Cloud storage price comparison: iCloud vs. SkyDrive vs. Dropbox vs. SugarSync

By , Apr 24, 2012

Microsoft yesterday updated its iOS SkyDrive client and released a brand new app for both Windows and Mac desktops while putting into effect paid storage upgrades.

At the same time, Dropbox released an updated iOS client with new sharing capabilities and Google upped Google Docs storage to 5 GB.

iDownloadBlog thought you might be interested to check out how major cloud storage services fare in terms of value so we’ve put together a handy comparison matrix providing an at-a-glance overview of paid tiers available from iCloud, Dropbox, SkyDrive and SugarSync…

Competition in the increasingly crowded cloud storage space is heating up as Microsoft joined the fray, revelaing paid storage plans for its revamped SkyDrive service yesterday.

Dropbox responded by adding new features to its desktop and mobile clients that make it easy to share the files and folders in your Dropbox via direct links viewable by anyone with a browser, no Dropbox account required.

Rivalry is about to get even more serious as the search giant Google is rumored to enter the market with a cloud storage solution similar to Dropbox, dubbed Google Drive. The company also increased Google Docs storage to 5 GB today.

All four service lure folks with free or trial accounts that come with anywhere between two to seven gigabytes of free storage.

But first things first.

Here’s your current price matrix involving iCloud, Dropbox, SkyDrive and SugarSync.

iCloud

Previously branded as iTools in 2000, .Mac in 2002 and MobileMe in 2008, iCloud offers free accounts with 5 GB of storage to owners of either an iOS device using iOS 5.x or a Mac using OS X Lion 10.7.x.

Additional iCloud storage can be purchased in tiers of 10, 20 or 50 GB for $20, $40 or $100 a year.

However, iCloud is not a traditional cloud file storage and sharing service in that it requires an iOS device or a Mac to create an account and is mainly focused on keeping your stuff automatically synced between apps and devices.

iCloud automatically keeps your purchased music, music videos, television shows, movies, apps, audiobooks and e-books safe using a cloud locker that doesn’t count towards your storage quota.

It also keeps a stream of your last thousand photos for up to thirty days. This means your storage allotment gets used when backing up your iOS devices to iCloud, for iCloud email and when using the Documents in the Cloud feature in supported third-party apps.

SkyDrive

Microsoft sets up any new SkyDrive account with 7 GB free storage, but existing SkyDrive users can opt in here in order to get upgraded to 25 GB of free storage while still getting all of the benefits of the overhauled service.

To those who are already using more than 4 GB as of April 1: Microsoft has automatically opted you in to 25 GB of free storage. Paid SkyDrive storage is offered in tiers of 20, 50 or 100 GB for $10, $25 or $50 a year, respectively.

The Windows maker also released yesterday a preview version of the brand new local SkyDrive client for Windows (available for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Consumer Preview) and Mac which takes clues from Live Mesh, their file synchronization service akin to DropBox.

They also updated their free iOS client (which debuted last December) with support for iPad Retina display (above image), new features to better manage, upload and share your files and the ability to open your SkyDrive files in other iOS apps.

Dropbox

Dropbox is by far the hottest cloud storage startup right now. They were the first to get cross-platform file sharing right so it should come as no surprise that Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs wanted to acquire the company for a cool $800 million.

A free Dropbox account comes with five gigabytes of storage. Additional room for your files in the Dropbox cloud can be purchased in tiers of fifty and hundred gigabytes for $25 or $50 a year.

Dropbox for Teams offering is also available, starting at $795 per year for first five users. It includes 1TB of shared cloud storage, centralized administration and billing and other perks.

Their universal iOS client got updated yesterday with the ability to share the files and folders on your Dropbox with anyone, using direct links. Dropbox is available for Windows, Mac and Linux boxes, in addition to mobile platforms such as Apple’s iOS, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS and Google’s Android platform.

SugarSync

Operated by San Mateo, California-based SugarSync, Inc., this service takes best features from SkyDrive and Dropbox and combines them into a compelling offering that might not look as pretty as rival services but gets the job done.

Paid SugarSync plans are available in tiers of 30, 60 or 100 GB for $49.99, $99.99 or $149.99 per year, respectively. If that’s not enough cloud storage for your needs, SugarSync offers 250 and 500 GB plans for a special introductory price of $249.99 and $399.99 per year.

Their new iPad app, depicted above, offers more advanced features than Dropbox, or so they say, including access to any folder from your computer via your iPad, per-folder syncing for offline access, the ability to create and edit text files within the app and more.

SugarSync also touts other advanced capabilities over competing cloud storage solutions and it is definitely available across the widest range of mobile platforms out there.

Hopefully, this article should help you compare popular cloud storage solutions before you commit to a monthly subscription plan.

Do you use any of the above services and for what purpose? Got any tips to share?

We’d love to hear your opinion down in the comments.

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  • http://granniethegeek.tumblr.com/ GrannieTheGeek

    Which one is the most secure? I would venture ICloud followed by Dropbox. Also, talk to me ICloud, when you can sync videos and Pages to my IMac. Frustrating that I can’t do this yet. Or, am I missing something here. At least with Dropbox I can upload videos.

    • http://twitter.com/BlueSpArKyB Bhavesh Patel

      u can upload videos to icloud, you can just google it, i already can, and i agreed 1. icloud 2. dropbox and nothing else :)

      • http://granniethegeek.tumblr.com/ GrannieTheGeek

        You can? Personal videos or purchased videos. Big difference. Will Google it. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mactech.ca Carter M

    I personally use DropBox between Windows, OS X and iOS but I also sit with a Free account of 18.2GB so it would be hard justified to move to another solution unless they offer a close to same size free package. Drop box just works!!

  • Yaniv Kalsky

    I currently use SugarSync, and tough it is cheaper have few features that the others don’t – I just hate the sync speed – dropbox is much faster! I just hope some day they will improve it/change the whole sync process to a better one..

  • http://twitter.com/warrenskipper Warren Skipper

    Christian, in the narrative you mentioned that a free Dropbox account comes with five gigabytes of storage but it’s actually two (like the price matrix reflects). Great article, btw!

  • http://twitter.com/ThePopeNJ Alex Mosley

    Should I cloud really be included in this it is more a personal online backup tool than a cloud storage

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    When skydive first came out it was 25gig.. I didn’t know they had made it 7 gig.. Just got it free to 25 gig again.. Thanks for the heads ups..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002379570885 Michiel Josephs

    what about minus? it’s 10 GB free! :D

  • http://twitter.com/ProZack27 Zachary Sloane

    I just signed up for a SkyDrive account. I don’t see the 25GB upgrade available….?

    • Anonymous

      Only existing a/cs are eligible, the new a/cs only get 7gb.

      • http://twitter.com/ProZack27 Zachary Sloane

        lame

      • Anonymous

        Lucky I had Hotmail long time ago and did not used it for a while…

  • Anonymous

    thats what i use. works great.

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    Thanks for the tip about getting the free upgrade to 25 Gig on SkyDrive.

    I have been using SkyDrive and seeing the service improve, including having the iPhone App.

    So, as far as bargains go, how can you beat 25 Gig for free??? LOL!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_332UTUJ77YDK6VGVJBUUFDU5H4 Shannon

    Since when does Dropbox give away 7GB for free? Mine is only 2.5GB…

    • Anonymous

      You are seeing the number for SkyDrive, but it is not your fault, the chart is not well formatted.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_332UTUJ77YDK6VGVJBUUFDU5H4 Shannon

        Oh, just noticed that. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AKChris82 Chris Williams

    I’d Have to Concur that iCloud IS….more secure & dropbox is just a Wonderful integration with iOS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000189805250 Zaw Win Htun

    Dropbox only offers 2gb of free space.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.dehaven Michael DeHaven

      Actually, it’s very easy to get more than 2gb of free space in dropbox by referrals and other methods that take minimal time. 25GB to be precise. Dropbox is seamless between all devices and computers. Also, it’s perfect for easily managing files you would like to be hosted for posting on forums and such.