If you are looking for an online storage solution, then there are two popular options available to you right now: Amazon Cloud Drive and Dropbox.
Amazon Cloud Drive, now simply called “Amazon Drive,” is intended to store photos and files in one secured location. Once the files are uploaded, they can be accessed from any device thanks to the Amazon app.
Dropbox offers a similar experience for its customers. It can store photos and files of any type while syncing the availability of those files to various devices. That includes accessing the file through a browser if you don’t have the platform setup on your device. All you need is your login name and password to access the file.
Although there are a lot of similarities in what Amazon Drive and Dropbox offer to consumers, there are some key differences to think about as well. That way you can determine which option is better for you in the Amazon Cloud Drive vs Dropbox debate.
1. Available Storage
Amazon Drive offers customers of Amazon a tiered approach for the amount of storage that is available to them.
- All customers receive the free 5 GB Amazon digital storage plan. That allows consumers to upload photos, files, videos, and additional items onto all personal devices.
- For those who are members of Amazon Prime, unlimited photo storage is included as a feature. The 5 GB of storage is then used for videos and other types of files.
- There is a 100 GB digital storage plan available for about $12 per year that expands the storage capabilities. Prime members don’t have their photographs count toward this storage maximum.
- There is also a 1 TB plan available for about $60 per year with the same stipulations. Users can add an additional 1 TB for another $60 per year, with unlimited upgrades available.
Dropbox offers a free solution as well to consumer, but they provide 2 GB of storage on their free plan. Where Dropbox differs is their referral program. A basic free account can earn 500 MB of additional storage space for every friend that tries Dropbox from their recommendation. The 2 GB of storage can be expanded to 16 GB of storage and still be free to the user.
The premium plans offered by Dropbox take a tiered approach as well.
- Dropbox Plus is $8.25 per month and increases personal storage space to 1 TB. It includes a remote device wipe feature, two-factor authentication, and numerous collaboration tools.
- Dropbox Professional offers the same storage space, but additional collaboration tools and priority chat support for $16.58 per month.
- Dropbox Business comes in a standard ($12.50 per user) or advanced ($20 per user) format that is billed monthly. Standard offers 2 TB of space, while the advanced plan offers unlimited storage. Only the advanced plan offers phone support.
2. File Access
Amazon Drive allows users to have a secured back-up for their files and photos. Even if their device is lost or damaged, the files will remain in the cloud for retrieval later on. Files can be uploaded individually or through file batches, allowing mobile devices to have more storage space available while the files are still accessible anywhere and at any time.
Dropbox provides a similar experience, but without the need to have an app perform the work. Users can drag-and-drop files into their Dropbox account through a browser. They can also setup Dropbox as a findable folder on their computer and certain mobile devices. Then those files will sync after they are shared so the updated version is always available to view.
With Amazon Drive, you must move files and replace previous versions to see the current version. Dropbox performs this task automatically for you.
There is a syncing client in place with Amazon Drive that performs in a similar way to Dropbox in recent updates, which should improve this key feature over time.
3. Available Features
Amazon Drive relies upon an upload tool to transfer files to cloud storage. The reverse is required for downloading as well. Whenever the most recent file is wanted across all devices, users must manually download the updated file from the cloud. You can view your uploaded videos and photos within the browser of app, get sharing links or send link redirects, or restore deleted files with the service.
Dropbox provides a similar user experience. You also receive a desktop folder that automatically downloads files and syncs changes. Sharing links can be obtained from the desktop folders with a single right-click. With the Pro plan, users can also change sharing access permissions.
With Dropbox, collaboration invites are also possible to edit specific files in a specific folder. Microsoft Office documents can even be opened in the browser for editing in recent updates.
4. File Restoration
Amazon Drive allows for file restoration at any point for any file. As long as the file has been uploaded, a record of it remains forever. That makes it an effective backup for something that may have been deleted, but must be recalled at a later date.
Dropbox offers a similar solution, but the recovery period varies based on the subscription that is being utilized. You can restore deleted files on this platform from 30 days to 120 days after the deletion occurs. Where Dropbox has a slight advantage is that file versioning is included as a backup option as well, which is something that Amazon Drive does not offer.
5. Average Upload and Download Speeds
Amazon Drive has a reputation for over-performing with their upload and download speeds, while Dropbox tends to be a bit slower than the subscriber’s connection. Download throttling is permitted, but users must access this feature through their Amazon toolbar. Notifications are provided to users through the taskbar as well.
Although Dropbox is a little slower when it comes to accessing files, there are bandwidth controls available to users for uploads or downloads. That means you don’t need to dedicate all of your bandwidth resources to the file upload or download that is taking place. Users can throttle it to a specific percentage so that other tasks can be accomplished.
Neither Amazon Drive or Dropbox offer NAS support.
6. Mobile App Availability
Amazon Drive is available on all Kindle devices and Amazon tablets. Their app is available for Android and iOS devices as well. Desktop and laptop users can access their storage through their preferred browser when accessing their Amazon account.
Dropbox offers expanded availability, including BlackBerry and Windows mobile devices. The Dropbox app can also be installed on Kindle Fire devices, though the link to download the app must be sent via text or email.
7. File Security
Amazon Drive utilizes an encrypted transfer protocol to ensure the data being sent to the cloud is not easily accessible to nefarious intent. There is no server-side encryption available, however, and there is no at-rest encryption provided. When synchronizing files, block-level file copying is used to improve download speeds.
Amazon uses two-factor authentication for login credentials and their cloud uses the same server network that is used for internal company data and Amazon S3.
Dropbox provides encrypted storage and offers an encrypted transfer as well. A minimum of 128-bit AES encryption is used when transferring files and storage is with 256-bit encryption. Two-factor authentication is provided as well to decrease the risks of unauthorized access to the uploaded files.
Personal encryption and zero-knowledge encryption are not features currently offered by either Amazon Drive or Dropbox.
Note: you can encrypt your files on your own with a service, such as Boxcryptor, to increase security on this key point.
Amazon Drive does not provide collaboration tools. You can preview files with their service, but it is an individualized service. You can store music, but not play it. There are no productivity integrations.
Dropbox does offer productivity integrations, such as allowing Microsoft Office documents to be opened and edited within the web browser. The file versioning feature makes it a lot easier to know when someone has been in the file and updated it. That makes it possible to share information quickly and easily while staying productive.
Amazon Cloud Drive vs Dropbox: Which Is Better?
For Amazon Prime members, the storage provided by Amazon Drive is a wonderful benefit. Although the free plan is capped at 5 GB of file storage, photographs do not count toward this cap. That means there is free and unlimited storage of certain files that is available.
Dropbox offers a viable free plan as well, but with 3 GB of less storage space offered to consumers. Additional storage space can be purchased, but at a cost that is not as competitive. There are better security options, but the syncing benefits have been reduced as Amazon has worked to upgrade their service.
For the average person, Dropbox may be a better overall solution. For Amazon customers, Amazon Drive is a no-brainer selection since it is free and offers unlimited options.
How do you feel about Amazon Cloud Drive and Dropbox?