When comparing Polo 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 Polo is ranked 11th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Purposeful layout choices
Polo wants people to get the file manager they want, but it's not awash with granular layout options that take ages to understand. First select whether you want one, two, or four panes, and then select a format for each pane of either List, Icon, Tiled, or Media. That's it, you're done.
Pro Installs smoothly on Debian, Redhat and Arch based distributions
File managers in Linux have a nasty propensity for being closely tied to the distribution family from which they arose. Using Polo allows you to have an identical file management experience when shifting between machines from different branches of the Linux tree.
Pro Device management
Quickly mount and unmount devices from the sidebar, including support for locking and unlocking LUKS encrypted devices.
Pro Youtube-dl integration
Just paste a YouTube URL into a folder and Polo will download the best quality format of it and save it in that folder.
Pro Archive browsing and creation
Browse archive files as those they were just another folder, dragging and dropping files in and out of them at will while the backend uses the appropriate tools to manage the archive file itself. Archive creation includes a rich assortment of controls over compression formats and structure.
Pro Image file actions
Rotate, resize, optimize, convert formats, save for the web and many other handy features all right in the context menu.
Pro ISO file tools
Mount ISO files to loop devices with just two clicks, or spin them up as a QEMU KVM instance, and for portability there's also an option to write them to USB flash drives using a GUI dialog.
Pro Advanced PDF file controls
Perform Merge and Split operations on PDF files without needing another file handler all from the context menu. Rotate and Password Protection settings are also expressed there.
Pro Cloud storage support
Includes its own rclone macros for adding cloud storage access to the list of browsable locations that just works, a welcome relief in the sea of hacks which provide those features elsewhere in Linux. Currently supported: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Cloud Drive / Amazon S3, Openstack Swift (Rackspace Cloud Files, Memset Memstore, OVH), Hubic, Backblaze B2, Yandex Disk
Supports up to four panes, plus a tree-style side panel and tabs.
Pro Launchpad PPA available
Debian-based distributions can leverage the apt package management system to keep Polo updated by adding the approved PPA to their apt sources, simplifying installation as well.
Pro Permissions management
Features a file properties side panel to easily assess and modify permissions.
Pro Terminal emulation
Built-in terminal pop-up.
Pro Extremely lightweight (55 kb)
Pro Rich set of plugins
Pro Has a great wiki
Pro Unique navigate-as-you-type mode
Pro Minimal configuration with sane defaults
Default options and navigation is simple to grasp.
Pro Awesome new features being added in every release
Save and resume sessions.
Pro Integrates with the desktop environment and opens files in the default applications
Pro Supports cd-on-quit
Allows for quick switching between nnn and the terminal.
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 No drag and drop
You can't drag from one view to another.
Con Freemium model
Many of the best features mentioned as pros are only available after a one-time donation of USD$10 or more. Until then you just have a fast, good-looking and otherwise forgettable file manager.
Con Load loop
Slow opening with annoying 'load loop' dialog.
Con Lengthy beta cycle
Polo has been in the beta stage of development for longer than hoped for, and while mostly stable, isn't yet ready to be promoted as a rock-solid replacement for file managers such as Dolphin and Nautilus.