1. Plans & Pricing
Both SugarSync and Dropbox have similar plans. You will find SugarSync a little cheaper if you go with their lower gigabyte plan. Both companies give discounts of 17% off when you sign up for a year.
- 60GB: $7.49/Month or $74.99/Year, unlimited computers, 1 user.
- 100GB: $9.99/Month or $99.99/Year, unlimited computers, 1 user.
- 250GB: $24.99/Month or $249.99/Year, unlimited computers, 1 user.
- 17% off with year commitment
- Pro: $55/Month or $550/Year, 1TB unlimited computers, 3 users(purchase up to 24 users).
- Custom: call to order.
- Free, 2GB’s, unlimited computers, 1 user
- Pro 100, $9.99, 100GB’s, unlimited computers, 1 user
- Pro 200, $19.99, 200GB’s, unlimited computers, 1 user
- Pro 300, $49.99, 300GB’s, unlimited computers, 1 user
- 17% off with year commitment
- Plans start at $795/Year, unlimited storage, unlimited computers, 5 users (pay per user added after that).
2. Software & User Interface
I am very impressed with both SugarSync’s and Dropbox’s design. Each company has spent a great deal of time and money getting their brand right. SugarSync has a more professional business look than Dropbox. Dropbox as a lighthearted design which works for their unique brand, but, at times, is over the top.
Look and Feel – Clean, refined, distinct green, black and gray coloring with easy to understand icons and buttons make the website and software very professional and navigable.
The software is small and only takes up a fraction of your total desktop. You cannot expand this to see more which is a limitation, but a minor one.
Organization – All of your synced folders are displayed on the main screen. Click a folder to see it’s options and make changes like who it’s shared with or which of your devices are synced with this folder.
Ease Of Use / Overall User Experience – SugarSync is welcoming and the interface helps them start syncing right away with a drag and drop functionality.
Look and Feel – The actual Dropbox folder is nothing special since it is just like any other Finder (on a Mac) or Windows Explorer (On Windows) folder.
The small application that drops down from the task bar is simple and to-the-point and looks clean. Nothing about the design stands out.
The Dropbox website design is unique and fun with hand drawn graphics and illustrations telling the story of Dropbox and how it works. This is incredible branding and design, but, at times it gets carried away and seems a little over the top. For example, the rainbow icon which represents the “Sharing” area of your Dropbox account was not relevant to the overall brand or the subject matter of sharing. It may seem minor, but over-branding can lead to bad usability.
Organization – The software layout and folder organization is easy to grasp and understand. All synced files are located inside of the Dropbox folder and any preferences you have can be changed by clicking the icon in the task bar, clicking the gear, then selecting “Preferences”.
Ease of Use / Overall User Experience – Users like Dropbox because it requires minimal user interaction to start syncing. You simply drag a file into the Dropbox folder and it is synced across all devices. It’s not much easier to use that SugarSync in that regard since SugarSync has added Drag and Drop functionality to their software.
3. File Syncing and Backups
SugarSync and Dropbox are very similar when it comes to their plans offered and what can be accomplished with syncing. You get around the same amount of sync space for the price but the real difference is in their syncing methodology. Dropbox gives you a one-stop location in which all your synced folders and files reside within.
This is where SugarSync really thrives. SugarSync gives you a utility which manages any folder you want to sync by giving you a central location to view all your sync folders. With a lot of other companies you have to spend time browsing for files and selecting different folders.
I like the way SugarSync lets you drag and drop files into the software and those are automatically turned into sync folders. With Dropbox all folders put into the sync folder are either duplicated from their original location or taken out of their original organization which can be detrimental to your file organization.
Share files by using the software or website. Click on a folder and select a share method. You can choose either public or private sharing. Public sharing gives you a URL that you can share via email or socially and people can view and download the files. Private sharing gives other SugarSync users access to that folder using their software and they can view and change files (based on the permissions you set up).
Managing synced and shared folders with SugarSync is easier because you can use their software interface to easily change which files are shared with Dropbox you have to use the website to change the settings on those folders.
Dropbox really makes syncing files easy, but has more limitations than SugarSync. The biggest is that you must transfer files into the Dropbox folder to sync them. No files outside of this folder will be synced. Like I mentioned previously this can lead to duplicate files and disorganizing your file structure in order to add folders into Dropbox.
Sharing files can be done through the website. It’s simple to do, but requires that you use a browser and login to your account. Sharing files on SugarSync is much easier since it can done from within the software.
4. File Restores
Neither SugarSync or Dropbox has a proper “restore” process. Unlike companies like Backblaze or JustCloud, there is no section builtin specifically to restore files. The way it works with SugarSync and Dropbox is by connecting any new device to your account and the files are automatically transferred to your new device. You can see your files and download them on the website.
The best way to restore using SugarSync is simply by installing the software and letting it sync with your device. You can also use the website, but that will require you to manually move folders back to their original positions. It would be better to use the software to manage where the folders go.
Restoring files with SugarSync is about 45MB’s a minute.
The ways to restore yourwith Dropbox is the exactly the same way; by reinstalling Dropbox and letting all the files repopulate. You can also use the website to download each folder if you prefer. Since Dropbox does not have a software interface like SugarSync’s, both method work equally as well.
Restoring files with Dropbox is about 94MB’s a minute
Support is better with SugarSync than with Dropbox. The main reason why I like it better is because they offer chat during normal business hours. Dropbox does not. They both offer email support, knowledgebase FAQ’s and forums.
You will get better support with SugarSync. I contacted them using chat and got a response within 4 to 5 minutes. They answered my question and a couple hours later another technician wrote me an email to follow up to see if all of my questions had been answered. This showed me that they are diligent in pleasing their customers.
Dropbox has a great knowledge base and forums, but you will wait ___ for an email response. It took them about ___ to get back with me with an answer to my question. The technician was ___ and it took ___ to resolve everything.
In terms of quality, design ease of use, syncing and restoring both companies are clear winners in their categories. However, when it comes to all around syncing methodology and technical support, SugarSync does a better job.
SugarSync gives you better management over your synced folders because the software does not require you to copy or move files out of their original structure into a central sync folder. Technical support can be reach within minutes instead of hours which resolves issues quicker.
Dropbox requires you to syncing files and folders using a central sync folder which everything must be put into. Technical support will take hours to respond to you via email, but they have an extensive FAQ’s which is easy to search and get answers to basic questions.
Steven is a web developer and online technology expert. He has built global networks and websites for fortune 500 companies. A graduate of Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, he now happily spends his time building Joomla and WordPress websites as well as reviewing online backup services, web hosting and anything else that needs reviewing.