Some months back, we poked fun at Microsoft for taking its sweet time to release an official file manager for Windows Phone, and followed it up with a review of a third-party app to tide users over. As if to prove that the app development folks at Microsoft read Brighthand on the reg, about a month later they released the appropriately named Files — the official Windows Phone app for file management. We took Files for a spin to see how it measures up.
Aesthetically, Files looks great. Its interface is flawlessly streamlined with the aesthetic Windows Phone users are already familiar with; looks aren’t everything, of course, but this is one instance where being a first-party program certainly works in Files’ favor. Moving beyond appearance, the app’s broad range of functions are perfectly intuitive, eliminating the need to refer to a tutorial to be able to make full use of it.
When launched, Files displays an overview of the total space used and the total space remaining on the phone’s internal memory, including any room from SD cards. Tapping the storage drive icon brings up a list of familiar folders: Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Ringtones, and Videos. In traditional Windows fashion, folders include the date and timestamp indicating the last time the folder was updated. Thumbnails also display the total number of files stored within each folder.
A single tap gives you a list view of all files contained within. From here, organization is simple, facilitated by the ability to sort files by name, date, and size. A search icon also enables quick access by exact filename or keyword, and thumbnail previews make it easy to identify photos and videos without actually launching them. The app can also be used to open files, which in turn launches any associated programs like video players, music players, and PDF readers.
True to its description as a file management app, Files enables moving, copying, renaming, deleting, and sharing of your stuff. To execute any of these functions, all you have to do is long-tap the desired file and choose the option from the menu that appears. When move or copy is selected, the app lets you navigate through the phone’s storage drive to select its new destination. Rename and delete are equally straightforward, as is one of the more useful functions of the app: the ability to share multiple files at a time via email, Bluetooth or OneDrive.
Files operates on Windows Phone 8.1 devices only — unfortunately, those with earlier versions of the OS are left in the dark until they update — and can be downloaded for free right now from the Windows Phone store.