My first official Android App Smackdown as an Android and Me staffer will be pitting two cloud file sharing apps – Dropbox and Zumodrive – against each other to see which is worthy of being called THE file sharing app for Android. We will focus on the initial setup on your PC, and how well each app handles documents, pictures, and music.
Setting up files to share from your PC
Both Dropbox and Zumodrive come with PC applications to allow you to share files between your PC and Android device, but which one does the job the best?
Setting up my computer’s Zumodrive was both easy and intuitive, facilitated by Zumodrive’s tight integration with the Windows operating system. Simply right-click on the file or folder you want to access, and click “Link to Zumodrive.” The folder is now linked with your Zumodrive for easy access. Folders and files you’ve chosen to link will have a cloud on the bottom of the icon. Sharing in Zumodrive is simply a breeze.
Setting up files in Dropbox was also relatively simple, but wasn’t quite as intuitive and integrated as Zumodrive. Dropbox operates as a folder that you can drag and drop files into for sharing. This will remove them from the location they were stored on your hard drive and place them in the Dropbox Folder. It still gets the job done, but I don’t like the idea of having to physically move files on my computer.
Overall, setup is fairly easy no matter which client you choose, but Zumodrive wins this category because of how easy it is to set up files to share.
Accessing files from your Android phone
As a businessman by day, having access to my files wherever I go borders on necessity. As such, the first real test pits how well the Dropbox and ZumoDrive Android apps handle accessing documents.
Both Dropbox and Zumodrive make accessing linked documents very easy. Provided you have some type of office program on your phone, simply click a file in either the Dropbox or Zumodrive app, and it opens right up allowing you to view word documents, spreadsheets, powerpoint, and PDF files (dependent on which office suite you have). I am currently using the premium version of Documents to Go, and can only guarantee how well each program works with this office suite. If you use a different office program and have problems, please let us know in the comments so we can contact the developers.
The one advantage Dropbox has over Zumodrive is that when you open a document in Dropbox, the file retains its filename, whereas Zumodrive renames it to a string of numbers. Hardly a dealbreaker since you can always rename the file, but it’s a slight annoyance.
Both programs make it very easy to view linked files, but Dropbox wins this category by an eyelash.
Dropbox and Zumodrive both utilize the Android gallery to access linked pictures, but Dropbox actually saves the pictures onto your SD card so they remain in your gallery (even after you uninstall the application). This is a very handy feature that allows you to easily sync your picture folder on your personal computer with your Android phone so you can easily show off your pictures on the go.
This integration with the gallery is where Dropbox truly sets itself apart and propels it to the winner of the picture category.
The music category is the one that has the biggest potential. Imagine being able to share your iTunes folder on your computer and being able to play it right from your Android device. It is the music category where Zumodrive really shines. Zumodrive has its own built-in music player with notifications that tell you what’s playing. I really like the inclusion of a music player in Zumodrive, and it feels like it was just made for Android.
Contrast this experience with Dropbox, which would either force close or playback would be very choppy every time I tried to launch a song. Now, that could be a fluke and the music player could work for you, but I think I can safely assume that if one person is having problems, others are likely to have problems too.
Application Look & Feel
Dropbox and Zumodrive both feel really well put together. Most things seem to just work, with the obvious exception of launching the music player in Dropbox. Overall though, Zumodrive’s UI simply feels more polished than Dropbox.
Well folks, it seems Zumodrive wins by a very slim margin. Both Dropbox and Zumodrive are revolutionary apps that provide access to all of your content on the go. Though neither are perfect, they both do their jobs fairly well and excel in different areas. I encourage you to try both of these apps out for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.
Both Dropbox and Zumodrive should be available for all Android versions on the Android market. If you are having problems, please let us know in the comments.