Dual File Manager XT
Android App of the Week The Android Market is awash with good file managers, so a newcomer really has to cut the mustard to be worthy of recommendation. In this instance, I think the new Dual XT app slices the Coleman’s to perfection.
List view on left side and thumbnail view on right
What separates it from the rest of the file manager herd is its rather cunning dual-screen layout. Each half of the screen acts as a file manager in its own right so you can open up any folder in either half, then by tapping Move to #2 or Copy to #2 you can copy or move files to the folder shown in the other panel.
This makes moving stuff around very easy and lets you see with one tap of the screen that your SD card housekeeping has worked as intended and you haven't lost anything in the process.
Plenty of file view and organisation options
Novel layout aside Dual XT also has all the file manager basics covered and then some including Tar, GZip and Zip archive compression and decompression, file sharing and a facility to switch between list and thumbnail views.
Also included is a useful folder bookmark function and a search option that lets you filter out files of a certain type, size or date and even peer inside archives.
Archiving and sharing on-board too
To cap it off, the design is crisp and clean and you get an attractive selection of thumbnail images for basic file types. Granted that’s a peripheral concern but I like my apps to look professional and Dual XT does.
If you are short on screen space the UI menu lets you adjust several key settings including the height of the panel tabs at the top of the screen – a nice touch. The only downside is that it doesn’t currently offer root support but that's a feature coming in the not too distant future.
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Ah yes, but...
... If you are short on screen space, does the UI menu let you adjust several key settings including the height of the panel tabs at the top of the screen? This question hasn't been answered enough times in this article!
As I understand it, the official HTC Gingerbread ROM just released on their developer site strips out some of the stock HTC apps, one or two others such as Facebook, and removes all operator bloatware and customisations. Although this was only done to make Gingerbread install-able on the Desire in the first place, it might, counter-intuitively, leave you with a little more space?
I'm assuming you already use App2SD, of course. :-)
Ghisler is readying Total Commander for Android
At the time of writing this it is still in Beta 10, but SMB works a treat (something where other Android file managers regularly crap themselves), FTP works, VPN works - and of course you have the dual screen layout. Ghisler even managed to port a lot of stuff that the Total Commander under Windows is famous for to Android, like bookmarks for directories, jump to root and much more.
So, there is basically no need to switch file managers anymore between your Windows machine and your smartphone.
Installed this on my Galaxy S2, and it sucks the battery dry. Went from getting approximately 2 days battery life to 18 hours. Removed it and battery life back to normal.
Avoid if your an S2 user.
Ghost Commander much better than this recommendation
Dual File Manager XT is not unique. "What separates it from the rest of the file manager herd is its rather cunning dual-screen layout."
Ghost Commander has everything that this recommendation has and also the "root:" (su - super user) mode that is essential to work with system files on a rooted phone, change file permissions, attributes, and execute your own shell commands. Plus, its "mount:" mode allows you to browse and remount the file system's partitions. Essential if you need to change a system file, although that could also be done within a terminal emulator if you can remember the Busybox syntax.
Without root access Dual File Manager XT seems a waste of space to me. Two other considerations are relevant.
If you are using Titanium Backup your system and apps files are backed up. Moving other non-system files and folders around seems easy enough to me with Android stock filers, they are designed to work with SD card folders and files. If you accidentally delete eg an mp3, you can restore by using an SD undelete app.
But also on a rooted Android it's simply easier to use a USB connection with a PC to access the SD card and do any major file operations from the PC, bar the system files. Although with the SMB plugin full access to Windows network shared folders is also possible.
Would the reviewer please reconsider this App of the Week - because IMHO Ghost Commander should be the recommended app.