AppsFeaturesGood and EVOReviews

Cloud storage wars: Who’s got the best Android app? [Updated]

Cloud-wars

Since Google Drive was unveiled yesterday, a lot of other tech blogs have focused on comparing Google's new cloud storage service to some of the most popular competitors that already exist. A lot of the talk has been on price per gigabye for paid storage (Google wins that one, hands down), but not a lot is being discussed about the Android apps themselves.

Because this is a blog all about the HTC EVO, I thought it might be interesting to compare the Android apps side-by-side: not necessarily the services themselves, but the experiences they offer to mobile Android users. If you're interested in my results, and who the winner is, check out the table below.

Cloudchart

Click the image above for the full-size chart.

As you can see, when comparing the four biggest players in cloud storage, all have certain strengths and weaknesses. As far as free initial storage space, Dropbox offers the least, with a paltry 2GB, but on the other hand, they also are the most generous with bonus storage that you can earn exclusively by using the mobile app.

Google Drive is more focused on business users, offering the ability to edit and view documents without leaving the app, while SugarSync seems more focused on making your music available to you wherever you are. Only Dropbox and SugarSync offer you the ability to automatically upload photos and videos that you take with your phone, although Google's companion app, Google+, will do this automatically (and it won't take up any room in your Google Drive if you do it that way).

If sharing your files or folders is important to you, all but Google Drive will generate a shareable link, although SugarSync and Dropbox take it one step further by integrating more seamlessly into social networks like Facebook. (Box requires you to copy and paste the link if you want to post it to Facebook.) Google Drive, however, offers some pretty nice collaboration tools.

The winner: SugarSync. Based on the criteria above, SugarSync comes out ahead in 7 out of 9 categories.

The runner-up: Dropbox. This popular service comes in second place, winning in 5 out of 9 categories.

Of course, take this with a grain of salt: different people like different cloud storage services for different reasons. What works for one person might not work for another.

Personally, I've been using SugarSync for the past year to sync most of my personal and work documents, because I find its Android app, PC client, and web interface to be the most robust. I also enjoy the fact that it can keep any file and any folder in sync, rather than only syncing a single special folder. However, I still use Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) for collaborative documents, such as household budget spreadsheets that I share with my partner. For pictures, I use Picasa (there's unlimited, free storage when you upload photos using Google+ or the Picasa desktop client on the PC), and for music, I use Google Play Music.

This set-up works for me: I haven't paid a dime to anyone for extra storage, and I've yet to run up against the storage limits. But this might not work for everyone. So if you want to try these services out for yourself, check out the links below, and be sure to let us know which one you end up using!

Update: Added Dropbox's social network sharing capabilities, which bumped it into second place.

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First place: SugarSync

Qrc-sugarsync
Download: Google Play

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Second place: Dropbox

Qrc-dropbox
Download: Google Play

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Third place: Google Drive

Qrc-googledrive
Download: Google Play

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Fourth place: Box

Qrc-box
Download: Google Play

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

Avatar of John F

32 thoughts on “Cloud storage wars: Who’s got the best Android app? [Updated]

  • Personally, for music and images I use Google music for streaming music(If I had to- I use local SD storage), Google picasa (via the photosync app by Akira Soumi) to sync pictures from Evo to Picasa to Jetstream and vice versa.

    I believe dropbox wins here because of HTC’s integration with the company(I’m biased), and its ability to share the files, and if you have a new HTC, you get the 25gb storage. Which, I don’t know who really needs all that storage apart from storing mp3s.

    I don’t want to navigate between more than two providers anyway. I have everything on google picasa, music, docs. All in one place.

    Reply
  • Yes, I should note that this will probably change one the EVO 4G LTE is released, with its tight integration with Dropbox.

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  • Dropbox does actually have an in-app viewer for files. Text editor for most document file types, and an image editor for quick view.

    Reply
  • Avatar of arsunion274

    John, I like the way you broke down cloud apps. Maybe you should do this for other app comparisons as well. I think it might prove useful for people who are trying to decide which app is best for what they need/price etc…

    Nice job!

    Reply
  • …and after careful examination of the chart, should Dropbox also tie Sugar Sync with the sharing of files and folders?

    Any file in Dropbox, click Share, and it brings up the standard Android Share menu, allowing the posting to any social network app you have installed.

    Reply
  • One specific question–you mention Picasa has “unlimited, free storage when you upload photos using Google+ or the Picasa desktop client on the PC”. That’s not correct…you are limited to your Google storage amount. I specifically paid to upgrade my storage to use Picasa as my backup system.

    I think what you’re refering to is the ability to have free uploads if they’re under a certain resolution.

    Reply
  • Question: what about max file size per app? Total storage is listed but I don’t see maximum file size (such as box is 100mb)

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  • Wait….I’m an idiot…never mind lol

    Reply
  • What?? Can you tell me how the extra 3GB works with dropbox? I have dropbox and I use the Android app, but all I have is 2GB of storage. I want my 5GB!

    oh, and jaymoon is correct that dropbox does have an in-app text editor/viewer.

    Reply
  • The chart doesn’t tell the whole story IMO… Does Sugarsync do version control btw?

    AFAIK most of the services have a 2GB file limit except Drive who I think goes up to 10GB, could be wrong. Also, Dropbox has a basic text file editor. Dropbox’s basic sharing is far simpler than Stove’s which dumps you tonthe web interface, what’s simpler than right click, click, and paste? Dunno how Sugar handles that…

    You should also list Dropbox’s referral bonus, between that and the other 1GB bonus off the tutorial and social media links I’m up to 23GB, for free. I’m pretty bullish on Dropbox because the simplified interface makes it one of the easiest to use, they’re definitely gonna have to keep improving or drop their prices tho, otherwise Drive will lap them.

    Lastly, I think I read files saved for offline use in Drive are only accessible by Drive itself since theyre stored in a special cache a la Google Music… If that is accurate its a huge downside, makes it more of a pain to msnipulate files.

    Reply
  • You have to upload 2.5GB of content via the picture auto upload feature, Google it.

    Reply
  • Avatar of ATLANTA

    Cloud vader the rebels are resisting ,… help me obi wan help me Luke micro your father is cloud vader…. micro my child we shall rule the universe as cloud and micro come with me to the darkside …….. Out burst from micro crying ..never

    Reply
  • You are right about sharing to social networks! (These charts are hard to make, you know!) I’m working on updating the article.

    However, I’m still not seeing an in-app document editor. When you open Word docs through Dropbox, for example, it subsequently opens Polaris (or whatever other document editor you’ve installed on your phone).

    Reply
  • Yes, I’m referring to uploads under a certain resolution – desktop Picasa software can do this automatically for you when it backs up to the Picasa cloud, so in essence, you can set it so that you can have unlimited storage by automatically uploading everything at a reduced resolution.

    Sorry if that wasn’t clear! I didn’t specify it in the article, since this is about Android apps, not PC software. :-)

    Reply
  • The 3GB supposedly comes if you automatically upload pics and videos to your Dropbox. I think it comes in 500MB increments.

    Where are you seeing the in-app editor/viewer? When I just tried to open a Microsoft Word document in Dropbox, it immediately opened in Polaris.

    Reply
  • SugarSync saves a certain number of previous file versions, and those previous versions don’t count toward your storage quota (I don’t remember how many versions off the top of my head, but you can Google it.)

    I didn’t list Dropbox’s referral bonuses because I was trying to keep it as simple as possible, and stick to bonus storage that you can get exclusively by using the app (referral bonuses require someone with a desktop PC to register, download/install the software, etc. – you can’t get them exclusively through Android).

    Reply
  • Avatar of ATLANTA

    Yoda digits says their is a strong movement in the digital forces be careful of the dark side apprentice

    Reply
  • Nevermind – I see it. Looks like it only works for basic text files, not .docx. Google Drive beats it in that regard, still!

    Reply
  • There’s some more like Cabonite and Crash Protection that I think offer mobile solutions – would like to see the list expanded to include as many as possible.

    Reply
  • You might already have Polaris set as default, maybe the Dropbox text editor only opens actual txt files or older .doc formats, not sure.

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  • Blah, was meant as reply for one of your other replies but I see you figured it out now anyway.

    Reply
  • You also forgot ASUS Webstorage (www.asuswebstorage.com). They have a PC app and Android App & Widget that syncs multiple folders across all devices. They also have an app that plays music directly from your webstorage. Sharing of folders/files consists of a shareable link I believe. It comes with 2GB free (unless you sign up from an ASUS device, then you start with 8GB for life. You can get half a gig bonus for everyone you refer up to 10GBs. If you need more space, you get 50GBs for $50/1yr, $90/2yrs, or 500GBs for $100/1yr, $180/2yrs. Had it for a couple weeks and I like it so far.

    Reply
  • Empire Stikes Back ….. Stay tuned to the battle of the storage wars …….. This,break was brought to u by Verizon wireless

    Reply
  • Yeah, it’s a shame too cause it’s pretty nice, plus they gave old users 25GB for free if they opt in this month… Lucked out there, had an account I never used so I was able to get it. I’ll probably use it to back up important files I rarely access, maybe in an encrypted volume.

    Reply
  • I have dropbox and Box installed, though I rarely need any of them. But I did take advantage of the box offer of 50GB free for android users for a limited time period. That should earn the company several extra-points

    Reply
  • I’ve been looking for these comparisons. Great information to digest. I am a Google fan but open to trying others.

    Reply
  • sugarsync crashes and slows my two computers. yuck. dropbox is invisible and fast.

    Reply
  • Hmm – never had that problem with SugarSync, and I have had it for over a year now. It has always run flawless, and keeps improving with each update!

    Reply
  • Avatar of PatThompson

    I was SO disappointed when I discovered that Dropbox shrinks the file size of my synched photos from my HTC phone! It was great to have the auto-synch, but the smaller file size makes them pretty useless for printing any larger than a 4×6…can’t project them either because of the reduced resolution!

    Reply

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