Dropbox is an online data backup service known more for seamless sync and share features than for comprehensive data backup solutions. Comparable to the best online data backup services, it uses the incremental backup method. This method records only the changes made since the last incremental backup, which makes for faster backups that require less space. In addition, these backups are continuous and automatic – as soon as you save a changed document, it's backed up to the cloud and mirrored to the devices with Dropbox installed.

Dropbox records an unlimited number of file versions, which allows you to restore a document to prior versions – an important feature for documents that often change. With file archiving, you can change your files without fear that the changes will ruin the document because you can return to previous versions. However, unless you purchase the Packrat add-on, you'll only be able to restore versions recorded with the last 30 days of the files history.

The best feature of Dropbox is the sync and file sharing. Not only does Dropbox have apps for all the major mobile devices, but also many apps and software programs have integrated Dropbox into their functions, making it a very versatile data backup solution. The sync feature allows you to have your folders mirrored to your other computers and devices. This means that you can work on a document from your desktop and then work on the same file on your laptop without having to use a thumb drive to transfer the file between computers.

Similar to file syncing, file sharing allows you to have folders mirrored on other people's computers. This is useful for collaboration with co-workers or for student projects where multiple users need to make changes to files. Just like the syncing feature, every time a file changes in the share folder, everyone's receives the changes. In addition, the public linking feature allows you to share files with friends and family but doesn't allow them to make changes. This is an excellent feature for sharing large video or photo files of your kids with your parents.

The only major data backup feature missing with Dropbox is the ability to create an image backup of your operating system, settings and installed software. In the event of a complete system malfunction or a stolen computer, a system image backup allows you to restore everything to a new computer. Dropbox only allows you to restore data like documents, photos, music and videos.

While you can sign-up for a 2GB free account, Dropbox only offers subscriptions up to 500GB. For an unlimited storage account, you have to purchase a business account with a minimum of five users. However, there is no limit to the size of the file that you can backup or share.

Dropbox also lacks significant help and support features. Should you have any problems, there isn't a phone number or live chat service dedicated to helping you. Instead, you have to submit a ticket or email support.

Dropbox Summary:

Dropbox's incremental and continuous backup features make for fast data backups and effective sync and sharing capabilities. In addition, the share and sync features make it a data backup service for remote collaborations with students, co-workers and friends. However, it lacks an unlimited data plan and a full system restore, which are features you'd get with the best online data backup services.


Dropbox 2.6.10

The file sharing features allow you to collaborate with people remotely and share large files.

It lacks a complete system restore and only keeps the last thirty days of archived files.

The Verdict:

Dropbox is a great online data backup service for syncing devices and sharing files, especially when it comes to remote collaboration. However, it lacks unlimited storage and several important backup and restore features that you'd get with the best data backup services.