4 Better Alternatives to ES File Explorer for Android
Recently, there has been a noticeable trend of beloved and widely used free Android apps either going paid, being sold, going bust, or resorting to spammy techniques. QuickPic, EverythingMe, Pushbullet – all have fallen victim to this unfortunate fate. While it is indeed sad, it is also understandable. Initially, startups focus solely on amassing a large user base. But eventually, they must confront the reality of generating revenue. How each developer chooses to address this challenge varies, and the results are mixed. ES belongs to the group that has not handled it well. Over the past few months, ES has undergone a series of changes – a half-hearted attempt at a Material Design makeover, some alterations in the interface, and ultimately the addition of a “cleaner utility” (which is really just bloatware) and spammy notifications.
If you’re like me, you’ve had enough. And you want to move on.
1. Solid Explorer
Solid is a superior alternative to ES. It is built on Material Design and has a visually pleasing interface. Unlike ES, Solid is not completely free. Nonetheless, this is beneficial because you can support the developers of Solid Explorer, ensuring its longevity and avoiding the fate of QuickPic or ES.
Hardcore ES Explorer fans might not immediately understand Solid Explorer. The UI is different, and at first glance, it might seem like powerful features are missing. However, the features are available, just in different locations. Here are some Solid Explorer features you’ll care about.
Internet memory and root explorer.
Cloud account support – Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and more.
Dual pane interface. Easy to copy files between folders and panes.
SMB and local network support.
Ability to hide file and folders.
Plug-in support for additional functionality.
The hardcore ES user who used ES to do 15 different things will feel comfortable with Solid. Almost all the important features of ES are available here. The app provides a 14-day trial and can be unlocked with a $1.99 in-app purchase.
2. FX File Explorer
FX File Explorer is the most similar interface to ES currently available. It has a folder UI, long-press modal popups, navigation bar, and more. While the app does incorporate some Material Design elements, it doesn’t fully embrace them. Unlike Solid, which prioritizes lists, FX uses icons. This provides you with more extensive file previews, including image thumbnails and album cover art. Additionally, you can pinch to adjust the size of folder previews.
FX is free, but you may want to pay $2.49 for FX Plus, which includes cloud sync, FTP, SMB, and media management. A 7-day trial is available, and the Root Access add-on is free.
FX’s split view is cool. We’ve discussed it in detail here.
Cabinet is a well-designed file explorer that resembles ES.
Cabinet is a minimalist file explorer. It is designed as a pure file explorer that allows you to find, open, and move folders or files. It is free and still in beta, but totally usable. Cabinet’s UI and features are both minimalist. It doesn’t have multiple features like cloud sync, FTP, local network streaming, app backup, or fast Wi-Fi transfer. The UI is simple with no complicated interaction, long press menus, or gestures. It primarily uses three dotted menus and toolbar options.
If you’re looking for a basic file manager to open and move files without extra features, go with Cabinet. Cabinet is currently free to use, but donations ($1 to $20) are welcome to support development.
Amaze is similar to Solid Explorer, but it’s completely free. Amaze is an open source app, meaning the developer shares its code on Github. Some free things are actually good, and Amaze is that kind of app. Like Solid, it uses Material Design guidelines and allows you to switch between themes. Basic functions like copy and move are more pronounced.
Amaze, unlike Cabinet, is feature-rich. It includes an app manager for backup and uninstallation, SMB for file sharing on Windows, a root explorer, multiple window support, and more.
I have found Amaze to be one of the fastest file explorers available. On my OnePlus One with Android 5.1, I was amazed at the speed with which the app launches.
Which One Is For You?
If you’re an Android power user who’s used ES for the past few years and you’re willing to pay for an app, go and download Solid Explorer – no doubt about it.
But if, for some reason, you’re unable to pay, look into Amaze. It’s almost as feature rich as Solid and it’s free and open source.
For a casual user who wants to use a file explorer just for basic file exploration – go with Cabinet.
What is your opinion on the file explorer issue? Have you switched from ES? How was your experience? Which app did you choose and why? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear about your explorations.
As Fred Humiston, the author behind Twothirds.us, I focus on providing practical and easy-to-follow guides and solutions for a variety of technical issues that people commonly face.
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