Cloud Storage Comparison – Google Drive vs Dropbox vs SkyDrive vs Apple iCloud vs Amazon vs SugarSync vs Box.net

Now a days, we have multiple options to host important files, pictures, documents on cloud storage. It is critical to take backup of local files to save somewhere else so that you can restore when required. Cloud storages are also beneficial in case you want those files on different devices. With online sync and multiple platform apps, these cloud storage platforms are offering easy access to all stored file anywhere, anytime using Internet.

With the recent launch of Google Drive, the exiting players of cloud storage industry has started feeling the heat. Cloud storage leaders like Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive and Windows Live SkyDrive are looking for ways to separate themselves from each other including Google Drive by targeting different segments.

Cloud Storage Comparison

In this article, I will try my best to compare Google Drive, SkyDrive, Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive, SugarSync and Box.net. I will talk about the amount of storage that you get without paying a penny and then premium for extra space offered by these players. I will also cover the benefits, disadvantages and exclusive features offered by different applications.

Free Storage

It is one of the most important feature that a user expect from cloud storage provider. The first question which comes in mind after knowing about a cloud storage service is that how much free space they offer. Here is a free space comparison chart which includes all popular cloud storage service provider.

Google DriveDropboxSkyDriveiCloudAmazon Cloud DriveBoxSugarSync
5GB2GB7GB5GB5GB5GB5GB

Note – Dropbox users can get extra 16GB free storage by referring their friends to sing-up for Dropbox.

Max File Upload Limit

Apart from the storage limit, single file upload limit is also very important when you think of uploading a bulky file. Here is how these players stand in max upload limit for individual upload.

Google DriveDropboxSkyDriveiCloudAmazon Cloud DriveBoxSugarSync
10GBNo limit via the desktop apps, 300MB via browser2GB25MB basic, 250MB paid accounts2GB1GBNo Limit

How Much I need to Pay for Extra Space?

After picking the best suitable cloud storage service out of these players, you start using it. There is a chance that you may need extra space to save your important files. In any case, if you want to have bulky files like videos, audio files, purchased copy of games and software, multiple pictures, you may cross the free storage offered by these players. Or in case you are taking backup of your complete system on a secured cloud, you may need more space.

You need to pay for the extra space on these cloud storages. The price differs on every cloud storage providers and it is up to you to decide which is cheap and best for you.

Here is the price comparison of cloud storages for extra space (i.e. for more than the free space offered).

Storage SpaceGoogle DriveDropboxSkyDriveiCloudAmazon Cloud DriveBoxSugarSync
10GB$20
20GB$10$40$20
25GB$30$120$50 for 30GB
50GB$100$25$100$50$240$100 for 60GB
100GB$60$200$50$100$150
200GB/400GB$120/$240$200/$500 for 500GB
1TB$600$795 for Team of 5 users$1000$180 per user
Business Account
2TB/4TB/8TB/16TB$1200/$2400/$4800/$9600

Desktop Client or Browser Based Application and Mobile Apps?

Desktop based software is good to upload or download files as it is easier to do that using a separate and dedicated application. But now a days, the browser is also very powerful and it offers similar features as a desktop client. Cloud storage providers are fully aware of that and that’s why they offer a desktop client as well as web interface to manage the uploaded files.

Web interface is for all platforms (i.e. accessible on all operating systems) but desktop clients may have compatibility issues. Here is the chart to showcase the availability of desktop clients from these cloud storages for different operating systems.

Google DriveDropboxSkyDriveiCloudAmazon Cloud DriveBoxSugarSync
PC, Mac, Android
iOS (coming soon)
No BB and Windows Phone App yet
PC, Mac, Android, iOS, BB
No Windows Phone App yet
PC, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone
No Android and BB yet
PC, Mac, iOS
No Android, BB and Windows Phone
Android, PC, Mac, iOSPC, Mac, iOS, BB, Android
No Windows Phone yet
PC, Mac, Android, iOS, BB, Symbian
No Windows Phone yet

Online Document Editor

When you are storing an important document on these cloud storage solutions, you may think of editing them there only, and save the changes. When you know that the list of service providers include Microsoft and Google who owns documentation products like Microsoft Office and Google Docs,  it is a very basic expectation from them to provide online document editing on cloud.

Here is how these cloud storage providers stand on online editing of documents on cloud.

Google DriveDropboxSkyDriveiCloudAmazon Cloud DriveBoxSugarSync
YesNoYesYesNoYesNo

Share and Collaborate

You must be thinking if you can edit the document, may be others can also do the same with proper permission. Here is how these players stand when you think of sharing stored files with your colleague or clients and you both working together on the same cloud stored document.

In this chart, you can see whether share and collaborate is possible with these cloud storage solutions.

Google DriveDropboxSkyDriveiCloudAmazon Cloud DriveBoxSugarSync
YesYesYesNoYesYesYes

Conclusion

Online Cloud Storage industry is getting better and better everyday. Now you have option to store, edit and share files online. Out of the services compared in this article, I think Dropbox is good for personal usage for multiple devices and it is easier to upload and sync files on different devices. But again, Google Drive and SkyDrive are really good for storing email attachments, files and documents as they provide better online editing tools. Amazon Cloud Drive is good for storage and to back up of important files and reside them for a long time.

Apple iCloud is good for Mac and iOS users but you have multiple options to store files. iTunes backup on iCloud is a good feature. Box.net (or box.com) is a really good option to business or enterprise users.

That’s why I personally recommend Drpobox, Google Drive, SkyDrive and SugarSync for personal usage like backing up photos, files, videos etc.

Let me know if you find this comparison helpful. Spread the word by sharing this article in your social network (sharing buttons are just below).

Sanjeev Mishra is a professional blogger and an Internet Marketing Consultant based in India. He has built the Internet Techies to provide you updates in technology and web application area.
  • Excellent article. The final judgement was inconclusive, but so were the results. Each cloud storage provider has pro’s and con’s and you have provided us with the information we need as users to decide which option is best for us.

  • Tim Adams

    I have also tested most of these solutions and from what I know now, at least Google Drive is totally useless and even damaging for anyone using this for business purposes. What comparisons like this one do not mention is the services’ (in)ability to solve syncronization conflicts, and so in my experience only SugarSync and – surprisingly – SkyDrive (I haven’t tested this topic on Dropbox, however) were able to solve those cases satisfactorily. If you have the same file open on 2 computers and happen to do different changes in each, hit save and see what happens… GDrive so far is not even telling me that there is a conflict, so I did have some serious data loss very recently due to this. It would also regularly refuse uploads of certain files without telling me the reason.

    I believe SugarSync and Dropbox are fairly equal, and as of today they are far, far ahead of the Google / Microsoft / Amazon competition in terms of usability and every-day issues. I still can’t believe that Google shipped Drive as such an incomplete product. Even though the service is significantly cheaper, it’s not worth it (yet). SkyDrive is similar in pricing, and syncs far better than Drive, but it has other issues (unable to prioritize uploads, problems with file names containing certain special characters, problems with very long file paths, 100Gb purchase limit).

    I’m a big believer in the idea of cloud storage, but at the moment it needs a lot of faith to actually use it.