Offline saving available. Automatic photo and video upload option. Can create text files inside app. Light image-editing abilities.
Can't view files by type, except for images.
- Bottom Line
If you're a Dropbox user with an Android device, Dropbox is a must-have app. It gives you access to your files from anywhere, and it can automatically back up your photos and videos, too.
By Jill Duffy
I would have failed my recent Global Entry Card application interview with the Department of Homeland Security, if I hadn't been able to quickly find a document with proof of my address in my Dropbox. I loaded the document from the Dropbox Android app, showed the officer my phone, and everything was fine. In a similar incident, I was able to find my dog's microchip number in a document on Dropbox. It's during these moments that I'm most thankful for the Dropbox mobile app. The app (which is also available for the iPhone) also comes in handy for effortlessly backing up photos and videos. Its reliability, utility, and ease of use make Dropbox a top Android app.
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In the following review, I only cover the Dropbox Android app. For additional details about the service as a whole, see my in-depth review of Dropbox. Furthermore, PCMag has a separate review of Dropbox for Business, as that service is slightly different.
Price and Versions
The Android app is free to download, and Dropbox as a service uses a freemium model. A free personal account starts you out with 2GB of space. You can earn more free space through referrals and other actions. Dropbox Plus is the paid option. It costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year and includes 1GB of space.
The price of a Business account varies based on the number of employees: $15 per month per user, with a minimum of three users, making $45 per month the minimum.
Online and Offline Files
The point of the Dropbox mobile app is to give you access to all the files you store in Dropbox whenever and wherever you need them. The interface is clean and simple, showing by default a list of all the files and folders you keep in the parent Dropbox folder.
Whenever you have an internet connection, you can easily browse or search for files you need. The Dropbox Android app also gives you the option to view all image files, which is handy when sharing photos.
The app lets you save selected files offline, too. To save a file so that you can view it anytime, you just need to tap a down arrow that appears alongside it, or in the upper right corner of the screen if you've opened the file for viewing. A list of options appears, including Available Offline. Toggling that switch will save a copy of the file offline. The next time you display a list view, you see a small green icon of a mobile phone with a checkmark in it next to all the files saved offline. You can also quickly pull up a list of all your offline files via an option from the main menu.
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A good set of options appears when you want to add a new file to your Dropbox account from the mobile app. You can create a new text file right from the app, without using any third-party word processing apps, which is convenient. You can also choose a document, photo, or video to upload; snap a picture; or scan a document.
Sharing options in the app let you send a link to any folder so that other people can view its contents. For sharing in the moment, you can use a quick link from the menu to view all photos, handy for when you want to pass your phone around a group of friends to see your latest pictures.
Comments are supported, meaning you can add a short note to any file. When commenting on files that are shared, the ability to use @ messages to flag someone's attention is particularly helpful.
You can do some light photo editing in the Dropbox Android app, too, which is a wonderful feature. The options don't go beyond cropping and rotating, but they still add significant value to the app.
In addition to giving you the ability to view and share your files, Dropbox's Android app also automates a couple of tasks that are specific to the mobile environment, such as immediately uploading photos and videos that you take. Another benefit is that Dropbox plays nicely with others. Tap on a spreadsheet file inside the app, for example, and Dropbox can automatically launch it in a compatible app that supports editing, such as Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. Seamless integration among services is never more important than on the tiny screen of a smartphone.
One minor disappointment is that while you can sort to view all images stored in your Dropbox account, there are no similar filters for other types of files, such as spreadsheets or PDFs. The best you can do is use a search bar, which actually works well enough when you search for "PDF" but not necessarily all kinds of files.
An Excellent App
If you're already a Dropbox user, add the mobile app to your Android device. You never know when you're going to need files that are stored in your Dropbox account. It's also useful to learn the ins and outs of the photo upload features, as it's a valuable tool that helps back up your pictures. The Dropbox app remains one of our favorite Android apps, and it's a a clear PCMag Editors' Choice. If you're not yet a Dropbox user and are still weighing your file-syncing options, see PCMag's roundup of the best cloud storage solutions.
Other Dropbox Android Apps
Jill Duffy is a contributing editor, specializing in productivity apps and software, as well as technologies for health and fitness. She writes the weekly Get Organized column, with tips on how to lead a better digital life. Her first book, Get Organized: How to Clean Up Your Messy Digital Life is available for Kindle, iPad, and other digital formats. She is also the creator and author of ProductivityReport.org. Before joining PCMag.com, she was senior editor at the Association for Computing Machinery, a non-profit membership organization for… More »
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