It’s easiness to use is what distinguishes Dropbox from other competitors in terms of storing, retrieving, managing, and accessing files from any device on the go. Dropbox is easy to use that seamlessly syncs with the cloud.
Launched in 2007, Dropbox has become one of the most popular choices of cloud storage services in the market.
That being said, it’s the second most popular choice falling behind Google Drive.
Speaking of Google Drive, check out our comparison among these 3 prominent cloud storage providers of Google Drive vs Dropbox vs OneDrive here.
With Dropbox, you can access your files from a Windows desktop, Mac, Android, and iPhone.
Read my Dropbox review here to see why it’s trendy among users.
So, what is Dropbox?
Dropbox is a cloud-based storage tool that is built for individual users and businesses to store, access, and manage files using their productivity and sharing tools.
Dropbox is currently one of the world’s leading cloud storage systems, and that reason is that Dropbox offers free cloud storage of 2GB storage space.
They offer a business package, but this package is more for companies and enterprises that are looking for more storage and advanced sharing opportunities. Despite being one of the most popular cloud storage out there, Dropbox suffered a security breach in 2012.
The reason is that they do not possess zero-knowledge encryption in their platform.
Find out who’s the most secure cloud storage here. Some are so great that they brag about never being hacked or breached before since starting their business.
Its prices are also not gloated as well because they are not among the most competitive when it is compared with Google Drive or OneDrive.
With that being said, we’ll dive into its features, pricing, and other vital details that are deemed essential when it comes to using Dropbox.
One of the main perks of using Dropbox is that it offers a fantastic suite of productivity and sharing tools, with free of charge of limited storage – assuming you are an individual user.
Dropbox Installation in 2 Steps
- All you need to do is create an account with Dropbox. You can also sign up with a Google email address which we highly recommend.
- Download the app on your preferred device (desktop or mobile device), and immediately back up and share files within minutes. Once you have synced your files into the account, you can access them offline.
Using Dropbox – Hands-on & Impressions
Another great thing about Dropbox is the collective community system it creates around your shared files.
For example, if you edit a file, the others who have access to that file can see it and will receive immediate notification upon the change that has been made.
Any group that has been created in Dropbox with the same access can communicate and edit the files in an instant.
Many cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive or OneDrive, offer excellent collaboration options by integrating with G Suite or Microsoft Office 365. Dropbox offers both: G Suite and Microsoft Office 365.
You can use both integrations to create or edit files – only for individual plans.
If you decide to use Dropbox Business in the future, you are required to use a commercial Office 365 subscription.
This can be a little misleading because you’ll need a commercial subscription for Office 365.
But if you don’t have one, go for G Suite using a Google account instead of Office 365.
Make sure your Dropbox account and G Suite are using the same email address to avoid any problems using the collaboration. Tips: Create your dropbox account using the Sign in with Google instead of creating a new one to avoid confusion.
Next is Dropbox Paper, which is an app that you can use to write notes, insert pictures and media files, and collaborate with others.
It’s a note-taking app. That said, Dropbox’s note-taking app is pretty easy to use.
Dropbox has another cool app, Showcase.
It streamlines and shares your files on a more professional-looking page.
It allows you to preview particular file types in Dropbox, saving you and the others who have access, from downloading specialized software.
You can view, comment and share these file types, including videos, directly from Dropbox.
However, this app is only available for Dropbox Professional Plan.
Besides that, Dropbox has a full-text search so you can find what you’re looking for through the content of your files.
With the Professional plan, you can effortlessly search the content of all your files, including the documents scanned with the Dropbox mobile app.
The “Full-Text Search” is not available in the Basic and Plus plan (Coming Soon).
Moreover, Dropbox allows you to view photos, and play music, and videos. Its audio-playing capabilities are simple, but there’s not much to rave about the capabilities.
File Sync & Share Ability
Dropbox has wondrous sync and share tools that it’s easy to use them. You can share all folders and files stored in Dropbox from your desktop, mobile device, and browser.
You can share your files by sending a link via email or copying and pasting but can’t share directly on social networks.
There are also content-control options to protect your files. When it comes to sharing a folder or file, you can invite users and assign them based on a set of permissions.
Each file or folder has a “share” button in the browser interface. All you have to do is click that button that opens a new window, in which you can either input the email addresses or copy and paste the link.
Besides sharing via email, you can also share the files using Slack and Zoom.
To stop sharing, you can remove the person in the sharing feature. You are allowed to set permissions to “edit” or “view” the files as well.
You can also protect your file’s link by using a password, and expiry date, and disabling downloads or selecting particular users who can access it.
However, this option is only available for the Professional plan, which can be one of the most significant drawbacks for Dropbox.
There’s a “Sharing” page that shows you what you’ve shared, too, which gives you easy access to see all recently shared activities.
An extremely important feature where you can glance and overlook all your shared content!
Besides the sharing feature, if you want to invite others to share files with you, the “file request” feature is there to help you do that. You can also invite other users who don’t have a Dropbox account.
All in all, any file or folder that you place in Dropbox will be automatically synced to the cloud, which allows you to access all devices that are connected to it.
Ease of Use
When it comes to using a cloud storage service, the easiness is equally important as the features themselves.
If you can’t access it and you’re having a hard time trying to understand how to use it, then what’s the point of having excellent features?
Thus, the usability to deliver straightforward and simple functionality is important.
It’s also vital that the platform should be modern, attractive, and enjoyable to be used.
For that reason, Dropbox has done a pretty good job of providing an excellent user experience alongside pCloud from our review. You can access Dropbox via desktop or mobile app and the web.
We even make a comparison between pCloud vs Dropbox just because of the easiness and great UX.
In regards to the desktop version, you can access it through the system tray icon. You can open your sync folder and web app. It also shows all of your recent notifications and files.
If you ever want to make any changes in Dropbox, all you have to do is click the gear icon and open the preferences. On there, you will see tabs that assist you in changing general, sync, account, and other settings.
“The desktop app is elegant with its simple design. Simply put, you won’t be confused because it is pretty easy to navigate.”
Furthermore, the configuration and navigation are pretty similar to the website app, as well. It has a left menu that allows you to navigate between the homepage, files, and Showcase.
The HelloSign and Transfer is the latest feature to be added to Dropbox. HelloSign is another tool that allows you to sign and send documents in minutes.
It’s not free, but they do offer a free trial.
Dropbox Transfer, on the other hand, allows you to send large files (up to 100GB).
The concept is very similar to WeTransfer (up to 2GB) or Tresorit Send (up to 5GB) and had just been in service starting July 2019.
Do you know we have our own “Ninja QuickSend” as well? Click here to send your large file instantly without logging in. Send Now ->
Security & Privacy
If you are ever going to put important files and data in the cloud storage, security, and privacy are very crucial in the platform.
Hackers won’t hesitate to go after your files using ransomware or malicious attacks.
As previously mentioned, Dropbox had a turbulent history with security as they were hacked in 2012. Sixty-eight million passwords were stolen, and the breach wasn’t reported until years later.
Since then, Dropbox has taken better measures after the breach, and the security is a little better.
With that in mind, Dropbox has come up with a run-of-the-mill solution when it comes to privacy and security purposes.
It applies AES 256-bit at rest as well as the TLS protocol, including the AES 128-bit, to protect your files in transit.
This level of encryption is strong, but Dropbox immediately decrypts your files when they arrive at its data center to extricate metadata for indexing and re-encrypts them afterward.
“Cloud Storage and Cyber Internet Should Build around Security”
If you’re looking for other secured cloud storage, you should check out our review on the most secured storage or five secure Dropbox alternatives.
Dropbox also offers a two-factor authentication that adds an extra layer of protection to your Dropbox account.
It enables a two-step verification that Dropbox will send a six-digit security code when you sign in to your account or link it to a new device.
Nevertheless, make sure you use a very strong password. Or utilize one of these free password managers.
Again, Dropbox doesn’t apply zero-knowledge encryption in its system. Moreover, Dropbox is based in the United States, so it adhered to the laws there, such as the USA Patriot Act or Cloud, and these laws don’t help with the users’ privacy.
All in all, if you’re looking for a powerhouse cloud storage, you should take a look at our GCS’s Best Cloud Storage Picks.
Conclusion – Are they as good as they look?
In summary, Dropbox offers great sharing and syncing tools despite its conventional security measures. They even took the crown from our upload speed testing experiment here.
So, for those who are not worried about their privacy or not planning to back up sensitive files in the cloud, then Dropbox is perfect for you.
At least it’s super easy to get started with.
If you’re looking for high-secured cloud storage, read our take-on review on Tresorit or Sync.com. Or this fella here, pCloud who brags about never getting hacked before since existence!
Dropbox has amazing online integration tools and other great features such as Dropbox Paper, Showcase, and smart sync, as well as the Transfer feature which is just being released.
Again, all those amazing features require a Plus or Professional account.
You can enjoy all those amazing perks once you start paying them, fair and square.
If you are looking for massive savings over the long term that does not skim on security and privacy matters, do not miss out on pCloud Lifetime. Paid once and you’ll get lifetime cloud storage from an established cloud storage provider without the hassle of the monthly or yearly recurring payment. Check out pCloud Lifetime here.