allows you to Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, or view Properties of currently selected files or folders. It also allows you to select multiple items using checkboxes and a quick "Select All." Perhaps my favorite feature of the Action menu is the Properties feature. I've been long looking for an app that would allow me to quickly visualize where space was being used on my SD card so that I could quickly free up some space on my SD. When you give a quick tap of the Properties button, it takes you to a new screen that allows you to quickly view the details of the item(s) you have selected. If you don't have any item selected, it takes you to the Properties screen for the SD card and gives you an overview of the entire contents of the SD.
Moving right along, the Filter button comes in handy for quickly finding a file or folder that is currently on your screen. It does not search recursively (meaning that it only looks in the current directory, no deeper), but results are instantaneous. As soon as you type a letter, it begins filtering immediately.
The jump button allows you to quickly move around to different locations that you may not have open in the background. If you have root access, you can use this menu to quickly view the System root by tapping Device, then System root. The Photos and Downloads buttons are customizable via the settings of the app, in case you've changed the default locations within your Camera or Browser. The Network button quickly allows you to reconnect to previously connected network connections.
The Menu button, which is also accessible if you press the Menu button on your device, allows us to customize our Simple Explorer experience. Search allows you to search everywhere in your current browser (it works for the network connections as well), AND the search feature integrates with Android's search button. After installing Simple Explorer, you'll be given an option to allow Android to use Simple Explorer's search feature by pressing the Search button on your device.
Further down the Menu button are the View and Sort buttons. These allow you to fine tune your current pane. My favorite view is the "Detailed List." The only thing I wish were different about the detailed views is the ability to display the size of folders.
Another big feature worth pointing out is the File Sharing feature. If you're Android device is connected to a Wifi network, enabling File sharing will allow you to browse your phone via FTP. I can't stress enough how much I LOVE this feature. No more usb cables, no more dismounting your SD, no more "Safe removal." I love it!
The Settings button allows you to further tune Simple Explorer to your liking. There are quite a few options in the Settings. Perhaps of greatest interest are Theme (currently only Light and Dark are available), the Default directories for both panes, and the Quick start guide.
As with anything in life, there are a couple of negatives to point out. First of all, the app crashes on the Properties page on my phone when I switch back and forth between the various property pages. Also, in the Top 10 files, occasionally the Top 10 files will repeat. After number 10, number 1 will reappear, and scrolling down will reveal the top 10 list having been duplicated. These, of course, are bugs, and this app is still in beta, so I'm sure that these issues will be ironed out.
Overall, hands-down, Simple Explorer Beta wins my vote for best Android Utility App. You owe it to yourself to download it from the Play Store and give it a test drive yourself.