Dropbox Review: Cloud Storage
|Easy to use, but can't match the safety of off-site backup|
Dropbox, arguably one of the most popular names in cloud storage, differs from all of the other cloud storage services we review in that it does not actually backup your computer. While it's a nice way to store and sync your files online, as well as share them with others when you need to, it cannot double as your online backup service and therefore falls behind the rest with its lack of features and protection.
After installing the program, Dropbox will ask you to register with your email. You can then either go for a "typical" setup where the program will place the Dropbox folder for you, or you can opt for the "advanced" setup, which allows you to choose where the folder will go and what files to sync in it. The setup process includes a brief tutorial that is really helpful in figuring out how to use the service.
In general, we like the simple layout — your Dropbox is a special folder on your computer where you simply drop in files. These files will be instantly available on any of your other computers with a Dropbox and the web.
File Syncing and Sharing
As mentioned above, Dropbox is not a full fledged online backup solution — it's only strength is really in its cooperative file-sharing capabilities. You can drop files into the designated public folder, or create specific shared folders accessible to select individuals. Your system notifies you as changes are made to shared files, which is nice for document collaboration. If changes are made to a document two people are working on simultaneously, the system will save two versions of the document. The saved document is saved instantly on the web and is ready for use in no time.
There is a nifty mobile app where you can access all of your Dropbox files on the go. Even though you need some kind of Internet connection to access your documents, you can add some of these files to your "favorites" folder and view them offline, anytime. The app is also nice if you want to sync stuff from your cell as well as share it with others. The application has a streamlined user interface and it was easy to use.
Like Spideroak, Dropbox gives you 2 GB of storage space for free. And while its paid service, which includes 50 GB of storage, is moderately priced, it can in no way beat Spideroak's 100 GB of space for the same price. Dropbox charges $19.99/mo for 100 GB of space.
Though Dropbox is a nice, simple service that lets you share and sync files, you will still need a seperate online backup service to actually backup your files. This is why we recommend other cloud storage services that do both. These other services not only let you sync and share files like Dropbox does, but also allows you to backup your computer online, ultimately saving you if a computer emergency were to happen in the future.
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Dropbox Forum Posts
- Dropbox Review
Here is NextAdvisor's review of Dropbox Cloud Storage: http://www.nextadvisor.com/cloud_storag ... review.php