Many of us keep files in the cloud using services like Dropbox. While Dropbox has a decent iPhone app, there are quite a few features that it lacks. Boxie is an intuitive and beautiful new Dropbox client that aims to alleviate some of those issues. From the ability to view any file’s previous revisions and restore deleted files to the simple drag-and-drop file manager, Boxie has a ton of advantages over the official Dropbox app.
When you first open up Boxie, you’ll need to login to your Dropbox account. If you are new to Dropbox, you can create an account right from within the app. If you already have a Dropbox account, you can either manually login with your email address and password, or you can quickly and automatically authorize Boxie using the first-party Dropbox app, if you have it installed.
Just like with most apps, after logging in, Boxie walks the user through a tutorial about how to use it. It shows off the many uses of gestures and notifications in the app.
After signing into Boxie and going through the tutorial, you’re ready to start using Boxie. While in the app, notifications will appear as a green bar at the top of the screen indicating an action has been completed. Tapping on the notification panel functions as an undo button, and swiping it to the right dismisses it quickly. Inside of Boxie you are able to see all of your notifications by tapping on the button in the upper left hand corner or swiping from left to right with one finger and selecting Notifications.
Boxie also supports push notifications outside of the app. Similar to the official Dropbox app, Boxie alerts tell you when something is uploaded to your Dropbox, if a contact accepted a shared folder invitation, or if someone else uploaded something into a shared folder.
Boxie does share some similarities to the Dropbox app. For example, pressing on the button in the upper right hand corner gives some organizational options. You are able to create folders, show deleted files, upload photos or videos, and make files available offline.
While other apps require several button taps to move files around, Boxie uses the same simple file managment system you’re used to on a desktop: just drag-and-drop a file into a folder.
The visual elements are carefully thought out and are appealing. For example, while waiting for your pictures to load the dots in the image preview, are animated and they move indicating that it is loading previews of your images. Then once it is done processing there are previews of your images.
At the time of launch, Boxie does not support Dropbox’s automatic camera uploads. For the time being, you’ll need to manually upload your media to Dropbox. While file managment in Boxie is easy, the app helps simplify the process by letting you select which folder to upload your files to, as opposed to using a single “mobile uploads” folder.
Swiping a cell to the right will allow you to bookmark the item, save the item offline, share the item, show previous versions of files and open the item.
Swiping a cell to the left will allow you to delete items. If you delete files or pictures while using Boxie, you are actually able to see and restore those files. This is a nice additional feature that is not available in the Dropbox app, although you can do this on the Dropbox website.
When doing a lot of word processing, you end up creating different versions of the document. With Boxie, you are able to view the whole revision history for that file and restore from a previous version. Like with file restoration, this is another feature of the Dropbox website that is missing from the official app.
Unlike the Dropbox app, Boxie fully supports opening and browsing ZIP archives. Once opened you can view the files contained in the ZIP archive, organize them, and upload them to Dropbox.
Even though the Dropbox app supports marking items as favorites so the items will be available for offline viewing, Boxie really emphasizes the fact that these are available offline and makes it easier and extremely efficient to make many items available offline in one action. These starred files are synced with Dropbox and also available for offline viewing in the official app, provided you have opened it at least once since marking that file for offline availability.
Boxie also makes it easy to find all of your offline Items by swiping to the left to get into a control panel. From here you can easily see how much space you have used in your Dropbox account, as well as shared space (meaning files you share with others). You are also able to sort how your items are displayed, just like you are able to do in Finder on a Mac.
Boxie is a powerful alternative to the Dropbox app with capabilities that make workflows extremely efficient. It includes being able to drag and drop files, view and restore deleted files, view and restore previous versions, opening and browsing ZIP archives, heavy emphasis of offline files, easy-to-interpret usage information, and sorting options users will be familiar with from the desktop.
While Boxie isn’t a universal app yet, future updates promise a version that takes full advantage of the iPad’s larger screen. Other promised updates include improving user accessibility, supporting Dropbox automatic camera uploads, improving file preview, and file editing enhancements.
Boxie certainly makes Dropbox pretty, as the app’s tagline claims, but it has a lot of added features and benefits that are not available in the Dropbox app and make Boxie a more efficient tool to use. Boxie is currently on sale for $1.99 until October 23rd. Make sure you grab this awesome productivity app before the price goes up to $2.99.