Carbonite earns a number of recommendations and awards from experts, who say it's easy to use and a great choice for simple online backup. Carbonite offers unlimited storage starting at about $60 per year, and it installs a software program on your computer that automatically backs up new or changed files, though large files (bigger than 4 GB) need to be uploaded manually.
One of the simplest to use. Reviewers say Carbonite is one of the simplest online backup services to use. After a quick installation, you can choose specific files to back up or the Carbonite client will begin the online backup process based on its default settings (Microsoft Office documents, music files, photos and the like). In addition, its file marking system earns praise for its simplicity in checking a file's status. Each file and folder on a computer receives a small green dot in the corner if it's backed up or a yellow dot if backup is pending. Carbonite offers U.S.-based customer support by phone, email and live chat, as well as online documentation.
Three months of previous files. Carbonite is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. Stored files can also be viewed via mobile apps available for Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices. Carbonite installs a software program on your computer that automatically backs up new or changed files, though large files (bigger than 4 GB) need to be uploaded manually. The program works when your computer is idle, so there is less drag on system performance. Reviewers say the backup process generally doesn't adversely affect your computer's performance, although several experts note that the initial backup can be very slow if you have a lot of data.
With Versioning, Carbonite can save up to three months of previous versions of your files: up to one version a day for the past seven days, up to one version a week for the previous three weeks, and one version a month for the two months before that. This feature is available to Windows users only.
Some plans only for Windows users. The Carbonite Home plan is available for both Windows and Mac computers at a cost of $60 per year per computer, with an unlimited amount of storage space. Windows users can upgrade to Home Plus (Est. $100 per year per computer) to access the ability to back up to an external hard drive and for mirror image backup, which includes all system and program files. Taking this one step further, Home Premier (Est. $150 per year per computer) offers auto video backup and a courier recovery service for U.S. users, which sends your files back in the regular mail if your computer crashes. Home Premier also eliminates the need to manually upload large files. The Home Premier plan is available only for users in the United States.
Brian Nadel's review of Carbonite as part of this multi-service comparative roundup is generally positive, but Carbonite's inability to back up operating system files to its online servers is a major black mark in his eyes. He likes virtually everything else about the service, however, including its low price.
Review: 5 Online Backup Services Keep Your Data Safe, Brian Nadel, Feb. 6, 2012
MacFormat magazine, which is available online at Britain's TechRadar.com, evaluates six online backup services, including Carbonite. Carbonite gets a generally positive review, although it scores lower on several criteria than some of its main competitors.
Review: 6 of the Best Online Backup Services for Mac , Christopher Brennan, Feb. 18, 2011
PCMag.com's Michael Muchmore praises Carbonite's simple interface and cheap, unlimited storage. After you've uploaded 35 GB of data, though, the uploads really slow down. In addition, its lack of file sharing, single PC limitations and hiccups with restoring files nets it an overall rating of 3 stars out of 5.
Review: Carbonite 5.0, Michael Muchmore, March 29, 2012
NextAdvisor.com is one of the few sources to review Carbonite's new Home Plus and Home Premier plans, but they fail to evaluate the plans' value for the price. The relative lack of bells and whistles is noted, but the editors say, "For pure online backup, Carbonite is a great bargain."
Review: Carbonite Review: Online Cloud Backup, Editors of NextAdvisor.com, Not dated
In this review of Carbonite 5.0, Ted Needleman tests its performance and ease of use, concluding that the service can play a major role in your backup plan. He points out that you can't turn off the computer being backed up or let it go into sleep mode. He does complain that there is "virtually no readable progress indicator" to tell you how the backup is doing.
Review: Carbonite Review: Cloud Backup, Ted Needleman, Aug. 14, 2012
6. PC Pro
Carbonite receives a Recommended award from PC Pro. While Stuart Andrews says Carbonite lacks some features found in other online backup services, he finds it the easiest to use. He would like to see more robust file versioning.
Review: Carbonite Online Backup Review, Stuart Andrews, Aug. 17, 2010
Carbonite comes in at No. 9 on this 2013 list of the top 18 online backup services. Providers are all rated on backup features, remote access, security, ease of use and tech support, so it is easy to compare them. However, there's no way to be certain if this review is based on testing or on features, or if it is current despite its 2013 date.
Review: 2013 Best Online Data Backup Comparisons and Reviews, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, Not dated
8. Expert Reviews
Carbonite earns 4 stars out of 5 from Expert Reviews. The conclusion is that Carbonite is a good unlimited space, single-computer backup service that is easy to use. However, it doesn't offer as many features, such as file sharing, as its competitors.
Review: Carbonite Home (2012) Review, Kat Orphanides, June 10, 2012
Carbonite is one of the online backup services briefly mentioned in this look at the various methods for backing up valuable computer information. The prices listed here are outdated.
Review: Computer Backup Systems, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
10. Which? magazine
Carbonite scores highly in Which? magazine's performance and ease-of-use tests. In this fairly brief review, Carbonite's simplicity is highlighted as is its full integration with Windows. The colored dot marking system easily identifies which files have been backed up (green dot) and which are pending backup (yellow dot).
Review: Carbonite Online Backup Review, Editors of Which? magazine, Not dated