When the BlackBerry Priv launched, there was a lot of ruckus over the fact that there was no native File Manager. I guess it was because we were kind of spoiled on BlackBerry 10, where one was natively available and it also allowed us to connect to popular cloud storage services like Dropbox, Box and eventually OneDrive. It integrated nicely into the operating system and allowed us to share files quite easily from those accounts, as well as from internal storage and a microSD card. It was convenient. With none be found pre-installed on the Priv, it meant that we were open to looking for one ourselves. If you haven't found one you like already, here's a few we've rounded up for you to help you decide.
While searching for file managers I looked to the top rated ones as well as those that offered similar functionality to that of the native offering on BlackBerry 10. A lot of them will offer the same kind of functionality while others may give a little bit more. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you want from a file manager. I'll take you through 5 file managers, you might just find one you're looking for.
1. Solid Explorer
I have found that Solid Explorer has ended up being my go-to file manager. It offers a split screen view when in landscape orientation; you get two panels within the app that allow you to view two different drives. You can then drag and drop files between the two panels. If you're in portrait mode, you can swipe left or right to go between two different drives. Solid Explorer allows you to customize the look of the UI with icon sets, color schemes and themes to choose from.
Apart from being able to access your internal storage and microSD card, there's a whole host of cloud storage services that you can connect with Solid Explorer giving you access to your files from one, unified place. It supports Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Mega, Box and more. If you're looking for USB-OTG (USB On-the-go), there is support for it but you will have to purchase the USB-OTG plugin to get the functionality.
If you store music on your microSD card, you may be happy to know that there is a built-in music player in this app too.
Solid Explorer is free to download and you get a free 14-day trial, after which you can purchase it for $1.99. Though right now there's a 50%-off sale happening so you can get it for $0.99.
2. Astro File Manager
Astro File Manager isn't as elegant as Solid Explorer, but it still does what you need it to do. You can access your SD card, the internal storage of your Priv, as well as the usual cloud storage services, with options including Box, Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive. You can also connect to FTP, SFTP and SMB servers. There is also the option to connect to local network devices. Of course, you'll be able to transfer files between them all.
Astro File Manager also has the ability to backup your apps. Just open the app menu and select the Tools icon, then App Manager. You'll be presented with a list of your installed apps. Tap the three dots against your app of choice and hit Backup. From the same place, you'll also find an option to uninstall an app you no longer want or need.
There is also a built-in task manager, handy for the times you want to kill process that may be running in the background. That said, Android has gotten to be really good at managing running tasks, so this shouldn't be a feature that you turn to on a regular basis.
It's worth noting that Astro File Manager lacks support for USB-OTG, so if that's important to you, give this one a skip. Astro File Manager is free to download and ad-supported. You can pay $3.99 for the Pro version if you want to get rid of the ads, though it adds no additional functionality.
3. ES File Explorer
ES File Explorer has been around for a long time and is a popular choice among Android users. Just like the two other file managers already mentioned, it will give you the basic file manager functions, such as moving, copying, transferring files between different storage locations. ES File Explorer supports a lot of cloud storage services, more than just the usual top choices. Like a lot of file managers, it also will give you remote access to the storage on computers, servers, and network drives on your local network. The ability to access FTP, SFTP and WebDAV Servers is also present.
One thing I like about ES Explorer is the cache cleaner function that lets you delete any junk files that may be taking up space. There is also a built-in task manager here too.
For those looking for USB-OTG support, you can find it in ES Explorer too. There's no need to install or purchase an extra plugin for this functionality either.
There's also a built-in music player in there too, so if you're like me and still have an offline music collection you can play them through this file manager.
ES Explorer is free to download and you can get a lot of features right off the bat with the free version. There is a Pro version that ditches the ads and brings more functionality and customization and theme options for $2.99. The free version will likely be good enough for most.
4. X-plore File Manager
X-plore File Manager doesn't look very intuitive when you first use it. The interface is definitely something you have to get used to. As usual, you'll find access to internal and SD storage and of course access to cloud storage services of your choice. It also offers a double-panel option when in landscape mode, which is always handy for when you're trying to manage files. It's also there when in portrait mode, you just have to swipe left or right to go between them. It does make transferring files between locations a lot easier. You can also configure what to show on each panel. For example, may you just want to show cloud storage accounts in one panel and all others on the other panel. It certainly is a great way to customize it to your preference.
The app description in Google Play says that you should see contents of attached USB sticks (i.e. X-plore File Manager is supposed to have USB-OTG support), but I couldn't get that to work. There might be something I'm missing thanks to the dense interface. However, you will find a music player; it's a pretty nice one, complete with album art.
While X-plore File Manager didn't initially appeal to me, the more I used it the more I began to like it. Shame I can't seem to get USB-OTG working.
X-plore File Manager is free to download. If you like it, you can donate to the developer.
5. File Commander
I gave this one a download as it showed as an Editor's choice app through the Google Play Store, so I thought I'd give it a try. It has a nice interface that makes navigation clearer than some other file managers in the article. Again, you'll be able to access internal storage and microSD storage and you can see the status of each of those at a glance on the Home screen of the app. It has quick shortcuts to bring you to your photos, videos, music and more and you can add more shortcuts in there too. Of course, there's also access to your favorite cloud storage services, though File Commander currently only supports the more popular ones. You won't find Mega or Mediafire support here.
If you want FTP support, it is also present and remote access within your local network can be ticked off for this app too. What you won't find is support for USB-OTG.
File Commander is free to download. You can unlock the premium version which removes ads, gives you a secure mode where you can hide or encrypt files and folders and more.
Do you use a file manager not mentioned here? Swear by any of our picks? Let us know in the comments what your favorite file explorer is — and why!