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Dropbox

Free up to 2 GB
Reviewed
May 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Dropbox Online Backup

Best cloud service for file-syncing

Pros
  • Online backup and file syncing
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Linux
  • Apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Cons
  • No unlimited storage plans
  • Fewer features than other syncing services
Where to Buy
 

Bottom Line

Dropbox is a file synchronization service that has earned multiple Editors' Choice awards, and critics say it is one of the easiest backup services to use. Dropbox allows you to store files online and sync them across multiple computers, smartphones and tablets. While there's a lot of competition in this space (including Google and Microsoft), most reviewers prefer Dropbox over other syncing services.

Ease of Use

Easy to use. Reviewers say Dropbox couldn't be easier to use -- you simply drag and drop files into a special folder, and then you can access it anywhere you have an Internet connection. The service works fast as long as you have a reliable connection. Reviewers love the robust sharing options, which include the ability to send files to others right from the Dropbox client or create read-only public folders. Invite your friends, family and teammates to any folder or file in your Dropbox, and it'll be as if you saved that data straight to their computers. Dropbox's online help center includes FAQs and forums, as well as support by email.

Features

BlackBerry and Kindle Fire apps. Dropbox runs on an impressive number of platforms. It covers Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, and provides apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Kindle Fire devices. Any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically be available from all your computers, phones and the Dropbox website. For example, if you change a file on your work computer, it will be automatically updated on your computer at home. Even Linux computers are supported, a rarity among online backup services. You can access your files from any computer, as well as iPhone, BlackBerry and Android smartphones.

Dropbox keeps versions of your files for 30 days. So, if your computer crashes within that time frame, you can access the latest versions of your data. To have a permanent backup of your data, purchase Packrat (Est. $40 per year) , which saves an unlimited number of old versions of all your files as well as any deleted files.

Plans

2 GB -- and possibly more -- free. Dropbox provides 2 GB of online storage for free, and paid subscriptions are available for 100 GB (Est. $10 per month), 200 GB (Est. $20 per month) and 500 GB (Est. $50 per month). You can save money if you sign up for a year. Members can earn additional free storage by referring their friends. Google Drive offers more free storage (5 GB), similar subscription prices (Est. $2.50 per month for an additional 25 GB), and the ability to edit documents in-browser, but experts say Dropbox is still a solid syncing-style choice, especially if you own a Linux PC or BlackBerry smartphone (Google Drive supports neither).

Our Sources

1. Pocket-lint.com

British website Pocket-lint.com evaluates four of the top cloud storage services, including Dropbox. Although Dan Sung notes that it offers much less upfront free storage compared to its competitors, he says that Dropbox is still a strong option thanks to its unrivaled platform support, which includes Linux PCs and BlackBerry smartphones.

Review: Apple iCloud vs Google vs Amazon Cloud Drive vs Dropbox vs Microsoft SkyDrive, Dan Sung, April 26, 2012

2. Gizmodo.com

In a review that's little more than a table of features followed by a list of one-liner opinions, Adrian Covert says that Dropbox is inferior to Google Drive thanks to Google Drive's productivity and document editing features.

Review: Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox and More Compared: What's the Best Cloud Option?, Adrian Covert, April 24, 2012

3. CNET

The editors of CNET praise Dropbox's file synchronization ability along with its "seamless" integration into Windows. CNET editors also claim that, because it's so easy to use, Dropbox "will change the way that you store and share files."

Review: Dropbox, Editors of CNET, Dec. 4, 2012

4. PC World

Dropbox "proves its worth time and time again," according to reviewer Mark O'Neill. Although Dropbox offers extensive file synchronization, O'Neill found it "problematic" to set up the default folder for this. However, the new free Dropbox Folder Sync app allows you to easily sync data, such as Outlook files that you can't move into Dropbox.

Review: Review: Synchronize any Windows Folder on Your PC with Dropbox, Thanks to Dropbox Folder Sync, Mark O'Neill, March 29, 2013

5. PCMag.com

PCMag.com gives an Editors' Choice award to Dropbox. "Dropbox is a superbly implemented, cloud-based, automatic, file-synchronization service that's ideal for working with files you can store in a single folder," the authors write. The service's ease and reliability are singled out for praise.

Review: Dropbox, Edward Mendelson and Jill Duffy, July 11, 2012

6. PC Pro

PC Pro, a British site, gives Dropbox a rating of 5 out of 6 and a Recommended award. "For all its limitations, Dropbox is great because it makes sharing and syncing files so easy across most devices," Stuart Andrews writes.

Review: Dropbox Review, Stuart Andrews, March 30, 2012

7. The Associated Press

Google Drive wins the nod as the best overall file synchronization service in this comparison of Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive, which is reprinted on the science and tech website Phys.org. However, Dropbox is called a solid second option thanks to its robust multi-platform capabilities.

Review: Review: Using Files Made Easy with Online Storage, Anick Jesdanun, May 3, 2012

8. The Verge

TheVerge.com praises Dropbox's simple interface, but says Google Drive is a better choice overall. "Dropbox is still the champ at syncing since it's so reliable and on so many platforms, but if you're looking for the best way to collaborate with others using online documents, Drive is the way to go," Ellis Hamburger writes.

Review: Google Drive vs. Dropbox, SkyDrive, SugarSync, and Others: a Cloud Sync Storage Face-off, Ellis Hamburger, April 24, 2012

9. TopTenReviews.com

Dropbox is rated in fourth place in this 2013 review of 18 online backup service providers. The editors of TopTenReviews.com highlight Dropbox's reliability and file sharing options, but say that it costs more than its competitors. Services are rated on features, security, ease of use and other criteria.

Review: 2013 Best Online Data Backup Comparisons and Reviews, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, Not dated

10. RedmondPie.com

Dropbox is rated in fourth place in this 2013 review of 18 online backup service providers. The editors of TopTenReviews.com highlight Dropbox's reliability and file sharing options, but say that it costs more than its competitors. Services are rated on features, security, ease of use and other criteria.

Review: 2013 Best Online Data Backup Comparisons and Reviews, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, Not dated

11. JunAuza.com

Jun Auza writes for the TechSource blog, which focuses on Linux news and reviews. He discusses these three online backup services for Linux. He calls Dropbox his "favorite online backup service for its simplicity and ease of use," though it falls behind Microsoft SkyDrive in the free and paid storage categories.

Review: Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Microsoft SkyDrive, Jun Auza, May 21, 2012

12. Gizmo's Freeware

Although Dropbox falls to third in this list of free online backup services, the author says "Dropbox is a must try and is my preferred Online Backup Solution." The simple and lightweight nature of the PC client is cited as a highlight.

Review: Best Free Online Backup Sites, "Kyengineer", April 23, 2013

Online Backup Services Runners Up:

SugarSync Est. $7.50 per month for 60 GB

8 picks including: About.com, CNET…

Carbonite Est. $60 per year for unlimited GB

4 picks including: PCMag.com, TopTenReviews.com…

iDrive Est. $50 per year for 150 GB

4 picks including: About.com, PCMag.com…

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