When it comes down to file explorers on Android, there is no shortage of choice and we have covered several here on Android.Appstorm, from the highly powerful File Expert, to the purpose-specific WiFi File Explorer, passing by our top 10 file managers.
However, one slightly unknown option, AntTek Explorer — which works well both on phones and on tablets — has recently become my favorite. Read on to find out why…
First, AntTek Works on Phones and Tablets
One big advantage in favor of AntTek Explorer is that it works well on phones, but it also offers the same functions and versatility in a tablet-optimized version. On phones, AntTek transforms into a dual-column browser in landscape, whereas on tablets, there’s a three-column view that makes browsing, moving files, and hopping around between directories a breeze.
AntTek 3-column tablet view with integrated music player
It’s a Powerful File Manager to Begin With
The default view of AntTek Explorer is quite similar to many other file managers out there: a top bar with a few options, a path bar, and a main window with the contents of the folder you’re browsing.
One significant layout feature of AntTek is the lack of any action buttons (Copy, Paste, Cut, Bookmark). This is because the top bar is contextual: whenever you click and hold on an item or several, it transforms into an action bar with the options to move, copy, zip, delete, or bookmark. Also, when you work in a dual-pane layout or on a tablet, drag-and-drop is activated, making it super easy to move files around.
AntTek’s default view (left) and the smart bar transformation (right)
The other important feature is the somewhat hidden functionality. The AntTek icon expands to let you access the app’s menu, with Home, Bookmarks, Search, Transfers, Preference, Utility, Device Information, Buy ProKey and Exit. The top bar also lets you activate the multiple select mode, change the viewing options, and activate folder-specific actions such as searching, adding a new file or folder, bookmarking, renaming, adding a shortcut to your Android home screen and more.
The path bar is clickable, meaning you can jump one folder or several folders up with one touch. The drop down lets you easily filter the contents of your folder. And another hidden functionality is in the first Overview button that jumps around to other file locations, amongst which are the SD Card, device memory, network and cloud (which we will talk about later).
AntTek icon menu (left) and the Overview quick-jump menu (right)
AntTek’s features don’t just stop at file browsing, there are also viewers for many different file types, such as text, pictures, music, Zip/Rar, APK, and source codes for several programming languages.
But AntTek Also Supports Plugins
If AntTek’s built-in functionality isn’t enough for you, you can add plugins to satisfy all your geeky needs. There are file viewer plugins for TIFF and PDF, network plugins such as an SMB, FTP, WebDAV and WiFi File sharer clients, and cloud plugins for Dropbox, Skydrive and Google Drive. Eventually, these all transform AntTek from a mere file manager to a powerful all-in-one application for all your networks and cloud services.
AntTek plugins (left) with the Wifi File Sharer in action (right)
AntTek Is Also Very Customizable
One selling point of AntTek for me is the option to change the default theme. I prefer white backgrounds, and AntTek lets me choose a white background or pick a different theme altogether. The view can also be optimized, with items shown in a list or a grid or as thumbnails; hidden files and folders can be kept as such or shown; and you can change the sorting method.
AntTek view settings (left) and theme chooser (right)
In landscape mode and on tablets, you can pick the different columns: Parent Explorer (with a swipable directory nesting), main explorer, Overview (to navigate to the cloud or network), Search, Bookmarks and Temporary Box.
AntTek dual-column landscape view with the Parent Explorer and the Main Explorer
AntTek’s Preferences also allow you to tailor the experience to your needs, with options to deactivate the internal viewers, pick the Back key’s function, hide some toolbars, and enable animations.
The Problem With AntTek
AntTek made me realize that there could be too many options in an app. Although the main view is clean and beautiful, the number of things you can do in AntTek and the way some of them are presented make it quite overloaded and redundant. A better organization of the different settings, browsers, views, and menus would go a long way into making AntTek more user-friendly, especially for average users.
AntTek is a hidden gem in the deep and vast world of Android file managers. It offers a clean layout, optimized for landscape and tablets, a powerful bundle of features and even more functionality with the added plugins, and a lot of choice in terms of viewing and customization. It easily displaced File Expert as my main browser, mainly because I can tailor everything about it to my specific needs.
I wholeheartedly recommend you to try it, and enjoy the intuitive use of drag-and-drop and smart bars. It takes a bit of time to master how everything else works, so don’t be put off by the lack of organization in the rest of the options.