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Dropbox Review- Getting Smart with Features, Pricing & Security

Latest posts by Sarah Kiran (see all)
last updated: 06 Dec 2019

Dropbox

Dropbox

https://dropbox.com/

Plan : Basic
Pricing : Free
Overall : Recommended!
Rating
4.5
Dropbox is easy to use that seamlessly syncs with the cloud. 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. Verdict
Pros / Drawbacks (click '+' to open)
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.

Side Note:

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 be 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 a free of charge of limited storage – assuming you are an individual user.

Dropbox Installation in 2 Steps

Dropbox is hosted in the cloud, so it doesn’t take a lot of time to install it.

1.Dropbox installation - step 1

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.
2.Download the Dropbox installer

Download the app on your preferred device (desktop or mobile device), and immediately backup and share files within minutes.

Once you have synced your files into the account, you can access them offline.

Isn’t that easy?

It’s all great to go and store your stuff on the cloud!

Using Dropbox – Hands-on & Impressions

Using Dropbox - 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.

Dropbox require a commercial license from Office 365 to collaborate

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 Google account instead of Office 365.

Take Note:

Make sure your Dropbox account and G Suite are using the same email address to avoid any problem using the collaboration. Tips: Create your dropbox account using the Sign in with Google instead of creating a new one to avoid confusion.

G suite with Dropbox

“Dropbox Paper originated from Simply Paper, an acquisition from Hackpad in 2014.”

Next is the 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 Paper

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 on 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.

Keyword searching ability from Dropbox

Isn’t it cute, a puppy sniffing and searching your content based on the wording.

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, play music, and videos. Its audio-playing capabilities are simple, but there’s not much to rave about the capabilities.

Dropbox Streaming Restriction – Time Allowed to Play

Basic Plus or Professional Business
15 minutes 60 minutes 240 minutes

If you want to save space on your hard drive, you can enable the Dropbox Smart Sync, but again, this option is only available on Plus and Professional plan.

This option allows you to access every and all files and folder in your Dropbox account from your laptop or computer without using the hard drive space.

You’ll know how pathetically it is if you are using a Chromebook, and that’s why expanding Chromebook storage by cloud storage is exceptionally important.

When it comes to content protection, Dropbox has a versioning process.

Dropbox Versioning – File Recovery

Basic or Plus Professional or Business
30 days 180 days

On another note, it has another tool, Dropbox Rewind, that allows you to undo a large number of changes at most. It’s handy when a major data-loss incident occurs.

Unfortunately, this is only available for Plus and Professional Plan.

File Sync & Share Ability – 95%

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 copy and paste but can’t share directly on social networks.

Dropbox sharing file

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, which you can either input the email addresses or copy and paste the link.

Share button

Besides sharing via email, you can also share the files using Slack and Zoom.

Dropbox sharing options

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.

Remove or revoke sharing capability

You can also protect your file’s link by using a password, 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.

Sharing expiration option

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 overlooked 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.

File Request Limitation

Basic or Plus Professional or Business
up to 2GB up to 20GB

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 – 95%

When it comes to using a cloud storage service, the easiness is equally important as the features itself.

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 excellent user experience alongside pCloud from our review. You can access Dropbox via desktop or mobile app and 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 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 the 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. The 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.

HelloSign

The 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.

Dropbox Transfer

The “Files” page is where all of your files and folders will be. On there, you have the option to view them as a list, small or big grid. By clicking the three dots, you can perform actions to that particular file.

Perform actions

The icon in the top right corner that either has your profile picture or a smiley icon allows you to access your settings, install or upgrade your account.

As demonstrated, the website app is straightforward and easy to use. All you have to do is drag and drop a file anywhere, and it will immediately upload. Accessing the right-side pages and features are fast, too.

When it comes to the mobile application, it’s pretty good as well. It’s easy to use and gives you a choice to automatically backup your photos and videos from your mobile device.

It also allows you to share your files and folders from the app.

Security & Privacy – 85%

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 their 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.

Moreover, the privacy policy does not mention the GDPR law that protects the privacy of the EU.

Still, at the same time, Dropbox has a different webpage that details its compliance with GDPR and has met the requirements of the GDPR by 25th May 2018 – coincidently, the privacy policy was in effect on the very same date.

All in all, if you’re looking for a powerhouse cloud storage, you should take a look at our GCS’s 7 Best Cloud Storage Picks.

Pricing Plans & Rates

Dropbox’s pricing is not the cheapest nor the most approachable. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the prices.

Side Note:

If you are looking for the most affordable cloud storage, check out IceDrive that starts from $1.67/mo.

The Plus plan is $11.99 per month or $9.99 per month if you choose to pay yearly.

It gives you 2TB of storage, 30-day version history, Microsoft Office 365 (require additional license) and G Suite integration, Dropbox smart sync, priority email support, and the standard cloud storage features.

With the Professional plan, you will get 3TB of storage, shared link controls, 180-day version history, excellent collaboration tools, such as Dropbox smart sync and Showcase, and access to chat support as well as priority chat support. It’s $19.99 per month or $16.58 per month if you choose to pay yearly.

If you ever want to test the platform, you can use their free plan. They offer 2GB of storage.

Pricing Plans Summary

Payment Basic Plus Professional
Monthly free $11.99/mo $19.99/mo
Yearly free $9.99/mo $16.58/mo

It is recommended to look at their plans because they provide an extensive comparison in their storage and access, productivity and sharing tools, content and accident protection, and support.

Here is their webpage: https://www.dropbox.com/individual/plans-comparison

Conclusion – Are they as good as they look?

Dropbox is a well known cloud storage

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 brag about never got 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 Transfer feature which just being released.

Again, all those amazing features require Plus or Professional account.

You can enjoy all those amazing perks once you start paying them, fair and square.

Cite Sources:
https://www.dropbox.com/individual/plans-comparison
https://blog.dropbox.com/topics/product-tips/dropbox-transfer-available
https://sea.pcmag.com/backup-products/7600/dropbox
https://www.techradar.com/sg/reviews/pc-mac/software/utilities/other-software/dropbox-593584/review
https://www.dropbox.com/privacy2018
Quick Recommendation:

If you are looking for massive saving over the long term that do 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 monthly or yearly recurring payment. Check out pCloud Lifetime here.

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