iDownloader Pro – Universal Downloader & Download Manager ($1.99) by Apps2be is a mobile Safari replacement with an emphasis on downloads for the iPhone and iPad. As such, the application provides a basic in-app browser, a file manager, and an easy way to save various file formats to your iDevice. It’s a solid offering, but sadly it’s one that’s severely hampered by Apple’s own limitations.
As a browser, iDownloader Pro is surprisingly fast. The application won’t be replacing Terra Browser, or even mobile Safari, just yet, but it still handled the websites we threw at it with speed and grace. The iDownloader Pro app comes with basic navigational controls (forward, backward, stop, reload, export, etc.) but doesn’t yet support complex multi-touch controls, as other apps like Dolphin Browser do. Thankfully, the app does come with full bookmarking capabilities.
However, the browser is more of a means to an end, as iDownloader Pro is intended to be a downloading powerhouse for iOS rather than a portal to the Internet. As such, the application makes it easy to download a myriad of file types, including TXT, DOC, PDF, PPT, XLS, RTF, MP3, and a few others.
Each of these, when downloaded, is saved to the downloads folder, as well as the app’s file manager. This file manager allows for the creation of subdivided folders, making it easy to organize and maintain a complex repository of content.
Files can also be renamed and moved at will. In this sense, iDownloader Pro is perhaps as close as you can get to a desktop style file manager on the iPad (without jailbreaking your device, that is).
Sadly, jailbreaking is the talk of the hour, as iDownloader Pro is severely limited by what can and cannot be accomplished on the iPad with Apple’s restrictions. Getting downloaded files to your computer is simple with iTunes file sharing, but moving content to other applications is still a pain.
This isn’t the application’s fault, but rather the iPhone’s, as Apple makes it difficult to load files freely without first syncing with iTunes. Similarly, there’s no support for archived material, like ZIP or RAR files. Adding this would greatly increase the value of the application, not to mention the business potential of its offerings.
However, with full support for various video, text, music, and image formats, iDownloader Pro is still a great download manager for the iPhone and iPad. The app is also only $1.99 in the App Store, making it a great bargain.
If you do loads of media downloading on the iPad, iDownloader Pro will greatly simplify your life, and at a low price, too. In this sense, as long as your expectations match with the app’s feature set, you’ll find a lot to like in iDownloader Pro. However, if you’re expecting a complex unzipper with unlimited downloading potential, you might best look elsewhere.