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    Downloads for iOS is a decent file manager with limitations


    Downloads - File Downloader & Manager is, as the name suggests, a universal app for iPhone and iPad that can download various types of files like documents, images, ZIP and RAR files. The app can then display certain (but not all) files you've downloaded using its built-in viewer. It's free in the App Store, but a paid in-app purchase for US$0.99 will unlock unlimited downloads.

    As far as first impressions go, the design of Downloads doesn't make a very good one. It is a very strange mixture of iOS 7's stock UI, an iOS 6-inspired UI and a custom one. I get the jarring feeling of using multiple apps within one, but no, this is actually the way the designers chose to design it.

    The app has a built-in web browser so if you download files quite often, you might spend more time in Downloads than in Safari. If you come across a file the app can download, such as a PDF, just tap it once to bring up your menu of options.

    The first option is aptly a "Download" button, followed by the ability to copy the link, send it via email or SMS or open it in Safari. If you download the file, it will go into the Downloads tab just while it's downloading then migrate once more to the Files tab when complete. I chose a random 0.18 MB PDF through Google search and the download time was almost instantaneous. It's not a large file size for the app to justifiably take too long, but the speed of the app is still very decent.

    Downloads - File Downloader & Manager screenshots

    The document viewer supports .pdf, .xls, .csv, .doc, .txt, .xml, .rtf, .ppt, .gif, .png, .jpeg, .jpg and .bmp file formats -- mostly all of the basics. The viewer presented thumbnails for each page of the PDF I opened at the bottom, plus a grid view option at the top and other buttons to print, email or bookmark. The viewer switches over to the iOS 6 UI, but offers all the essentials. Also worth noting is that aside from the document viewer and ZIP/RAR extraction, you have to open any other file in a third-party app that supports it.

    I then searched for something a bit more intensive to throw at the app. When I tried to download my second file, Downloads greeted me with a very unwelcome message stating that I had used up all my downloads and to buy the full version for $0.99 to download anything else.

    This is disappointing. It's not that $0.99 is expensive, because it's not. It's the principle of calling an app free when it's really just more of single free chip given out at a wholesale store in a weak attempt to convince you to buy the entire bag of chips. The app with the full benefits of being able to download as many files as you want is actually around a buck.

    Downloads - File Downloader & Manager screenshots

    Downloads - File Downloader & Manager seems mostly like a decent app for downloading and opening various documents, images and some other files. The user interface is strange but not unintuitive, and both the download speed and document viewer are perfectly adequate. Be prepared to pay $0.99 if you want to use Downloads more than once though. Also, power users who need a more advanced file manager may still want to consider looking elsewhere.

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