File storage used to be a painful chore before syncing, cloud-based file storage. Having different versions of files on different devices made for a lot of unnecessary tedium and confusion. People used to try to remedy these difficulties with email-based backups or version-based file names (like “project-proposal-version-5-3.doc”), but these techniques rarely proved to be effective, leaving hard drives and email accounts cluttered with different documents in various states of completion.
But these days, cloud computing is becoming a common practice and a great solution to this common problem. It’s not just for advanced technology gurus; applications like Box make it simple and intuitive for anyone, regardless of their technical skills.
Cloud-based file storage is now the preferred method of preserving important data for anyone with Internet connectivity. That’s why an app like Box is an excellent tool for keeping everything in one place without taking up precious hard drive space or carrying your private, sensitive data on a USB thumbdrive, where it could get lost or stolen.
Box is a file storage app that allows you to store your photos, videos, or any other type of file using their servers. It’s free for 5GB storage space, and Box offers free 50 GB storage for a limited time period depending on your device.
The Box Android app is free in the Google Play app store. It allows you to upload photos, videos and any other type of file from your phone’s SD card. This can be accessed from your desktop by going to their website and signing in using the same account used on your phone.
The app’s design is simple and has a minimalist feel. The text and graphics are just the right size – not too small, not too large.
Usage isn’t perfectly intuitive, so it may take time to learn what all the visual icons stand for. It will take a bit of trial and error to understand all of the features as well.
Navigating in and out of screens could be improved by having a central Home or Back key, which the app lacks at the moment. To do this, you’ll have to keep using your phone’s Back button to exit any given screen.
Because you’re accessing files stored in a server, a fast data or Wi-Fi connection is required for the app to work optimally. Slow data connections may not result in a great user experience.
Other tasks – such as browsing through a group of images or visiting various file folders – are done quite smoothly. Downloading and uploading files takes a moderate amount of time and is neither impressive nor disappointing.
Box is a file storage service, so its primary function is to preserve your latest data and share it among your various electronic devices. These files can be organized in folders and can be viewed as something similar to a file explorer’s directory. A user can add, delete or rename files or folders.
These files can be downloaded to whichever device you choose. There’s also an option to share these files through e-mail, as well as an option to send a link to a file or folder through e-mail.
From your phone, you can upload images, audio, or video taken from your camera straight to the Box network, which is very practical for sharing information with your friends and colleagues.
Tip: You can upload a photo from the Gallery without opening the app. Just tap on a photo and choose “Share” and tap on Box from the list of apps that appear. It automatically opens the upload menu on Box’s app.
Downloading is pretty simple. When you open a file stored in the server, it automatically saves it on the device you opened it from. For instance, opening a photo from the server using your phone will save the photo to your Gallery. In some cases, it will even create an album with the same name as the folder name in your Box account.
Box is a very efficient app when it comes to delivering file storage solutions. But, it could be designed more intuitively to enhance navigation and provide better user experience.
This kind of service is common nowadays, and there are a lot of similar apps like Box. A notable competitor, Dropbox, has an auto-sync feature that Box does not offer at this point. Even Google+, which is primarily a social networking app, has “Instant Upload” for automatically storing a phone’s images into the user’s Google + account. Box has yet to offer similarly fast uploading features.
Although this app lacks more advanced features, it does get the job done – and quite efficiently. With a clear focus on basic file storage, Box is a great file storage app to keep. Besides, no other file storage app offers lifetime-free storage of 50 GB.
Some minor improvements couldn’t hurt – specifically with navigation and features – but these are minor concerns for an app that delivers what it says it will do without a lot of frills or unnecessary features. For users who want a no-nonsense, basic and simple way to store files in the cloud, Box is definitely an app to have.
Kim Barloso is a training officer for a BPO by profession and writes online in her free time. Kim is an Android fan and avid blogger of all things Android. When she's not busy blogging, she's probably hunting for the coolest apps in the Market.