I’m on constant lookout for better ways to keep all of my data painlessly in sync, both between devices and between my devices and the Cloud. Dropbox has been my drop-it-and-forget-it syncing service of choice for much of the last three years, and it’s unquestionably a great option for many users and uses.
But earlier this year I went in search of… not a replacement to Dropbox, but a service that would add to and complement what Dropbox already did for me. My search led me to a lot of syncing services, but in the end there was only one that did everything I wanted: SugarSync. As I wrote in April, SugarSync was the best method for keeping certain work files synced between my office Windows desktop and Mac laptop, and it it performed spectacularly for this purpose. Still does. But over the last three months, I’ve found that it’s also a worthy Dropbox replacement, particularly if A) you have limited free space on Dropbox, and/or B) you are willing to pay for a syncing service but find Dropbox’s $120, $240 or $600 yearly costs too high.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated more than 21GB of free storage on Dropbox, which for my purposes is more than enough. But earning free space (particularly if you don’t have a way to help you get the many, many required referrals) can be difficult. If you have a free account and you’re quickly approaching its 2GB storage ceiling, to keep using Dropbox as you grow will cost you at least $10/month or $99/year for 100GB of online storage, the service’s least expensive paid option. Increasing your storage space by 5000% is likely not something you want; you just need more space.
SugarSync starts you out with 5GB of free storage. Their lowest paid tier is 30GB of storage for either $5 per month or $50 per year, or half the cost of Dropbox. You do get less space per dollar, but I’d wager the vast majority of users don’t need 100GB, and that 30GB is far more attractive, particularly at half the cost.
Plus, there’s the SugarSync Magic Briefcase, a feature I’ve only recently began to really use and understand. Magic Briefcase like Dropbox within the SugarSync service, and it’s this feature that makes SugarSync a full-on Dropbox replacement for those looking for a change:
SugarSync is different from Dropbox – primarily – in that it is designed to sync specific folders of your choosing between computers and the Cloud, rather than Dropbox’s one folder sync paradigm. This is great because you can sync folders as they are in various locations on your computers without having to move them into the Dropbox folder, disrupting your existing file structure. But with the Magic Briefcase folder within SugarSync, you get this familiar drop-and-sync functionality, too; if you want to share files between computers, the Cloud, and your smartphone and tablet, just drop it in the Magic Briefcase and it’s synced – just like Dropbox.
With the Magic Briefcase, selective folder sync, and SugarSync’s more generous 5GB free offering and lower-priced tiered storage, I’ve stopped recommending Dropbox as a matter of course. It’s still a great service and certainly paved the way for so many fantastic syncing services available today, but it’s no longer the best solution available.
As much as I’ve loved Dropbox over the years, and have been an evangelist for its various uses, I now find myself using SugarSync more and more, and recommending it for more than just syncing disparate folders.
And for many users looking for more synced storage with lower cost options, I frankly think it’s the better choice.