Out of the box Android comes without a key component: a file manager. You cannot access your files, you have pretty much no idea where are your pictures, videos or music files stored and cannot manage your other documents (PDFs, DOCs, ZIPs etc.). This is where ASTRO comes in. It offers all of the basic functions of a standard desktop file manager, plus FTP and Bluetooth connectivity.
It offers file management for the entire Linux file system. This includes the basic copy, move, delete, rename or create new directory commands. Unlike the familiar cut-paste work flow for moving a file, ASTRO uses the same mechanism, but you will choose the Move and Paste instead of Cut and Paste. You can also select multiple files and folders at once to perform common actions. Unlike some PC file managers, ASTRO has only one work area. This makes copying files a little difficult because you have to navigate back and forth throughout the folder hierarchy. However, this is caused by the small screen size and it isn’t the app’s fault.
Archives (ZIP files) can be extracted easily by long pressing the file name and selecting Extract. The other way around works too: using multiple selection you are able to create a new archive file. Another interesting aspect is that you can copy files to an existing archive.
An advanced search function is also included. You can search for a set of characters found in a file name or inside a text file. For advanced filters there are many additional options such as: to include directory names, to search sub directories, to perform a case insensitive search, to hide file names that contain a certain text, size and date restrictions.
One of the most useful features is the ability to connect with your computers from the network via SMB (Server Message Block), FTP or Bluetooth. You can quickly transfer files between your device and other machines with ease. For these to work, you will have to install the additional SMB Module and Bluetooth Module, both which are free. It’s a bit odd these were not bundled with the main ASTRO app.
Apart from the file management functions, ASTRO includes 3 tools that are partially related: the Application Manager/Backup, SD Card Usage and Process Manager.
The first of the three enables you to view a list of all the installed apps on your device and backup them. This was useful back when Android did not allow you to install apps on the SD. But right now I see no reason to backup, uninstall and then restore an app using this tool.
SD Card Usage gives you the option to browse the folders on your SD card while showing the amount of used space used by each one. This tool is only for information purposes. There are no functions here to alter the file system in any way.
The last one, Process Manager, is handy when it comes to terminating an application that refuses to work properly. It shows three tabs (Apps, Services, Processes).
ASTRO is a must have app. It is very complex and you probably are not going to use all the options available, but in the event you do need them they are there for your use.
Although it is free, it is also ad supported. A small advertisement will be displayed at the bottom, but it won’t interfere with your work. However, I found it annoying in landscape mode, because it takes too much real estate (you can only see 2 items at a time in the list view).
|name||ASTRO File Manager|
|developer contact||metago.inc (at) gmail (dot) com|