One of the most popular cloud storage solutions is DropBox. Lots of people use it to sync their data across devices. Even though Dropbox offers clients for most mobile platforms, Windows Phone is one of the few without an official app. However, you still can access Dropbox from Windows Phone but you have to use a third-party apps. This article covers 5 free apps that are available for Windows Phone and tries to help you choose the best option.
NOTE: Some of the apps mentioned below are entirely free while others are ad-supported. Some have a paid version that removes the ads, or unlocks more advanced features. You will find other apps in the marketplace but they will be paid apps.
Testing Procedure & Limitations
All of these apps were used to access my DropBox account and view or download pictures, MP3s, Microsoft Office documents, ePub and PDF files. If the app was capable of it, PDF files were downloaded to the device and opened in Adobe Reader. Without Adobe Reader installed, the file cannot be opened or downloaded. EPub files could not be opened or downloaded by any of the apps, despite the fact that I do have an ePub reader installed on my phone.
1. Cloud Shortcuts
Cloud Shortcuts is a Tools & Productivity app that provides access and shortcuts to a number of cloud storage solutions. Shortcuts can be pinned to your Start screen for quick access, or from the Cloud Shortcut app directly. Currently, Cloud Shortcuts provides shortcuts to Windows Live SkyDrive, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and SugarSync. Your login information is not stored on the phone, so you'll need to enter it each time.
The pictures, MP3s, and Office documents were opened in the device's appropriate application, but not downloaded to the device. With the exception of the MP3s, there is the option to save the file on the device, and once saved it is accessible from the appropriate app on the phone.
Provided you don't logout of your DropBox account, you won't need to enter your login information each time, even if you restart or power off your phone. But once you logout of DropBox, you'll need to enter the login information again the next time you access your account.
Cloud Shortcuts does a good job of providing access to your DropBox account and the files you have stored there. The only shortcomings I found were that it doesn't store your login information on your device, and that MP3 files could not be downloaded to the device.
2. BoxShot Free
BoxShot Free is a Tools & Productivity app for accessing your DropBox account. It allows you to not only access the files, but also lets you move, rename, and delete files and folders. You can view and edit text files, and sync the albums from the Pictures Hub on your device. It also provides you with information on your DropBox account, space used, space remaining, total space available, and amount shared.
The pictures, MP3s, and Office documents were opened in the device's appropriate application, but not downloaded to the device. There is the option to save the file on the device, and once saved it's accessible from the appropriate app on the phone. Except for the MP3; it could only be played, not saved or downloaded.
BoxShot Free does everything it promises, and is an excellent solution for accessing your DropBox account from your Windows Phone device. It even stores your login information, so you only have to enter it once.
3. LindyBox Free!
Another Tools & Productivity app, LindyBox Free! is a DropBox browser for viewing documents stored in your DropBox account. It will store your DropBox login ID, but not your password.
With the exception of the image file, I was not able to view or download any of the test files. The image file was viewable, and I was able to save it to my device.
Other being able to view the test image, LindyBox Free! did nothing that it promises and is not app that I would recommend.
4. BoxFiles for Dropbox
A Tools & Productivity app, BoxFiles for DropBox allows you to create a new DropBox account, access and manage the files and folders you have stored on DropBox, and upload images from your Pictures Hub or download them to your device.
I was able to view and download the PDF files and Office documents. The MP3 file played, and the image file was viewable, but neither could be downloaded. In addition, BoxFiles for DropBox does not store any of your login information. So if you logout from your phone, you must reenter all of your login information again.
BoxFiles for DropBox promises much, but fell a bit short on delivery. Considering other apps are able to fulfill all their claims, BoxFiles for DropBox is not an app I would choose to manage my DropBox account from my Windows Phone 7 device.
5. DropBox Viewer
The description for DropBox Viewer, a Tools & Productivity app, is rather short. It simply states that it lets you browse and view your DropBox files.
I was able to view and download PDF, Office files, and images. Music files could be opened and played, but not downloaded to my device.
The only files I was able to upload to my DropBox account were images I had stored on my device. Like some of the other apps, DropBox Viewer did not store any login information on my device. Once I logged out, I had to reenter the login information the next time.
Which is the most useful app?
While some of the applications fulfilled all of their promised features, others fell completely flat. Some were only able to come through on some of the functions they advertise. Personally, I felt the best option for accessing my DropBox account and the files I have stored there was BoxShot Free.
Bear in mind though, all of these are free apps. Other paid apps, or the paid version of some of the free apps covered here, may provide the features you need.
Official Dropbox app for Windows Phone?
Regarding Dropbox, it is unfortunate that there is no official client available. I’m sure that if Dropbox develops one, it would great, useful and without some of the limitations third-party apps have. If you want to convince Dropbox to consider developing a Windows Phone client, don’t hesitate to login with your Dropbox account and vote in their "Ideas Votebox". You can find a "petition" signed by thousands of Windows Phone users, here: Dropbox for Windows Phone 7.