I’ve been using and reviewing technology (hardware, software, services, and everything between) for years, and – quite frankly – it takes more and more to impress me with each passing year. Sure, there are things I like, things I use, things I recommend, but it’s rare when something comes along that makes me want to tell everyone I know to start using it yesterday (if not sooner).
But this, dear reader, is exactly the way I feel about Dropbox.
Dropbox is a free, cloud-based file syncing and file backup service. Install a small application on your Mac or PC (or Linux box) and it creates a folder on your hard drive – your Dropbox. Anything you place in this on-system Dropbox is automatically synced with your account folder in the cloud, which you can access from any computer with an Internet connection simply by logging in.
Now for the really useful part: You can install Dropbox on other machines, too, and once installed and linked with your account, files you place in your Dropbox on one computer is not only synced with your folder in the cloud, but is also synced with every other computer linked to your account.
Say I’m working on a product review on my MacBook, and want to pick up where I left off back at the office. No problem – I just save it to my MacBook’s Dropbox. Once I’m in the office, the file is already waiting in my office PC’s Dropbox folder, just as I left it on the notebook. I do a little work on my PC, and those changes are immediately mirrored to my MacBook, my home PC and the cloud – all without a single command or button or click.
It’s just that simple. It’s fast. It’s behind the scenes. It’s amazing. And I love it.
Now for the best and worst news about Dropbox.
First, the best news:
Dropbox offers a 2GB account – meaning you can sync and store up to 2 gigabytes of data between computers and to your cloud storage – free. This is enough for most users.
The worst news is that if you need more than 2GB, you’ll have to pay for the extra space, a service called Dropbox Pro. The fact that they charge for this additional storage isn’t what’s bad – it’s that what they charge is too high.
The next step up from the free 2 gigs of storage is 50GB, and for this you’ll pay $10 per month. The next (and only other) option is 100GB of storage, which is $20 per month.
I think Dropbox Pro would be attractive to more users at half the price, but if you really need the space, I suppose it’s worth it. I just wish they offered either more tiers at lower prices (say 25GB for $3 per month), or lower prices for their two existing tiers.
Chances are, the included 2GB of free space is enough, though. But if you need more, there’s a free 14 day trial of Dropbox Pro.