Dropbox Full Review
When discussing cloud storage, the first name that comes to mind is Dropbox. Despite being relatively new, with only seven years under its belt, the service has 175 million users by July 2012, which is 75 million more than it did six months before. So, what drives millions of people to go for Dropbox? Read on to find out.
What is Dropbox?
Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization and client software capabilities. It allows both commercial and personal users to store photos, documents, videos and files and then access them from their computers, mobile devices and even the Dropbox website. This data can also be shared with authorized users, so you don’t have to worry about massive attachments or privacy issues.
How it Works
Dropbox’s interface is very user-friendly. Once you sign up for the service and download and install the software, simply copy and paste the files and folders you need to store or share. The files will start uploading as quickly as possible depending on their sizes and the speed of your internet connection. If you install Dropbox on another device, the files will immediately be downloaded there depending on the same variables. Therefore, the Dropbox folder on your computer and the website will be up to date within minutes.
Features of Dropbox
If you’re looking for free cloud storage, Dropbox has the potential to be the only solution you’ll ever need. Though you can always pay extra for more than 2GB of storage, you’ll be getting excellent features like the ones below for no cost at all.
- Multi-Platform Support – Dropbox works amazingly with Windows Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Its developers are currently working on platform-specific features, such as uploading, storing and sharing screenshots and iPhoto libraries for Mac.
- Multi Version Storage – To ensure that you never lose your files, Dropbox stores versions of your files every time you change them. So, if you ever delete a file or would rather use an older version, simply right-click the file, choose ‘View it on Dropbox’ and select the version you need.
- Manual Bandwidth Limits – To ensure that other internet-dependent applications run smoothly, you can determine how much bandwidth your Dropbox can utilize for updates. As a result, you won’t face slower downloads or browsing speeds.
- Tight Security – Security is one thing which Dropbox doesn’t ever compromise on. In addition to ensuring that your files aren’t shared unless you personally invite other users, the information is encrypted to dissuade hackers. Moreover, none of your files are searchable via search engines or Dropbox itself, so you don’t have to worry about sensitive information being accessible to just anyone.
Why Dropbox is a Gem of a Software
Because of the aforementioned features, Dropbox comes packed with numerous pros, including:
- High Mobility – Regardless of your device, you can use Dropbox anytime anywhere. There are even specific apps for iPhone, iPod and Android to ensure that you’re always up to date.
- Ease of Use – Dropbox is one of the easiest cloud storage options. Even the elderly at your home will be able to use it if they know how to manage folders on their computers.
- Customer Support – You can always contact customer support via e-mail if you have a question that isn’t covered in the software’s ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page. Though this isn’t as highly efficient as providing support via chat, it’s better than nothing at all.
- Reliability – If there’s one thing that can vouch for Dropbox, it would be the service’s high reliability. There haven’t been any complaints about the stability of the software, so rest assured that you won’t be facing technical difficulties.
Shortcomings Dropbox Should Address
Though Dropbox is a popular cloud storage solution, there are some cons which prevent it from achieving the success it deserves. The top three shortcomings of this software are:
- Lack of Collaboration – You won’t be able to collaborate on files. If the same file is opened and edited at two locations, the second one will appear on your Dropbox folder with the tag ‘(USER NAME Conflicted Copy DATE)’. This can be annoying at times, especially if you’re supposed to work on the same file with different people.
- Value for Money – Dropbox may allow you to grow your storage space to 16GB through referrals, but even that is less in comparison with CX and SugarSync, both of which initially offer 10GB and 5GB with their free versions. Even the paid Dropbox storage plans are pricey with these starting at $9.99 per month (or $99 annually) for 100GB.
- Apple App Limitations – Apple device users have complained about their inability to clear cache from the app, something similar services have to offer. Another issue is users’ inability to edit documents or reduce image size.
With its growing popularity, Dropbox has decided to take on the business sector. The service’s developers are creating features to encourage business use. Two features that are circulating so far are high-end security and centralized deployment capabilities like single sign-in. However, it’s still too early to determine what Dropbox will do since their enterprise level shift has started at the third quarter of 2013.
The Bottom Line
Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox, is considered to be the Steve Jobs of his time. Therefore, you can expect something good today and even better tomorrow. However, you may want to avoid using Dropbox for business-related purposes unless you run a small or medium sized business and don’t require high level cloud storage and synchronization. That aside, personal users can bury their hard drives since this service can substitute it with ease.
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