Sunday, July 5, 2009

SplashData File Magic 2.0 Review

Have you ever felt constrained by the types of data you can sync to your iPhone or iPod touch? Apple’s iPhone 3.0 software can read Microsoft Office files and Adobe Acrobat documents that have been sent as email attachments, but there is no easy way to get commonly used documents on to your device. Wouldn’t it be cool if all it took to sync documents with your iPhone was to simply drag and drop the files into a window? If that seems like something you want, then you need SplashData’s File Magic!



File Magic is a two-piece solution. File Magic, the desktop application, is a drag-and-drop file transfer tool. The desktop application looks for the File Magic application on your iPhone and then establishes a Wi-Fi link between the two. With File Magic it easy to quickly load documents on your iPhone so you don’t have to waste anymore time emailing documents to yourself. In addition to Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat files that I have already mentioned, File Magic also supports: plain text files (.txt), web pages (.htm, .html), non-DRM music files (.mp3, .aac, .wav), images (.jpg, .gif, .png, .tif) and MPEG-4 videos (.m4v).



File Magic is easy to learn. After playing with the software for a few minutes I felt that I had a handle on all of the features. To help you get up and running quickly, SplashData has included a Quick Start Guide that is accessible right from the mobile application. If you want to see what File Magic is capable of before you purchase the software, or if you are the inquisitive type and want some additional information, SplashData also has a user’s guide available on their website. For most people, the on device guide will be all they will need to read.

There are two ways to get documents into your iPhone. The first is to synchronize File Magic running on your iPhone with your computer. The computer and the iPhone or iPod touch must both be on the same Wi-Fi network for this to work. You can also send or receive files directly into or out of your device when the person you want to share your document with is on the same Wi-Fi network and has a copy of File Magic installed. Since SplashData has their own application for managing the files you load on your device, you can send a document from the SplashData data store to anyone else by attaching the document to an email message and sending it to any valid email address.

File Magic makes the document transfer process so easy, that you have to wonder why Apple didn’t include this feature in their software from the get go.

There are two things that I did find annoying about the installation and use of File Magic. The ah-hoc networking between the iPhone and desktop application uses a networking service called Bonjour. If you are using a Mac, Bonjour is all ready installed on your computer. PC users, on the other hand, will have to install it. The thing that I didn’t like was that the File Magic installer couldn’t figure out if Bonjour was already installed on my Windows Vista PC. (SplashData does tell you how to manually check to see if Bonjour is already installed.) The other thing that I found annoying was in the photo browser; you can’t use the iPhone OS gestures to flick to the next or previous photos. To move forward and backward in the deck of photos that have been loaded into File Magic you must use the left and right arrow navigation buttons at the top right of the screen. Both of these issues can be addressed as software updates and shouldn’t cause any serious problems in the long run.

All-in-all, I thought that File Magic is the must have application for those people who like to take their important documents with them. The software is easy to use and the document transfer between the desktop computer and an iPhone or iPod touch worked without any issues during my testing.

File Magic will work with any iPhone or iPod touch that has iPhone OS 2.1 or later installed. The desktop application works with Mac OS X 10.4.11 and later, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. You can purchase File Magic for iPhone and iPod touch for $4.99 from the Apple iTunes App Store. For more information, or to download the free desktop application, please visit the SplashData website.

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