Pushbullet for Android review: The app you never knew you needed

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The Good Pushbullet transmits items from desktop PC to Android device, or Android to PC, quickly and reliably.

The Bad You can push links, notes, and more to friends, but there's no way to control who can or can't send items to you.

The Bottom Line Pushbullet is the easiest way to transfer files, links, notes, lists, and addresses between your desktop computer and your Android device.


8.7 Overall
  • Setup 10
  • Features 8
  • Interface 9
  • Performance 10

Editors' note, April 4, 2014: This review was updated to include features added in the latest version of the app.

Pushbullet is one of the fastest and easiest way to get links, notes, lists, files, and addresses both from your desktop computer to your mobile device and vice versa. All of this is done from the Pushbullet Android app, the service's Web site, or one of the browser extensions for Chrome or Firefox.

Thanks to a recent update in March 2014, you can now also view new notifications from your phone on your desktop. After having used it for several months, I can confidently say it has changed the way I interact with my phone for the better. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Getting started

To get started with Pushbullet, simply install the app and pick the Google account that you prefer to use. Next, go to Pushbullet.com on your desktop and use the same Google account to log in there.

It's important to note that you can set up Pushbullet on as many Android devices as you need, and from your desktop, you'll be able to easily choose to which device you want to push data.

Push it

Once you're all set up with Pushbullet via the app and site, you can start pushing text notes, addresses, lists, links, and files (up to 25MB) immediately. From the Pushbullet Web site, just pick which device you want to push to and choose what you want to send. You can drag and drop files from your computer to push them, and there are simple text fields where you can add notes, lists, and addresses. For now, Pushbullet can send notes, links, checklists, addresses, photos, and file attachments.

You can send links, notes, images, and other files from your phone to your computer Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

You can also use the Android app to push files, notes, and other items to other Android devices or your computer. Just tap the tiny bullet icon at the top-right of the app and select what kind of item you want to push and where. Just like on the Web site, you can type in (or copy and paste) notes, lists, and links. For files and photos, the app will ask you to grab a file from an app, such as the photo gallery or your file manager, you want to grab the attachment.

When Pushbullet pushes an item to a mobile device, it generates a notification in the notification bar. If you tap a note or list notification, those items will open in the app, while pushed links open in your phone's default browser and addresses open in a map app. Finally, files that are pushed to your phone open up in the appropriate app for that particular file type. For instance, an image opens in the Gallery app, while PDFs might open in Adobe Reader, if you have it installed.

It's important to note that files are, once pushed from your desktop, automatically downloaded onto your mobile device. This makes Pushbullet a more convenient option for transferring files than sending an email attachment or using Dropbox. That's because neither of those options automatically saves the file. For now, file size is limited to 25MB, a step up from the earlier 10MB limit.

Share with friends

You can even push items to the Android devices of your friends (so long as the you have the email address they signed up with) and vice versa. You can add friends from either the Web site or app, but it's easier to do in the app. Just pick something you want to send, and in the field where you choose where to push your item, select "Add a friend." The app pulls in all of your contacts that are synced with your phone. If they do not already have Pushbullet, they'll get an email inviting them to join.

I have two issues with this process. First, the app doesn't show you a condensed list of friends who have a Pushbullet account, which would be helpful so that I can see who's already using the service.

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