You have a few choices when it comes to browsing your files on Android, but few apps are as powerful as ES File Explorer, which we consider the best of the bunch.
- Basic file management functions: copy, paste, cut, move, create, delete, rename, share and send files stored on your SD card or internal memory
- Select multiple files
- Manage applications (install, uninstall, backup and more)
- Compress, decompress, and encrypt ZIP files, as well as decompress RAR files
- View certain files without leaving the manager, like photos, documents and videos
- Thumbnails for application packages and images
- Edit text files
- Search for files on your SD card or internal memory
- Access your home PC's Samba shared folders via Wi-Fi and even stream media
- Built-in FTP client
- Access files in your Dropbox, as well as edit documents in your Dropbox
- Transfer files over Bluetooth
- Built-in task killer (which we don't recommend using)
- View and edit root-only files
It's hard to think of something that ES can't do. It has features we never even knew we wanted in a file manager, like Samba file sharing, which allows you to just share a folder on your computer and access files or even stream video to any player on your phone. Throw in a built-in file viewer, FTP client, app management, ZIP support, and a pretty fantastic interface and you've got one heck of a file manager. And, since you can access those files as root, there's no reason to have a second file manager like Root Explorer on your phone.
The one annoying thing about ES — and this is a small nitpick — is that some functions aren't built in to the app; instead you need to download separate modules. Some might see this as a pro since it keeps down some of the bloat, but when certain functions are just "links" to other apps it can get a little annoying. Again, this can be a pro or con depending on your stance. Other than that, though, ES File Explorer really goes above and beyond the call of duty and it really doesn't have any areas in which it falls short.
ASTRO File Manager was long the favourite of Android users, and is still a solid app. It isn't quite as feature-filled as ES, however, and it is either free with ads or $3.64, which is hardly worth it for an app that doesn't do as much.
If you'd prefer something a bit more minimal, OI File Manager is a great choice. It doesn't have any of the bells and whistles that ES and ASTRO have, but it'll let you browse your files just fine, and it doesn't require any extra permissions (like accessing the internet) to do so. Its minimalism also makes it a bit more user friendly since it doesn't have nearly as many options to confuse more basic users.
Root Explorer is a must have for root users that don't use ES, since most other file managers can't get root access, which you need if you're editing system files. It's unnecessary if you have ES File Explorer, but it's the perfect companion to any other file manager if you've rooted your phone.
These aren't the only file managers out there, but they're some of the best we've found. In the end, though, we don't see much reason to use anything besides ES File Explorer — it doesn't seem to be lacking anything that other file managers have. If you use something else, though, be sure to tell us what and why in the comments.