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Elements 1.0: Dropbox-powered text editing for iOS devices

With the Dropbox-powered Elements, text editing on the go is more accessible than ever. A basic but functional feature set keep Elements light, but still incredibly useful.

Second Gear

With the Dropbox-powered Elements, text editing on the go is more accessible than ever. A basic but functional feature set keeps Elements light, but still incredibly useful.

If you already have a Dropbox account, just sign in when Elements launches and you'll get a new folder on your account to store your Elements documents.

I ran in to some issues when setting up a new Dropbox account from my iPhone 4. The setup link brought me to Dropbox's downloads page for the Mac client and attempts to auto-download. This, of course, ended in an error due to being on Mobile Safari.

The easiest way to use Elements is to first create your Dropbox account and sync to your Mac. Then, launch Elements on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and plug in your information. Once it's up and running though, Elements becomes easy to use and handy to have in your arsenal.

In fact, I started writing this review using the text editor in Elements on my iPhone, synched it to my MacBook Pro, did some editing, and loaded it into CNET's CMS.

Once you have your document started, a simple set of formatting features is available, including being able to change the text size and color and the background color. You can even change the font.

Elements includes a surprising amount of fonts, including Marker Felt. Luckily, no Papyrus or Comic Sans. Screenshot by Joe Aimonetti

Complete your edits, make notes in the provided Scratchpad if needed, sync to your other iOS devices, or e-mail finished documents as attachments. You can also get word, line, and character counts on every file.

A basic set of tools for formatting your document keep Elements light, but useful. Screenshot by Joe Aimonetti

Elements for iOS 4 has a lot of potential to be a great (and useful) app, especially for writers, students, or anyone that needs quick, synchronized note-writing capability.

The $4.99 price tag will likely discourage initial sales as early reviews point out shortcomings such as only allowing a single Dropbox folder (specifically made for the Elements app) to be viewed, inability to delete files from your account, inability to edit file names, and the inability to create new folders and move files to them, but keep an eye on future feature updates for added value.

Final thoughts
Overall Elements provides a clean and efficient way to do basic text editing on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch while keeping it synced to your other devices wirelessly. Basing the app on Dropbox should make Elements popular with many Mac users that already use the syncing service. I would also expect to see more apps take advantage of excellent utilities like Dropbox to accomplish file syncing and other processes.