SugarSync and Dropbox may not be the only two companies that provide online file storage services, but they are the definitely the one that provide excellent services and great usability. Being a computer geek (that’s what I love to call myself), I am always asked whether SugarSync or Dropbox is better and which one I will recommend. Instead of me making the recommendation, I have decided to do a fair comparison between SugarSync and Dropbox and let you make your own decision. In this article, we will check out the various features of SugarSync and Dropbox and see how they match up with each other.
1) This is not a full feature comparison between SugarSync and Dropbox as that will take up several pages. I have only listed some of the most commonly used features and users’ concern
2) All the points listed below are factual at this instance when the article is published. Things might change in the future and all the points stated here might not be valid any more.
3) I have tried my best to be unbiased and impartial in making judgement. You may not agree with some of the points below and are encouraged to share your opinions in the comments.
At the moment, SugarSync only supports Windows and Mac (I will go into the mobile platform later) whereas Dropbox supports Windows, Mac and Linux.
Clearly the winner for this round: Dropbox.
SugarSync makes use of a sync client (SugarSync Manager) to manage all your file synchronization.
After you have installed the client, it automatically creates a Magic Briefcase folder in your Documents folder and everything you add to the Magic Briefcase will be synced to the cloud and across all other computers that have SugarSync linked. In addition, you may select any folders outside of the Magic Briefcase folder to be backed up to the cloud. These folders won’t be synced across other computers unless you specificy it in the SugarSync Manager. It gives you a certain degree of control and flexibility in backing up your files and syncing across computers but require much repetitive work.
Dropbox, on the other hand, works very differently from SugarSync. Instead of a file management client, it integrates itself into the file manager (Windows explorer for Windows, Nautilus for linux and Finder in Mac) so that you can handle your files like you have always done.
There is no learning curve at all and you can use it immediately after you have installed it. Everything you place in the Dropbox folder will automatically be synced to the cloud and across all other computers.
You won’t be able to sync any other folders outside of the Dropbox folder unless you move/copy them into the Dropbox folder. Also, you can’t choose which files you want/don’t want to sync across computers. In this aspect, Dropbox gives you lesser flexibility and control but it makes it extremely easy to use. (While you can create symlinks to sync folders outside of the Dropbox folder, this is more of a workaround rather than the core feature in Dropbox, so I will not take it into consideration here.)
Winner: Draw. One gives you the flexibility of managing your files while the other gives you the ease of use. No clear winner here.
To share files in SugarSync, you have to do it via the Web interface. Even if you click on the Share option in the SugarSync Manager, it will still direct you to your Web account. In your Web account, you can enter the email addresses of the persons you want to share the files with.
In Dropbox, there are two ways you can share a file/folder. You can share your folders with your friends (by sending them an email in the Web interface), or place them in the Public folder (within the Dropbox folder) and have them accessible by everyone. Public sharing can be done within the file manager and you can quickly grab the Public link and broadcast them on your site. This is a great way to share large files without having to worry about the storage space and bandwidth.
Winner: Dropbox, for the additional public sharing feature.
Sugarsync comes with native iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile apps where the users can access their files directly from the handset dashboard. Dropbox users who want access to their files can only do so via the Mobile web interface. Not to complaint about the Dropbox mobile Web interface but somehow, a native app is able to integrate with the handset better and provide better viewing and features.
Storage space (and pricing)
Dropbox gives you 2GB after signup and another 3GB after referring a friend. Sugarsync comes with a 2GB of storage space when you sign up a free account with them (see below for the limitations of the free account).
When it comes to premium account, Sugarsync offers more choices than Dropbox. Sugarsync comes with 4 upgrade options, ranging from $4.99 (30GB) to $24.99 (250GB) whereas Dropbox only have a $9.99/month (50GB) upgrade option. Editor’s note: Dropbox has now added a 100GB package for $19.99/month.
In terms of choices, flexibility and value for money (price per GB), SugarSync offers better value and choices.
Limitations of Free Account
While SugarSync comes with a 2GB free account, it also comes with certain limitations:
- You can only backup & sync up to two computers.
- You can only maintain up to 2 past versions of each document.
- The upload time on the 2 GB free plan isn’t as speedy as with the paid.
In Dropbox, there are no limitations on the free account and you can use it on multiple computers.
Winner: Needless to say, Dropbox is the clear winner here.
Dropbox 3 – Sugarsync 2, Draw 1
It is quite obvious (at least to me) that Dropbox is the triumphant winner in this clash of the titans. Personally, I prefer Dropbox as it supports Linux, integrates fully into my Nautilus and allows me to host and share large files with all the readers of my blog. Perhaps you have a different reason for choosing Dropbox (or SugarSync)? Do share with us in the comments.