Hot on the heels of Google Drive's massive storage price cuts , iDrive has announced competitive pricing for its online backup and syncing service. For roughly the same price as Google Drive, you get double the storage space, split between your backup sets and synced files — plus it's half off today.
For example, Google Drive's 1TB plan is $US10 a month ($US120/year). iDrive offers 1TB of online backup plus another 1TB of syncing through a special iDrive folder for $US149.50 a year ($74.75/year for the first year if you sign up today). Google Drive offers 100GB for $US1.99 a month ($23.88/year); iDrive's 300GB plan (300GB backup + 300GB sync) is $US49.50 a year.
Confused? You're not alone. I asked iDrive why the space is split up like that, when Google Drive, Dropbox, and other services just give you one bucket. I was told:
Actually no one splits it up because there aren't many other companies if any out there that do both true backup and sync, so it's unique to us. Backup and Sync work in different ways under the hood, our internal test show that separating those into two buckets (Backup/Sync), enables better performance and makes it easier for users to manage their data with those two separated.
So you get traditional backups (incremental and compressed backups to save network bandwidth, backup logs, scheduled and real-time settings, and so on) and a separate Drive- and Dropbox-like folder that syncs across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It makes sense for situations like when you have a large volume of videos, photos and media files you want backed up but not taking up all your space on other devices.
Besides the extra space, iDrive offers some compelling other features you don't typically find elsewhere. You can set your own encryption key for your data, which means extra protection for both your backups and your synced folder. Also, the free iDrive Express service makes it faster to backup and retrieve your data: Upon request, iDrive will send you an external drive you can transfer up to 3 TB of data to; send it back and they will upload the data for you. You can similarly request a storage device to retrieve your data off of.
I played with the service a bit this week and found backups to be quick and simple, and sync works fine too. If you'd like to try it out without ponying up for a yearly plan yet, iDrive offers a free 5GB plan (5GB backup plus 5GB sync). iDrive has been around since at least 2008 , so that might give you some confidence at least in the service. (Reviews around the web are a bit mixed, but both Notebook Review and Wired gave it a 9 out of 10.)