When comparing Dolphin vs nnn, the Slant community recommends nnn for most people. In the question“What are the best Linux file managers?” nnn is ranked 1st while Dolphin is ranked 2nd.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Immenseley configurable
As with any KDE app, Dolphin, allows adding or modifying toolbar buttons and keyboard shortcuts.
Pro Can split views
Dolphin supports splitting the view in two navigational areas, this way you can navigate two different directories at the same time.
Pro Integrated terminal
Pressing F4 with any opened folder on a mounted path opens a console within dolphin.
Pro Also has a refresh option
Dolphin is without a doubt the best fully functional and easy to use and multitask with.
Dolphin also has a refresh button which no other File manager has. It's great for tracking a large files transfer; that's what file managers are for - good common sense.
Pro Auto mounts flash drives
Dolphin automatically identifies and mounts external flash drives.
Pro Easy to extend with plugins
Dolphin follows KDE's philosophy of being extendable and configurable. It can easily be configured and customized through plugins.
Pro Fast at opening graphics folders
Pictures with or without previews is optional and selectable at the touch of a button.
Pro Fully supports HiDPI
Supports HiDPI displays.
Pro Does not use third party libraries
Unlike all those GTK-based file managers it does not have to rely on external written software for its functionality because KF5 is KDE SOftware and developed alongside.
Pro Keeps its state
It starts with last opened folders.
Pro Automatically centers items
In icons view mode, the space between files gets stretched so that there is never and annoying empty space at the right side of the window.
Pro Rich set of plugins
Pro Extremely lightweight (55 kb)
Pro Has a great wiki
Pro Unique navigate-as-you-type mode
Pro Awesome new features being added in every release
Pro Minimal configuration with sane defaults
Default options and navigation is simple to grasp.
Save and resume sessions.
Pro Supports cd-on-quit
Allows for quick switching between nnn and the terminal.
Pro Integrates with the desktop environment and opens files in the default applications
Pro Reasonably well-documented
However, it requires some prior knowledge of inner workings of Linux and there are no tutorials (yet). NNN author is making up for this by actively responding to GitHub issues.
The file manager has recently added support for preview hovered files using various methods.
Pro Customizable icons and colors
Con May be a little slow on startup
Dolphin can be a little slow on startup (depending on distro, hardware etc...). Startup time can vary from a couple of seconds to up to a minute.
Con Can hang on remote file systems
It doesn't cope well with remote file system nicely like sshfs or any samba, like when network is not responding/very slow. It just hangs.
Con "Type" column too verbose
Despite having a large enough monitor, if you keep the size of the browser window small, the "Type" column (in "Details" view mode) insists on including the complete multipart MIME string, making the column so wide that trying to limit its width makes the column useless. Sorting by "Type" renders the list into an incomprehensible mess.
Con Poor optimization on later versions
Con Too simple
Feels weird on KDE because it has less customizing options Konqueror and any other KDE app have.
Con Can't perform ROOT actions
Developers set a constraint in Dolphin that deny Dolphin to run with root permissions. Hence, if you want to perform an action that require root permissions, such as rename a file in /etc/ folder, you are forced to use terminal or switch to another file manager.