With Amazon’s recent entry into consumer cloud storage, we’ve got quite a few competitors offering great and varying options — but which one is the best? Here’s a look at Windows Live SkyDrive and Dropbox, and our top pick for storing your files in the cloud.
These services are a little bit different, so they’re hard to compare one-for-one. We have our preference, but make sure to check out each service individually as one may suit you better than another. If you want to see the verdict on all the services at a glance, scroll down to the bottom of the page for a quick look. For a more in-depth look at every service, just keep reading.
Windows Live SkyDrive
SkyDrive is essentially 25GB of storage — for free. While it doesn’t have the most compelling feature set if you’re not using it with Windows Live Mail and the online version of Microsoft Office, it is a whole lot of space for a whole lot of nothing. Value-wise, you can’t really beat it… unless you have files greater than 50MB.
The best part of Dropbox, however, is that it syncs to all your computers. If you keep everything important in your Dropbox, that means you’ve got a backup of all your important files automatically by virtue of them being on multiple machines as well as up in the cloud. If you are syncing between machines, Dropbox will first sync files over your local connection first, making sync a lot faster when all your computers are on the same network. Dropbox has apps for pretty much every mobile device, so you can easily access your files from virtually anywhere. Dropbox also makes file sharing easy as you can simply right click to share virtually anything in your Dropbox or share it from the mobile app.
a lotalthough you can work around that limitationWe have a workaround for this, too
Dropbox is really great if your needs include syncing and you can limit your storage to 100GB, but if you need more space or just don’t want to pay for it, you may want to look into another option.
What’s the Best Cloud Storage Option?
Good question. What’s really great about all these products is that they’re not identical and offer varying sets of features. What we’ve realised is that it’s not so much about which one’s the best, but rather which one’s the best for you. If you need to sync, go with Dropbox. If you want to pay absolutely nothing and get a ton of storage (25GB), go with Windows SkyDrive. While you could probably rig any one of these services to basically act like the others, they each have their strengths and weaknesses and you’ll have to decide which strengths are more important to you.
Personally — and I think this goes for everyone at Lifehacker — I love Dropbox. If you have more than one computer, it’s almost a necessity. If there’s a winner in my book, it’s definitely Dropbox. That said, these are all great cloud storage services that aim to meet varying needs. If you choose based on what matters most to you, chances are you won’t be disappointed.