Sahil Mohan Gupta, NDTV,
July 18, 2011
Available on: iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS
Reviewed on: iPad
Apple products are most often beautifully designed, work seamlessly and are very intuitive, but the syncing process with iTunes is nightmarish more often than not, a problem compounded by the fact that iOS does not have a built in file-system. Enter Dropbox, the cloud based storage service helps reduce some of these issues through its app. It does, at least, solve the file transfer part of the problem. But Dropbox is more than just a cloud based file transfer app as you will discover as you keep reading.
The Dropbox app on the iOS syncs with the native browser based interface or the Windows/Mac app. You can create folders and even share particular folders with otherDropbox users.
If one has a Windows/Mac app, sharing files with the iOS counterpart is very seamless as the Windows/Mac app creates a folder on the machine and all one has to do is drag and drop files.
User interface-wise, Dropbox can't be simpler as the iOS app is divided into two panes. On the left hand, it displays all the files and folders. On the right hand, we have a preview window which previews files of various formats, be it Mp3, Word, PowerPoint or PDF. So, those people who do not have an in-built document viewer of the 'iWork' or 'Documents 2 Go' sort, can at least view their files. Unfortunately, there are no editing options yet. You can even stream your Mp3 files on your iOS device without actually having the file on the device.
Dropbox even offers us an option to directly e-mail the file and choose an application with which to open it, provided the file has multiple apps that support it. This is one feature we have always wanted, as, by and large, top open a concerned file meant selecting the specific app in iTunes.
Dropbox offers free cloud storage of up-to 2GB, which can get upgraded, to 2.25 Gb if one recommends the app to other people and download a variety of different files. One can upgrade to 50 Gb of storage for $9.99/month or $99/ year or go a notch higher with 100 Gb of storage for $19.99/month and $199.99/ year.
Dropbox also has sister BlackBerry and Android apps, which offer similar functionality but are not as intuitive.
With the addition of Dropbox, your iPad or iPhone truly turns into a workhorse. Transferring files is a painless process and it allows us to choose which app we would like to open a particular document with, aside from being a document viewer in itself.
As it is a cloud-based service, it has its inherent bandwidth limitations and will not work without connectivity but if one has these facilities it works fabulously. A flaw is the limited storage space offered, as a 2GB limit isnot enough for videos, but then again it's free and one can always pay for more storage.
Dropbox is among the must have apps for the iOS platform, especially for someone who intends to use an iPad as a netbook replacement.
Usability - 5
Price - 5
Wow factor - 4.5
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