Last month, we made a side by side comparison of Box vs Dropbox. Today we will be continuing the trend. We will be talking about SugarSync vs Dropbox. However, this article will be the first part of a two-part series. The Cloud Storage 101 team will very soon be looking into SpiderOak vs Dropbox. Initially, we wanted to just make a SugarSync vs Dropbox vs SpiderOak battle royale. However, we believe that a two-by-two comparison is more useful.
Readers have recently brought to our attention that we continue to use Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive as points of reference. We refer to these other cloud storage services not because we believe by default that they are the best. We do so because they are popular and well-known. There is a much greater chance that our readers have already tried out at least one of these three cloud solutions.
Nevertheless, just mentioning that a service is better or worse than another and then giving one or two reasons is not always sufficient to stress out the differences. We chose Dropbox for this style of review because the statistics show that it is one of the most tried out services. Its features allow it to be a jack of all trades at most times making it adequate as a point of reference.
SugarSync vs Dropbox – Free Users
SugarSync was initially launched in November 2009. Visually, the platform has not undergone many changes as the different features that came and went were mostly represented as small additions to the interface. Dropbox was released in June 2007. In the grand scheme of things both companies have accrued sufficient experience and platform stability.
The cloud storage service currently no longer has a permanent free storage option. Initial users were given 5GB of free storage on registration but currently, these 5GB are available only for the first 90 days.
While three months are more than enough time to explore all the features a cloud service generally has to offer, the initial low storage space can motivate users to argue that 5GB of storage is not enough to truly test out the resilience of the service.
Apart from its 90 days of free trial, SugarSync will let its users try out each if their available storage plans for free for 30 days.
Compared to SugarSync Dropbox only has 2GB of free storage but they are available indefinitely. Apart from the initial 2GB, Dropbox will let its users try out Dropbox Business for free for 30 days as well.
The point does go to Dropbox when it comes to Free Users. While SugarSync offers more free space, the three-month time limit seems to be put there in order to pressure the user to upgrade. SugarSync also initially offered the 5GB for free permanently.
Dropbox vs SugarSync – Backup and Sync
On the desktop, SugarSync has one general backup folder called the Magic Briefcase. This Magic Briefcase is available under User Favorites. Users can easily copy/paste and drag and drop to and from the Magic Briefcase.
Uploading a 1GB archive did not take long and upload sync on SugarSync finished quickly after that. However, sync issues started happening the moment we made a copy of the archive in the cloud. The service also seemed to mind performing edits on both the original and the copy at the same time. Downloading did not present any issues.
SugarSync also has the neat and useful feature of allowing users to set any other folder on their hard drives as sync folders. The feature is useful as it spares the user from having to copy and paste individual large files or whole folders into the Magic Briefcase.
With Dropbox, uploading and downloading 1GB from the cloud has roughly the same speeds as doing so from a wirelessly-connected external hard drive. Dropbox also recognizes when we create an identical copy of an archive and the sync is much faster.
File recovery is done in different ways on the two services but each variant gets the job done. SugarSync does have more ways to ensure that accidental file deletion is easily undone but general recovery on SugarSync or Dropbox is viable.
With similar upload, download, and sync speeds to Dropbox SugarSync wins the Backup and Sync category due to the awesome feature of being able to right-click and sync any folder on the hard drive.
SugarSync vs Dropbox – Security
SugarSync uses 256-bit AES encryption over TLS. This level of security is used by banks and other major financial services in order to securely operate online. However, SugarSync does fall flat when it comes to passwords. We were able to set some of the most basic and intuitive passwords without any form of additional warning.
Dropbox employs 256-bit AES encryption over SSL. Dropbox knows not to let users generate intuitive or weak passwords.
Generally, it is currently believed that TLS offers a more secure level of encryption and authentication than SSL. Nevertheless, even the best encryption falters to a weak password. Until SugarSync revises their password creation process, the point in security will go to Dropbox.
Dropbox vs SugarSync – Mobile
The SugarSync Android app is by far one of the most impressive cloud storage apps we have had the opportunity of reviewing in 2016. Even so, the app does have a couple of small quirks. It takes a while to boot. Closing or force closing the app also caused our devices to stutter slightly. Other than that, however, the app loaded pictures and music with incredible speed.
SugarSync has obviously put a lot of time and effort into their mobile app, however, the stuttering could show that maybe some clean up or revisions in the code might be necessary.
The Dropbox app is stable, reliable, and secure. As cloud storage apps go, it is one of the finest and fastest.
We were thoroughly impressed with how fast the SugarSync app streamed and downloaded media from the cloud, as well as how easy it was to share files with others. In the Mobile category, SugarSync takes the point and we hope other cloud storage services feel inspired to use similar technologies in future updates.
With one category left, the two cloud storage services have managed to keep an even footing in the arena. Who will be the crowned winner of the SugarSync vs Dropbox challenge?
SugarSync vs Dropbox – Plans and Pricing
SugarSync Plans and Pricing
Free for 90 days
Dropbox Plans and Pricing
SugarSync’s pricing range clearly shows that it is definitely not meant to be the average user backup or archive cloud solution. The monthly cost of one terabyte is higher than what Dropbox charges for half a year.
For $10 a month, SugarSync only gives its users one-quarter of how much Dropbox offers.
SugarSync offers a fast file sync and easy recovery, slightly increased file security, and a stellar mobile app. The sum of these services do not motivate the average user to choose SugarSync unless they need cloud storage 250GB of storage or less. Additionally, SugarSync does not have Microsoft Office integration.
All in all, the pricing point goes to Dropbox because it has gotten to the point where 1TB of storage is considerably easier to fill than it was a decade ago.
The Cloud Storage 101 team is aware that starting 2014 SugarSync demonstrated an inappropriate behavior in regards to treating its clients.
Several SugarSync users reported that the service could not be unsubscribed from. Continuous monthly billing would apply to the registered credit card. Canceling a subscription could only be done only over the phone in a limited time window of just a few hours. There was no reason given for this measure. It seemed like it was an intentional inconvenience.
The website did not even feature a customer service number and the majority of the support staff, when finally reached, was not knowledgeable in SugarSync features and account management.
Furthermore, the company offered no refunds and when clients did manage to cancel their accounts, SugarSync instantly deleted all their stored data.
However, in March 2015, SugarSync was acquired in its entirety by J2 Global. Ever since that time, the number of vocal complaints has dropped considerably.
While the initial lack of transparency is definitely unappreciated, we were able to get in touch with two human support specialists and they were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable.
The Cloud Storage 101 team currently believes that SugarSync is trying to turn over a new leaf under the new management and, as such, we are willing to overlook their history in this SugarSync vs Dropbox review. We do, however, feel obligated to warn our readers.
The Final Verdict
SugarSync is an expensive but solid cloud storage solution. Their backup can be slow at times but they have solid account security and a great mobile app.
Currently, in the SugarSync vs Dropbox challenge, the latter emerges as our champion. However, if SugarSync reviews their password manager and adds Microsoft Office integration, we will gladly update this article and crown it the definite victor against Dropbox, even with the steep pricing.