When comparing Solid Explorer vs F-Droid, the Slant community recommends F-Droid for most people. In the question“What are the most useful Android phone apps?” F-Droid is ranked 2nd while Solid Explorer is ranked 23rd.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Easy to use
With the amount of functions as well as the two pane browsing, Solid Explorer is very easy to use.
Pro Two panel browsing
Solid Explorer allows for two separate panels to be browsed simultaneously, allowing for easy copy past functions as well as drag and drop.
Pro Beautiful material design
Pro Connects to cloud services
Add Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, and more, all natively through extensions.
Pro No native document/picture viewers or video/music players
Doesn't add another way to open images/audio files but uses app you already have to open those. This avoid the default app selection popup to show yet once again.
Pro Useful tools: hiding unwanted folders, FTP Server (plugin), bookmarks, Chromecast support, media browser
Pro Ability to read and extract ZIP, 7ZIP, RAR and TAR archives, even encrypted
Pro Rich customization options: icons sets, colour schemes, themes
Pro A perfect implementation of Material Design
Pro FTP, SFTP, WebDav, SMB/CIFS clients
Pro Cloud file manager: Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, Sugarsync, Copy, Mediafire, Owncloud, Yandex
Pro Indexed search finds your files in a couple of seconds
Pro Ability to create password protected ZIP and 7ZIP archives
Pro Root access makes Solid Explorer a fully functional root explorer
Pro Detailed file information with storage usage statistics
Pro Batch rename: change names of multiple files at once using regular expressions and variables
Pro Extensibility: more features in separate plugins available in Google Play
Pro Protect individual files &/or folders with a password
If your device has a fingerprint sensor you can use it to open encrypted files without a need to provide the password. The same applies for cloud storages, which can now be accessed with the fingerprint as well.
Pro All titles are free and open source
All apps and games on F-Droid are open source (FOSS), making for a complete store resource for users who want to use only open source software on their device.
Pro F-Droid compiles all packages
F-Droid compiles all the packages themselves ensuring a high level of security. Other stores just allow the developer to upload the app already compiled, meaning anything malicious could be in the app.
Pro File sizes are shown
For those running out of room, the size of the APK is always shown.
Pro All apps have no ads nor tracking
This alone can be a great reason to use the apps available on F-Droid, but there is also the fact that this can increase battery life due to tracking and ads never requiring a data connection, since they are not present.
Pro Multiple repository sources
You have more than one source of apps and updates and local repository too
Pro Previous versions of apps remain available after updates
If you don't like to an app after an update, you can download the previous version again. This is not possible on GooglePlay.
Con Costs money
There is a 14 day free trial, but for those that would like to use the app longer, it will cost money to unlock.
Con Slow SMB connections
Connecting to a Samba server can take 30 seconds or longer.
Con No native document/picture viewers or video/music players
There are no native viewers or players built into Solid Explorer, meaning users will have to have their own apps installed that can view an play particular files.
Con Small selection
F-Droid has a small selection of apps when compared to other major Android markets. This is due to every app being open source and given away for free, something not many people are willing to do with their time and creations.
Con No ratings/comments/number of downloads
All apps are presented equally. It is difficult to judge an app's quality/popularity before trying it. On the upside, descriptions are fair (written by the F-Droid maintainers, not by the app authors).
Con Not all apps have screenshots
It can be difficult to tell what an app is like without installing it.
Con It doesn't have all the open source apps
There are many open source apps that aren't available on F-Droid due to their authors not making it available on that particular app store. One example is Omni Noted, which is on the Play Store but not F-Droid.
Con Updates are not automatic for non root users
You have to click the updates one-by-one in order to make them happen. If user has rooted their device automatic updates are possible, the app needs to be converted to a system app.
Con Descriptions are only available in English
Though the store app is multilingual, the app descriptions are only in English, meaning you must know English to find an app, even if the app is supposed to be multilingual.
Con A lot of apps lack polish
Since every app on F-Droid is FOSS and released for free, many of them aren't as polished compared to other markets and their paid app selections.