Dropbox for iPad: Drop dead useful or lost in translation?
An unexpected but very welcome entrant on the iPad is the new Dropbox application. If you haven’t already heard of Dropbox, do yourself a favour and get an account now. Why would I recommend you get an account without even knowing anything about your computer usage habits?
Because the functionality that dropbox provides is basically universal. Everyone has files, many people use more than one computer, and would like to use those files at multiple locations.
This is the problem that Dropbox solves – painlessly syncing files between platforms and providing storage (up to 2gb for free) in the cloud. And now this functionality is on the iPad.
Read on to find out how it fares.
But how does it translate?
The iPad version differs a little from its desktop counterparts and does not sync files to your machine, but rather, only allows you to view the files on the cloud. You choose a file from the list and download it, instead of accessing a local copy. The inbuilt file viewer is robust and supports many types of files.
The PDF viewer is particularly good and basically blows the current defacto standard PDF reader, GoodReader, out of the water. Yes, that’s right – as I posted here – Dropbox, not even a dedicated reader app, is the best PDF reader on the iPad so far.
This model of usage only falls down when you want to view files offline, as would be possible with the desktop version. You can ‘star’ or favourite files which allows you to store them locally, although this is not immediately obvious. Files selected for download appear in a cut-down download manager.
Any file can be opened in another app on your iPad that supports it. PDFs for example show the option to be viewed in GoodReader or any other PDF reader you have installed. Images can also be copied to the clipboard for use in emails, IMs or other applications.
Is it worth my time?
If nothing else, Dropbox is an excellent way to get files onto your iPad and an essential reading solution. Place your book files on the cloud, download and read within Dropbox application.
The primary failing is where the bigger brother application wins out – local storage. You can see why the developers avoided this – limited storage space on a mobile device – but it is inconvenient if you’re used to having all files available regardless of connection.
Overall a sleek, must-have app with some minor shortcomings. The platform and app are free to use with 2gb free included storage, so it’s difficult to argue with the price.
What do you want to see reviewed next? What hidden gem app deserves exposure that isn’t getting it? Post in the comments!