Jan 14, 2011 — by: Karl Johnson
Categories: iOS Applications, Review

There is a clear need for a Finder on the iPad and until Apple creates one, we have to look somewhere else. There are many apps trying to add finder-like features to the iPad and one of them is ReaddleDocs.  The developers of ReaddleDocs added a new twist by including folder syncing between the iPad and a cloud based product like Dropbox. While ReaddleDocs still has areas that need improvement, this sync feature alone pulls it ahead of all other apps.

ReaddleDocs has all the standard iPad file management features such as WiFi file transfer, built-in file viewing, and file management with folders. ReaddleDocs can be compared with other finder-like apps GoodReader and AirSharing HD. While I have not tested AirSharing HD yet, I use GoodReader regularly on the iPad. ReaddleDocs has a number of big advantages over their competitors and they include:

-As mentioned above, ReaddleDocs can sync a folder with online cloud services like Dropbox. This allows access to Dropbox files while offline. Dropbox's own application stores starred files on the iPad, but not folders. It is easy to setup which folders are to be syncs and all folders are synced at the same time with the click of a button. This is a must for any Dropbox users and worth the price of the application alone.

-The file management tools are available not only with the files on the iPad, but with files on remote sites like Dropbox. Now you can manage your Dropbox account files and folders on your iPad. This a unique feature that neither GoodReader nor the Dropbox applications have. Another feature that is a must for Dropbox users.

-ReaddleDocs allows a password protected WiFi drive and keeps it active while you use the application. With GoodReader, you have to enter a WiFi drive mode, which is not protected, and are unable to use the iPad while in this mode. With ReaddleDocs, one can watch a movie while transferring files to and from the iPad, which is not possible with GoodReader.

-Not only can one download files from the internet with its built-in browser, but it can also save web pages as webarchives for offline viewing. The app can also access your email account and download any file attachments. Using the built-in "Open In..", it can send these files to other applications as well. These features provide many different ways to move files around on your iPad.

-While standard Mac icons would look better, ReaddleDocs has a nice easy to use interface with good icons. It has an intuitive and space efficient interface with most of the features just a click or two away. Unlike GoodReader, which has an odd space-consuming design and their file management tools can be hard to find.

-ReaddleDocs also allows you to zip and unpack zip files. With this feature you now have access to files inside of compressed zip archives. This not only saves space on your iPad, it improves transfer speed as well.

ReaddleDocs is a great app, but there are areas for improvement. A few of those include:

-While GoodReader and Dropbox use a swipe gesture to move between photos, ReaddleDocs only has arrow buttons. This is almost a standard feature on iPad photo viewers including Apple's Photo application and is something ReaddleDocs needs to add. Apple's Photo app is still the best photo viewer and I would like to see the developers add some of its features to ReaddleDocs like swipe and thumbnail view. ReaddleDoc's photo load time is the slowest of all the major photo viewers in the App Store. The photo viewer is the only major weakness of ReaddleDocs and something the developers need to address. Adding a slideshow for a group of photos within a folder would really make the application stand out over the competitors.

-While ReaddleDocs has a good PDF viewer, the features are pretty basic. It would be nice to see the developers add some PDF annotation tools from its PDF Expert app to make it more competitive with GoodReader in this area. This is a minor complaint as there are plenty of PDF annotators in the App Store and a file manager does not need to have them.

- It would be nice to add shortcuts to the sidebar for frequently accessible files or folders. This is more of a feature request than a disadvantage. ReaddleDocs has a good interface and it would be nice to use that interface to its fullest.

While ReaddleDocs is not perfect, it is the best file manager on the iPad right now. Dropbox users will find this an essential application with sync and file management features. It has replaced GoodReader on my iPad and could replace Dropbox's own app if the developers improve the photo viewing tools. ReaddleDocs is available for the iPad and iPhone. They are separate apps and sell for $4.99 each.

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