Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
If you want to send large files over the net, you better get in line ASAP to register for the new super-fast Minbox service. If you’ve ever had to send a large file over the internet, you probably know it’s not always easy. Most email clients and servers, as well as cloud services like Dropbox have file size limits, and the process can be rather slow to upload and send.
We have reviewed similar services for uploading and sending large file attachments, but Minbox brings the process directly to your Mac as a lightweight app that rests in your menu bar. The developers of Minbox, who also founded the popular digital journal web application Penzu, claim that their service is twice as fast Dropbox.
With Minbox there are no limits to the size or types of files you can send, and files remain stored on the Minbox server for 30 days. Sounds good, right?
Get Signed Up
Similar to how Mailbox initiated its registration process, Minbox is using an incremental registration process, probably to prevent the initial overload to their server and as a marketing tool to promote their service. First you need to download the Minbox app [No Longer Available], and after you launch it on your Mac, you will be taken through the brief sign-up process, which entails requesting an access code.
When writing this review, the wait time I received was a little over three days, but Minbox was kind enough to push me ahead of the line by sending a requested reviewer’s license. If you’re willing to help promote Minbox via your Twitter account, or by sharing a link to the service, you will also receive an access code a little faster.
How It Works
After you’re in, it’s a pretty easy process to get going. If you think you will be sending large files to people already listed on your Contacts list, you may want to allow Minbox to import your address book. You can enable the import in the Preferences settings of Minbox.
Minbox is quickly accessed via the menu bar. Simply click on the attachment icon button, and add the files located with Finder, or drag-and-drop them onto the application icon. To test it out, I attached a gigabyte of family movie files. It took a little over 17 minutes for Minbox to convert and upload those files to its server. The speed of the upload will also depend upon your Internet connection.
The upload takes place in the background, but Minbox will notify you with an alert sound and a system-level notification when the upload is completed, which is a huge plus. If you’re waiting for large files to upload, you don’t have to keep checking to see when the process is done.
Note: By comparison, I uploaded the same collection of files to my Dropbox account, and it took approximately 44 minutes.
Another nifty feature in the uploading process is that Minbox allows you to press and hold on the Send button to schedule a later date and time to send the message. To activate this feature, you need to make sure you have your recipients included in the message.
Posted to Gallery
Your uploaded files are assigned a unique link to a posted gallery. An email confirmation will be sent to you and your recipients once the files are posted and ready for download.
You want to be sure to keep the confirmation sent to you because it includes a link to delete the files from the server in case you don’t want to leave them there for the allotted 30 days. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a way to delete files from within the Minbox application.
Files can be viewed by recipients in the gallery, downloaded as a collection in a .ZIP file, and further shared via links to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and email.
By default Minbox will convert your files to a smaller size, but you can disable the
conversion and upload them to their original full size. For example, you might want keep large RAW photo files at their original size.
In the Preferences panel you can also disable email notifications and set a global keyboard shortcut for a new message and file setup. Minbox includes other keyboard shortcuts for interacting with the application.
Best of Its Kind
For Mac users, Minbox may well prove to the best solution around for quickly sharing huge files over the net. Its minimal user interface means it can be kept in your menu bar and quickly accessed when needed.
The application is especially useful for photographers, designers, videographers, and other users who need to send large files on a regular basis. As a local application, it’s much better than having to navigate to an online website and fill out a registration form to upload files.
Minbox is also currently completely free. The developers indicate that a Windows version may be in the works, and a pro version of the service is forthcoming. This will include more privacy, unlimited time storage, file encryption, and better conversion of original files.
Download: Minbox for Mac
For what it does, it seems as though Minbox may be a significant competitor to Dropbox, but let us know what you think of the service. Are you going to sign up?