Keeping track of your files on some Android devices is easier said than done. As a result, there are a plethora of file management apps that help you do just that. One of them is ASTRO File Manager, a free app (an ad-free Pro version is also available for $3.99) that helps you organize and view your pictures, music, videos, documents and other files. It is also an archive manager, backup utility and task manager. It even supports add-on modules to expand its functionality.
New with version 3.0, ASTRO has a launch screen to help you navigate the app based on what you want to do. Here you can choose between file manager, task killer, application backup, getting started and more.
When you select file management from the launch screen (music, pictures or documents) you are taken to the "heart" of ASTRO. Here you can access different file locations—internal memory, external SD card, and USB storage—and search and browse their contents. This is where ASTRO’s real value lies.
With ASTRO you can sort files by name, date, size and type. In addition, the app allows you to edit file names, copy and paste, select multiple files, create and extract .zip files, and search. The .zip function is especially useful if you need to email several files at once. The app also has drag-and-drop functionality to move files or folders to new locations.
The search function has several more advanced parameters, including specific folders, file size, older or newer than, and more.
Another nice feature is the ability to save folder locations as bookmarks. This can save you time finding files that are buried in sub-directories.
With the application backup function, ASTRO can back up, uninstall and restore your applications. The app allows you to select individual apps to back up to an SD card, which is nice if you ever switch devices (or lose one). It would be nice if ASTRO took the backup feature one step further and allowed users to back up device settings, home screen layout, contacts, etc.
ASTRO also offers cloud backup to those who sign up for a free ASTRO Backup account. With this account, you can back up pictures, music, video and documents to your own personal cloud. With a backup account, you also have the new ASTRO Cloud Trash Can. With this feature, items you delete are placed on the cloud in case you need them later on. Lastly, the Backup account allows you to restore files to multiple devices, wherever you need them.
A big downside with Android is having apps unknowingly running in the background. They take up memory and waste battery life. With ASTRO’s task killer, you have full control over the processes running on your Android device, thereby improving its speed and battery life.
With ASTRO you can see all of the apps, services and processes that are running on your Android as well as how much memory and processor they are using. We were amazed how many apps were running in the background of our Samsung Galaxy Tab, even after a "clean" restart.
ASTRO also offers built-in support for Windows networking, SFTP and Bluetooth, but you must install separate, free modules. The ASTRO Bluetooth Module adds OBEX FTP support for browsing devices and transferring files via Bluetooth networking. The ASTRO SMB Module adds SMB (Windows) networking.
ASTRO File Manager is one of those apps you don’t think about until you need it. It probably isn’t an app you will use everyday, unless you are a heavy user of documents on your Android. But no matter how sporadically you use it, ASTRO File Manager is one of those rare apps that make using your Android easier. For that reason alone, it is one you should have.