Well, we had this due for a while! Finally, Syncplicity, the last of the three main synchronization platforms (the others two being Dropbox and Sugarsync) is stepping up to the game and has started rolling out a beta version of their Android app. Earlier this year they released an iPhone and iPad version which complemented their Mac OS client but this time they’re taking things a bit further with their Android pre-release. Syncplicity’s adoption hasn’t been up to par with their powerful features, which are much more flexible when compared to Dropbox‘s and much less bloated when compared with Sugarsync.

I’ve covered Syncplicity here before and even though that review is long due for an update, this time I’ll focus on the new kid in town: Syncplicity’s Beta Android App. Does Syncplicity arrive too late to the mobile app wars? Keep on reading to find out!

Syncplicity's Welcome wcreen

To those of you who might be new to Syncplicity, let me tell you that what I really like about their approach to synchronization is that you can actually choose any given folder from your file system and either sync it or share it. No dirty messing with symlinks in order to sync folders outside your Dropbox and no added bloat-folders that Sugarsync forces you to download such as the infamous “Magic Briefcase”. It is all about real flexibility without any obtrustive features. However, the added configurability comes in hand with an interface that might not be as dead simple as Dropbox’s features and it’s lack of a true multi-platform support has been having users migrating to other more widely adopted sync alternatives. With this out in the open, let’s get started with our review :)

Syncplicity's Android App home screen

The first thing that welcomes you when you once you’ve logged in to your account is a nice and easy home screen where the main components of the apps sit: the News Feed, the Files & Folders section, an Uploads helper and of course, the Settings.

Stream view

Stream view filter

I really liked their approach on updates since you can quickly step into the News Feed where you will see all recently changed files, which comes in handy when you just updated some file on your computer and you need to access it quickly on the go. You can even filter this news feed by folder or participants if you have any shared folders.

Files & Folders Browser

The next section is the usual Files & Folders browser, which is pretty standard form. What’s nice about this is that you can also filter and sort your files and even see deleted files right on the file browser.

Files & Folders Filter

Files & Folders Menu

The available actions for any given file are pretty complete since you can see previous versions of a file, download and/or open it, delete it and even share it through Android’s native sharing features or through a public link (yes, with Syncplicity you can share any file regardless if it’s on your “Public folder” or not –flexibility, I tell you!).

Upload Dialog

You can create a wide variety of documents

Moving over to the Upload/Create feature we have once again a pretty complete plethora of options with the ability to upload virtually any kind of content directly to your Syncplicity account. Seeing these many content types is handy but I also think that it might be overkill to offer so many different paths to do the same thing (upload content). Sure, uploading stuff is great, but I think no one really spends time uploading files one by one; instead, having real local sync or automatically uploading pictures as you take them are far more important features which would be great if Syncplicity supported them.

Opening with Syncplicity actually uploads the file wherever you tell it to

One really nice thing, though is that you can send almost any file to Syncplicity simply by opening it from any other app — Yes, even from the Dropbox View File dialog you can send a file directly to your cloud, which comes pretty handy at times.

Installing Syncplicity’s Beta Android App

Now, keep in mind that this is a pre-release app which is sure to have some bugs or stability issues. However, during the time I test-drove it I was really impressed with its stability and general responsiveness and I had no problems at all (from the screenshots you can gather I don’t have a very powerful Android device :$).
Since this is pre-release version it is not yet available on the official Android Market so you will need to enable Unknown sources on your application settings page before attempting to install this app. Once you’re done with that you can grab the apk here or scan the following QR code and save it directly to your device..

 

Don’t have a Syncplicity account? You can create one here. Once again, remember this is a pre-release app and even though it seems to be working perfectly fine, be prepared to find a couple of unexpected results. You can file any bug reports, suggestions or even feature requests on this feedback form.

 

So, what’s my final verdict, you ask? I think this pre-release is at the same level of the competition in terms of usefulness and although I find it lacking when compared to all the features that Sugarsync packs into its mobile apps, it will be more than enough to be your daily race horse and will prove useful as your standard mobile briefcase; however, Syncplicity will need to keep its pace in order to really stand out on the mobile scene, which is pretty hard considering there’s new stuff being released every week that covers all gaps left by the absence of a true universal sync solution.

 

Either way, Syncplicity is still one of the best solutions for broader audiences that are looking for an unobtrusive and flexible platform with lots of free space. Let’s just hope they keep up with the releases sprees and start supporting the Linux platform as well :)