For many years ES File Explorer was widely recognized as the king of file manager apps for Android. It had everything one could ever want in a file explorer, and it worked really well.
Recently though, developers have added some intrusive features and a half-baked material UI to the app which seems to have bloated up the app and ruined the experience for many users.
Fortunately, there are several other file manager apps for Android that are a good alternative to ES File Explorer. We’ll be sharing some worthy alternatives below in no particular order:
1. Astro File Explorer
In something of a mini-miracle, Astro File Explorer is a free app that – would you believe – is not supported by ads. Beyond that it’s an excellent package, giving you plenty of flexibility in terms of how you view your files (image thumbnails or full file details, for example).
Astro lets you copy, move and delete files as you’d expect, but one of its bonus features is the option to compress your files into the Zip and RAR formats. It makes it easy for you to backup individual files to external storage or the cloud, and has excellent abilities to sort your files by all kinds of variables.
Oh, and did we mention it’s free and without ads? Quite possibly, but it bears repeating…
2. Amaze File Manager
Amaze is a free and open source file manager app that is very well designed and easy to use. You get the option to display your files and folders in list or grid view, and there is support for basic operations such as copy and paste, compressing to and extracting from zip files, and moving or deleting.
Swiping from the left-hand side shows you a navigation drawer with options to view all your images, videos, audio files and apk files. There are other useful features such as SMB (Windows) file sharing, root explorer, an app manager which allows you to back up or uninstall apps and multiple tab support so you can quickly navigate through two directories.
The best thing about this app is that it’s completely free with no in-app purchases or annoying adverts, and you can contribute to its development on Github if you wish to.
3. File Commander
File Commander is another popular app for Android with over fifty million installations, and it is made by the same team that developed OfficeSuite for Android (MobiSystems). It features a “Secure Mode” that allows you to hide and encrypt your files from other users and a “Storage Analyzer” that shows you exactly what is taking up all the space on your SD Card.
You can also access your cloud files such as those on Google Drive, Dropbox, Onedrive, Box, Suger Sync and Amazon Cloud Drive. All you need to do is sign in, and you’ll see all your remote files. You can easily upload, copy, move, delete or download from there. File Commander also comes with FTP/SFTP support and allows connecting with nearby devices via Bluetooth or WIFI Direct.
The basic app is free, but it comes with ads which could be really annoying. If you want extra features and no ads you can upgrade to the premium version via an in-app purchase.
4. Solid File Explorer
Solid File Explorer is probably the closest app to ES File Explorer in terms of its feature set, but it’s not completely free, although you can install and use it for free for fourteen days before you will have to purchase the unlocker for $1.99 via an in-app purchase to continue using the app.
The app comes with all the basic functions of any file manager as well as more advanced functions such as cloud accounts (Google Drive, Onedrive, Dropbox and more), Dual pane interface, Chromecast support, a built-in image viewer and music player, Archive support, and the ability to hide files nd folders.
Solid File Explorer is also very customizable with three themes and several color schemes, so you can tweak those to your taste. In fact, you can purchase and apply custom icon packs for the app if you wish, too. There is also a built-in security feature which allows you to protect your network locations with a password.
5. MK Explorer
MK Explorer sports almost the same look as Amaze and Cabinet, but it has its own set of features that distinguishes it from the other two apps. For one, it has a built-in gallery function that allows you to view your images within the app instead of redirecting you to your photos app.
It also has this very detailed properties view when you try to view the properties of a file or folder. It shows you the full path, size, last modified date, and file permissions which you can change from the same screen. In addition, it supports several keyboard shortcuts for those who use a physical keyboard for their device.
What do you think of the recent additions to the ES File Explorer app? Have you already switched to a new file manager app? If so, what influenced your choice? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so please fire away in the comments section below.
This article was first published in Feb 2016, and was updated in December 2018.