Review: ZDBox for Android

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Previously, I had a lot of different tools to do what ZDBox does all at once; I’d use 3G Watchdog to keep an eye on bandwidth, Battery Indicator for battery percentage in my notifications bar, Advanced Task Killer if the situation arose, etc etc. While these apps are all great, it’s sometimes good to consolidate, especially if the quality of the replacing app is high enough that it doesn’t bring any problems when it comes to functionality.  

ZDBox is a toolbox that combines many different apps’ purposes into one easy-to use package. Within, one can find a battery meter, task killer, app manager (with batch move-to-SD and uninstall capabilities), 3G traffic monitor, Do Not Disturb timer (for silencing/airplane-moding your phone at certain times) and an App Lock. This last one was a bit interesting, as it sets up a barrier to access an app with a PIN number, but on a per-case basis. Want someone to be able to pick up your phone to play Angry Birds, but not browse your texts? App Lock is the thing to ensure your privacy.

These apps actually work quite well, and I got the feeling that some real effort was put into making sure that they all meshed together into one product. The interface is slick and easy-to-use while not being overly cutesy or complicated. This wins it some major points. However, it’s the ability to make all this information available quickly that really makes this app stand out.

Upon installation, ZDBox adds a notification bar icon while gives you a summary of most of its information when you drag your tray down. This is great, and can be customized to a certain extent: disabling services in the settings menu bumps up the next-running service to the top icon. However, there doesn’t seem to be a way to remove the icon at all; this can be a bit of a deal-breaker for those of us who like to keep their notification trays clean. [Update: you can turn off the notification icon via settings; I’m not sure how I missed this. Thanks, commenters!] I mean, it bugs me enough that I have to plug my phone into my computer in order to take screenshots with my Atrix; those “Connected with USB” icons stick out like a sore thumb.

ZDBox gets a big thumbs up from me because it consolidates a lot of other apps without losing functionality and does it stylishly. Definitely worth the free download from the market.

Matt Demers is Droid Life’s app guy, and so happy that he finally has a phone with a bit of oomph to it. Playing games without fearing my phone will explode is a good upgrade. Follow him on Twitter, his personal site or e-mail him.


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