Dropbox vs. Amazon Cloud Drive – Which one is Better? (A Detailed Comparison)

dropbox-vs-amazon-cloud-drive

Amazon recently launched its Cloud Storage solution – Amazon Cloud Drive, And it is of-course meant to compete with Dropbox, which is currently the leader of cloud storage provider. A simple reason for this is its simplicity and it was the first of a kind to offer cloud service in such a non-geeky way.

Dropbox offers plenty of features but Amazon too has its own advantages over the previous. So is it better than Dropbox? Lets check out.

1. User Interface


Dropbox


dropbox interface

Dropbox offers a very compact web Interface with a useful sidebar on the left showing information, tips etc, including a search bar too. I like its Tabbed interface for doing different stuffs like recovering deleted files or restoring an old revision of a file.

  • Sharing files with others is one of its strongest feature. Select a file and get a shareable link.
  • Multiple files can be downloaded at once in a zipped file
  • Has a great desktop app which offers instantaneous syncing of files, which is a charm.

Amazon Cloud Drive


amazon cloud drive interface

Now talking about Amazon, after creating an account, you’re welcomed by a CAPTCHA, asking you to fill it in order to continue. Looks like Amazon wants to confirm if a bot isn’t uploading files to their drives. Okay, done!

Unlike Dropbox, it offers a full-screen window experience for managing files and folders.

  • How do I share files with others? It’s not possible. Atleast a shareable link for files is a must.
  • Multiple files cannot be downloaded at once. So if I have several files and I want to download theme, I’ll have to choose ‘em and hit the download button one-by-one.
  • No options for Account Settings.

It would have been better if the upload button was present at the top instead on the left sidebar because thats where I usually tend to look for buttons. Anyways, that’s my personal taste.

Winner: Dropbox!

2. Download and Upload Speed

dropbox-uploading

I am behind a 2Mbit Internet connection which is sufficient for most of my needs. I tested both the services by uploading and downloading a 14.27 MB (.flv) Video. Here’s the statistics:

speed-comparison-dropbox-vs-amazon-cloud-drive

Although both Dropbox and Cloud Drive are based on Amazon’s S3 cloud services, Dropbox managed to give better speeds in both the cases.

Dropbox
Avg. Speed – Download: 201 KB/s | Upload: 53.3 KB/s

Amazon Cloud Drive
Avg. Speed –  Download: 130 KB/s |  Upload: 45.6 KB/s

 

Winner: Dropbox!

3. Plans and Pricing

pricing-comparison-dropbox-vs-amazon-cloud-drive

When compared to Dropbox, Amazon provides a more flexible pricing system, with a total of 7 plans against Dropbox’s just 4.

Moreover, the plans are very cost-efficient and cost way less than what dropbox offers. For example, if I want to extend my storage by 100 GB, I’ll have to pay Dropbox $199 per year, but for Amazon, I only need to pay half the price of it – just 100 bucks.

Winner: Amazon Cloud Drive!

4. Features

features comparison

Pros and Cons (in bullet style)


Dropbox


Pros
  1. IT JUST WORKS! It’s simple, it ’s interface is neat and it doesn’t contain any crap.
  2. It preserves every single revision of files.
  3. Cloud Streaming” of music directly from the cloud.
  4. Files can be shared with others.
Cons
  1. Files outside the Dropbox folder cannot be synced.
  2. No settings for File Permissions.

Amazon Cloud Drive


Pros
  1. Songs purchased from Amazon Music store are saved directly to your Amazon Cloud Drive, never count toward your storage limit and are always stored free of charge.
  2. Brand Power.
Cons
  1. No HTML based upload. Why amazon?
  2. Cannot share files and folders with other users. Dang!
  3. Account Management options are next to none.
  4. Amazon Cloud Player” for streaming music from the cloud is limited to US customers only. Again, Why amazon, Why?

(P.S.: GigaOM has a nice review of Amazon Cloud Player, maybe you should check it.)

Winner: Dropbox!

5. Final Words

Dropbox – 3 | Amazon Cloud Drive – 1

Clearly the winner is Dropbox.

Currently, Amazon is in no state to compete with Dropbox. It lacks some essential features and most importantly, a desktop client. I cannot always stick to the browser to browse my files. The value added features of dropbox sets it apart from Amazon and every single of other cloud storage providers

However Amazon is focusing more on its Music integration, heavily orienting to music lovers. Looks like it wants to fight with Apple’s MobileMe?

Comments

  1. Tom says

    Saket,

    I’d like to have 20 – 30 people able to upload, view, and download files (probably mostly Word&Excel) to a common cloud storage place. Are these services (Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Player, Google Docs, etc.) capable of doing this? I’m specifically thinking of a Scout Troop that could use the same login and password and have the storage accessible through a browser.

    Can you give some guidance? Thanks, Tom

    • Saket says

      The answer is Yes! Dropbox and Google Docs are capable of what you’re looking for.

      In Dropbox, there’s an option to share a folder with a friend. When you do the same, your friend(s) can view, upload and also download the files. This way, your troop can collaborate with each other efficiently.

      In Google Docs too, you can share word and excel files with several people. They all can view, edit or download it.

      If your files mainly consist of Word and other document formats, then go for Google Docs. Straight and simple to use. Else, Dropbox is good.
      Lemme know if you’ve any more question :)

  2. Zamiel says

    A few things are wrong or outdated here.

    First of all, iOS on iPad supports the web-based Cloud Drive Player. It’s very nice. It can run in the background, it’s optimized for iOS, and it even uses the iOS media controls (double-click Home, swipe to the right to see them) to switch tracks in Cloud Drive Player. No, there’s no App, but the Web-based Cloud Drive Player is iPad-specific and can easily be made into an App Icon on your Home screen.

    Second, you kind of gloss over the fact that Amazon Cloud Drive offers UNLIMITED storage for music for any paid plan. That means for $20 you can store your entire music library in the Amazon Cloud Drive. I did it (40GB of music) and though it took a couple days of uploading, this total *does not count against your space* on Amazon Cloud Drive. That means that after uploading 40GB of music to my Cloud Drive, I’ve still got 20GB available for other kinds of files. Not a bad deal, eh?

    I don’t think I’m going to need to upload 20GB of documents any time soon. This was primarily for music, and in that case Amazon wins hands down.

    • Saket says

      Hi Daniel. Its been a while since I wrote this post so things may have changed with Amazon. And also, since I don’t live in the US, I couldn’t try out Cloud Drive Player. Looks like they’ve added some support for HTML5 for iOS?

      And yes, Amazon Cloud Drive seems to be more leaned towards music lovers.

    • holtram says

      Hi Zamiel-

      I too am taking advantage of the unlimited music storage option, but as I read it this perk will expire after the 1-year 20 gb plan we purchased. In other words when we go to re-up next year, we’ll have to pay for all the storage at that point. I hope I’m wrong about that, does anybody else know for sure?

  3. Vasilis says

    Hi- My biggest concerns with cloud storage are security and privacy. It seems that none of the comparisons look closely at that. The trend acts as if we put all our private data into cloud storage for easy access across mediums, but my data includes sensitive material. None of the services seem to explicitly assure me of the privacy of my data, nor guarantee its security. I worry that like Google has been found to do in the past, these services are conducting mass analysis of the user data in order to formulate advertising trends, et al and also may be storing details that may be considered private or may be hacked and stolen by others. your thoughts on this would be welcome, and also if you know of any service that does explicitly guarantee privacy of your data.

  4. Jacko says

    I have been using both.
    A point to consider is the security, point for Amazon (Dropbox have problems with deduplication practices)

    Regards!

  5. Nathan Brazil says

    I only upload encrypted files. It works great for an encrypted KeePass database file to keep your password managers sync’ed across many computers.

    I always look at the business model. What does Amazon gain by letting you keep all your music up there for free? Some possibilities might include analyzing your music tastes, analyzing the files to see if they are CD rips, bootlegs, or otherwise determine origin. Sell that data to someone? Refer back to rule #1, “if you aren’t the customer, you are the product”

    NB

  6. Phoenix says

    Not being able to share files/folders makes Amazon useless. It’s just backup, and for that backblaze.com is unbeatable. Google Drive will eat everyone’s lunch. In a couple of months, I expect it to be as good as or better than Dropbox, and it’s already cheaper.

  7. Shafiqul says

    I’ve been using Dropbox for a long time and I love it. Its fast, easy and incredibly usufel.It’s a marvel for keeping my files synchronized between multiple desktops & laptops, automatically works anywhere I can snag an internet connection, requires no user intervention at all, allows me to share files (on a controlled basis) and provides online access to my files when I’m not using one of my own computers.Even if you have only one computer and therefore think synchronization isn’t important, it’s at least 2gb of free and very easy automatic online backup.By the way, there are easy steps to increase the FREE storage beyond the initial 2gb limit. Just check out their website.

  8. John says

    Dropbox is a fabulous serivce, esp. for the price. The free iPhone app is a killer app, too, for its ability to view files of various types on the iPhone.If you use the following referrer code, you’ll get an extra 250 Mb on your initial sign-up. (and BTW, I’ll get an addition 250 Mb too, so thank you!)It’s Win-Win!

  9. Giuliano Pisapippa says

    more than an hour to upload only 70 Mb audio file, both on google drive and on dropbox. Are we living in 2012 or in ancient Egypt?

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