Since we're amongst friends here, let's that near-perfect as Android is, it has one or two shortcomings... For us here at Life of Android, it's that the basic OS doesn't include a proper file manager. We've lost count of the number of times we've downloaded a file, neglected to open it at the time and then struggled to track it down. ES File Explorer combines powerful file management, task-killing and security to name but a few all in one app.
While it'd be easy to fawn over File Explorer, we're going to point out it's biggest shortcomings first: the UI is bad. It's not quite a disaster, but let's just say it's one of the less intuitive apps we've come across. Icons are arranged horizontally across the top of the screen with the penultimate icon left to right being scrollable. Now we'd expect the entire menu bar to scroll across, but in this case you have a fingertip's worth of screen real estate to play with as you swipe the icon to access extra functionality. Not ideal.
Secondly - yep, there's another negative on the way - you need to download extra content in order to access add-ons like security management, bookmark management or task-killing. We understand that the modular nature of the app makes that necessary in order to avoid it being a mammoth download but do we have to have five or six ES icons in our apps folder? Ok, so that's a minor niggle, but we did say we were going to get the negatives out of the way first...
So on to the positives. We've yet to find a more powerful bit of file explorer software for Android, File Explorer will not only let you explore files on your Android and its internal SD card, it'll also let you explore your computer over Bluetooth or WLAN. The search function aces the vanilla Android number and if its video files you're looking for, you can play them on the dedicated ES Video Player.
The task manager doesn't rival dedicated apps like Appkik
but does the job well enough provided you're prepared to navigate to it via the complex menu system. The task-killing element works efficiently, although there's no option to remove system apps from the list, so do be careful what you're closing...
Security manager features a threat scanner, allows you to password protect certain apps on your device and also allows remote locking via SMS should you lose your 'droid. You can also set it to lock should a thief decide to swap the SIM.
In short, ES File Explorer is probably the most schizophrenic app we've ever encountered. It wants to be al things to all men and doesn't do a bad job of it. Recommended.
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The Bottom Line
File Explorer is an insanely powerful app that's only let down by its cumbersome UI. Fix that and we'd be hard pushed to fault it.
Version reviewed 188.8.131.52
Requires Android 1.6 or higher