Microsoft beefed up its OneDrive (7 GB free; $25 per year for 50 GB) file-synchronization service when Google Drive (15 GB free; $2 per month for 100 GB; $10 per month for 1 TB) launched, and critics say the improvements -- which include PC and Mac clients, and an increased maximum file upload size of 2 GB -- make it a very compelling choice for people looking to share data among several computers, Windows Phones and/or iOS devices.
Built into Windows 8.1. Microsoft revamped its SkyDrive cloud storage service and renamed it OneDrive. Reviewers love OneDrive's clean design, which mimics the seamless interface in Dropbox (2 GB free; $10 per month for 100 GB) -- a strong competitor when it comes to file-syncing services. Dragging and dropping a file into the OneDrive folder on your PC or Mac makes it available almost immediately through the web interface or on other OneDrive-enabled devices, though file sizes are limited to 2 GB. OneDrive saves your last 25 revisions for every file stored. OneDrive is built into Windows 8.1 devices, but offers syncing and access for PCs, Macs, Android, iOS and Windows Phone. It doesn't work on Windows XP or Linux systems, however. It's worth noting that Microsoft no longer provides support for XP.
Access documents on other PCs. OneDrive has some impressive features, like its tight integration with Office, easy video sharing, stellar photo slideshows and editing features. Microsoft Office and OneNote files can be edited in-browser even if they haven't been sent to your cloud (as long as you're on an authorized PC). Reviewers say file support for editing documents in the browser is largely restricted to Microsoft formats (such as .doc and .xls) but the service even works on iOS. Microsoft transfers data using a 128-bit SSL encrypted connection but doesn't encrypt your data in any other way, either on your PC or on its servers. There isn't any archiving protection whatsoever, either, and Microsoft reserves the right to scan your files.
Generous storage. Critics say OneDrive provides generous free storage. New users receive 7 GB of storage free, and referral incentives will get you up to 12 GB. Additional storage will cost you, but Microsoft offers one of the better tiered programs: 50 GB (Est. $25 per year), 100 GB (Est. $50 per year) and 200 GB (Est. $100 per year). Plans top out at 200 GB, however. Bargain hunters might instead consider Google Drive (15 GB free; $2 per month for 100 GB; $10 per month for 1 TB), the Best Cheap Cloud Storage pick.
Microsoft OneDrive's clean interface, file-fetching and photo features, and low price point help earn it an Editors' Choice award and a 4.5 out of 5 score from PCMag.com. The lack of audio and search functionality in iOS and Android apps is a drawback.
Review: Microsoft OneDrive, Michael Muchmore, Feb. 20, 2014
2. Macworld (U.K.)
Microsoft OneDrive gets 3 out of 5 stars in this comparative review against industry leaders Dropbox and Google Drive. While Lou Hattersley considers OneDrive a good option, the other two are recommended over Microsoft OneDrive because of OneDrive's higher price, limited support for iOS and lack of local networks.
Review: Microsoft OneDrive vs. Google Drive and Dropbox: Best File Sync Service for Mac?, Lou Hattersley, March 17, 2014
3. Time magazine
Microsoft OneDrive is recommended for Windows 8.1 users, Office-based networked PCs, Office Web Apps users and consumers who don't need immense amounts of cloud storage. The Time.com review doesn't test OneDrive but highlights its newest features like automatic photo and video backups via Android devices.
Review: Microsoft's OneDrive Caters to the Windows and Office Crowd, Jared Newman, Feb. 19, 2014
CNET gives Microsoft OneDrive for Windows Phone a 5 out of 5 or "spectacular" rating, calling it a "must-have" for users of Windows Phone version 7.5 and up because of its excellent integration with Office and clean interface. On the downside, there's no password protection.
Review: Microsoft OneDrive (Windows Phone) Review, Jaymar Cabebe, Feb. 19, 2014
CNET's Sarah Mitroff names OneDrive the best for Windows/PC in this comparative review of leading cloud storage service providers. OneDrive's integration of Microsoft Office applications, like Word, and Windows devices makes it convenient for Microsoft users, Mitroff maintains.
Review: OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box: Which Cloud Storage Service Is Right for You?, Sarah Mitroff, March 13, 2014
Microsoft OneDrive's Office online integration is its "killer feature," reviewer Ed Bott declares, enabling you to edit and share Office documents in the browser.
Review: Eight Business-class Alternatives to Dropbox, Ed Bott, April 17, 2014
SkyDrive (now OneDrive) is named the best for Windows users; the reviewer calls SkyDrive the "cloud storage solution of choice" because of its functionality and ease of use with Windows 8.
Review: The Top 10 Personal Cloud-storage Services, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Feb. 25, 2013