Developer: Byte Squared
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 3.0.1

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

IMG_0246Files² is a file viewer that allows you to import files from MobileMe iDisk, Google Docs, or from your computer (by using it as a WiFi thumb drive). Unfortunately, using Files was a bit of a bumpy ride for me, but despite the app’s rough edges I suppose it could be useful in a pinch.

One of this app’s best strengths is the wide array of file types it can take. It has support for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, image, PDF, and text files, including the Mac formats of .pages, .keynote, and .numbers. It can also play video files using the iPod’s built-in player, but sadly this means that it can only take .mp4′s and .mov’s.

You can move files onto your device from any combination of three sources: MobileMe iDisk, Google Docs, and your computer, using a WiFi network. (As is typical with these apps, files can’t be transfered via USB cable.) For the first two, you’ll need to hand over your login info; for the third, you have to set up your iPod/iPhone as a drive on your computer. Instructions for doing so can be found on the Files website, and it works for both PCs and Macs.

There are a few annoying things about grabbing documents from Google and iDisk, however. First, iPod Touch users will be disappointed to see that the app doesn’t download any files, so if you’re in a place without WiFi…well, that’s just too bad, isn’t it? Furthermore, documents are sorted alphabetically, and you can’t change it. I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in seeing long-forgotten files from three years ago, and it’s a pain to scroll through the giant list. If anything, most recently modified files should be shown

IMG_0247There are some other design quirks that hamper Files’ usefulness. For example, if you’re viewing a folder full of pictures, there’s no “next” button to tap; you’ll need to backtrack to the folder, select the next picture, and wait for it to load. This simple omission makes it hard to flip through an entire album, and similar quirks are present elsewhere. There’s also an additional scrollbar in addition to the Apple-standard one that’s meant to speed of scrolling, but instead often causes confusion.

Those ease-of-use issues aside, Files does do its job. If for some reason you really, really need to carry a bunch of files in your pocket, fine. This will do the job. It displays files with minimal lag and renders them well, and it fulfills all of its promised features. But personally, I believe that more elegant apps exist for this same purpose (think Air Sharing). For now? I’ll stick with the mobile version of Google Docs, which at least shows my newest files first, and the free app, Discover.

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