Sync Review | PCMag

Sync will remind you of Dropbox again in its earlier, easier days. Whereas Dropbox retains including options after which has to beg individuals to make use of them, Sync is concentrated on one factor: syncing recordsdata. This app works quietly within the background, with none notifications or fixed prompts to improve. Every cloud storage and backup service in the marketplace can study from this method. Sync does its job within the background and stays out of your method, which is what a syncing service ought to do. 

The query is not actually whether or not Sync can compete with Dropbox, nonetheless, however whether or not it could possibly compete with a number of the largest names in tech that provide cloud storage and syncing, like Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Even in that aggressive market, Sync affords a compelling service, with a free account for people and paid accounts at a value that may very well be aggressive for companies. It’s not a slam-dunk determination to make use of Sync, particularly for those who’re already invested in one of many massive tech firms’ ecosystems. If you need one thing that is not tied to a tech big, although, Sync is nicely price contemplating, particularly as a result of it affords one thing none of these firms seemingly ever will: end-to-end encryption.

How Much Does Sync Cost?

Sync affords a free plan for people that comes with 5GB of storage, which isn’t solely beneficiant but in addition matches what different main opponents supply without cost, together with Microsoft OneDrive, iDrive, and Apple iCloud. Though Google Drive provides away 15GB of free storage, that area is utilized by each recordsdata you set into Google Drive in addition to recordsdata in Gmail and Google Photos. Dropbox affords solely 2GB of free storage. Overall, Sync sits alongside a number of the most beneficiant of free choices, significantly for those who use referral codes to stand up to 20GB free. 

Paid particular person plans for Sync begin at $96 per yr for Solo Basic, which affords 2TB of space for storing. That’s barely cheaper than related providers: Apple iCloud, Google One (Google’s most suitable choice for including extra space for storing to Drive), and Dropbox all cost $9.99 per thirty days for that quantity of space for storing for people. 

Team plans, supposed for companies that share recordsdata internally, begin at $72 per individual per yr for Teams Standard with 1TB of space for storing. That pricing is aggressive, however not essentially the most effective deal round. Microsoft OneDrive for Business affords 1TB of storage for $60 per individual per yr, which is cheaper. Google Workspace, which provides you the business-grade model of Google Drive, would not supply a 1TB plan, however its 2TB Business Standard plan prices $12 per individual per thirty days (equal to $144 per yr; you really pay month-to-month, although, which is not the case with the others). At that value, Google Workspace consists of e mail internet hosting, video conferences, and the remainder of Google’s workplace ecosystem. Dropbox’s most cost-effective marketing strategy is $180 per individual per yr, with a minimal of three individuals, for 5TB of storage every. That’s dearer general however cheaper per terabyte. 

For companies, Sync caters to a distinct segment group: companies that do not want greater than 1TB of space for storing. It’s a great deal even when the pricing is not essentially a slam dunk for each enterprise, and also you’re additionally not tied to any of the tech behemoths, which some may see as a bonus. 

Which Operating Systems Does Sync Support?

Sync affords desktop purchasers for Windows (XP via Windows 11) and macOS (10.6 Snow Leopard via 13 Ventura). Sync additionally has a cellular app for Android and iPhone. The net model of Sync works in Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. 

The solely factor lacking is a Linux shopper. The firm says it plans to make one, however for now Sync is not an possibility for Linux customers. 

(Credit: PCMag)

Getting Started With Sync

You want an account earlier than you’ll be able to set up Sync, although no bank card is required. After signing in, the online dashboard prompts you to put in the Sync utility in your units, which is simple. 

From there, you launch this system, sign up, and select the place the primary Sync folder will stay. This folder, which you can’t rename, is the place you set recordsdata and folders to sync them to the cloud and your different units. There aren’t any choices to sync recordsdata exterior this folder. A workaround helps you to use symbolic links(Opens in a new window) to sync different folders, however this methodology just isn’t formally supported and we do not suggest it.

A File Explorer windows on Windows when Sync is installed, showing syncing icons on files and folders

(Credit: PCMag)

Sync’s Simple Desktop Clients

I examined Sync on a laptop computer operating macOS and a desktop pc operating Windows 10. I additionally set it up on an Android gadget. The utility is straightforward to check as a result of it largely simply works. After setting it up you drag recordsdata to the Sync folder so as, which uploads them to the cloud. The icons for recordsdata on each Windows and macOS machines will present syncing or test mark icons, indicating whether or not all the pieces has been uploaded but.

The tray icon brings you to just lately synced recordsdata in addition to the settings. From right here you’ll be able to resolve whether or not the icon overlays in File Explorer or Finder present up, cap community pace, and select which folders ought to and shouldn’t sync to the present gadget.

One lacking characteristic is the flexibility to sync recordsdata instantly between units over LAN. Instead, all the pieces you wish to sync should be uploaded to the cloud earlier than it downloads to different units, even when these units are on the identical community as you. This is disappointing as a result of it’s one thing that Dropbox does very nicely. 

Windows client for Sync

(Credit: PCMag)

Sharing Files With Sync

You can right-click any file in your file browser to view it on the internet interface or to create a hyperlink for sharing it. Sharing, by default, creates a hyperlink that anybody can open no matter whether or not they have a Sync account. You can restrict entry to particular Sync customers within the net app, accessible by way of the right-click menu.

Managing entry to all of the recordsdata you’ve got shared—each with different Sync customers and hyperlinks that work for the general public—occurs on the Sync web site. You can set a file to be publicly obtainable however password-protected, so solely individuals you give the password to can entry it. You may also make it so that individuals can see the file with out being able to obtain it. These choices provide you with quite a lot of flexibility. Dropbox affords these similar sharing controls, however just for the Professional plan ($199 per yr) and better—Dropbox Basic, Plus, and Family accounts do not get them. Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive have some link-sharing controls, however not as many, and so they’re applied in a method that customers typically overlook to alter the settings. Sync is likely one of the finest cloud storage providers on the subject of having versatile instruments for sharing recordsdata, and also you get them even on the free tier of service.

Sync Speed Tests

I uploaded 505GB of recordsdata to Sync utilizing the Windows shopper, which took someday, 22 hours, and 25 minutes. That works out to a mean add time of 5 minutes and 31 seconds per gigabyte. At this tempo, you’ll be able to add 2TB in round seven and a half days.

For context, I ran the take a look at on a Windows 10 desktop with a mechanical onerous drive connected to my native community by way of ethernet. My residence web add pace is 50mbps.

Based on my take a look at outcomes, Sync is slower than IDrive, which in my assessments uploaded at a mean price of 1GB in 3 minutes and 24 seconds. Box uploaded 98.7GB of recordsdata in 6 hours and 4 minutes, which means a price of 16.1GB per hour, so rather less than 4 minutes per gigabyte.

Elephant Drive was the slowest in testing, importing 1GB of recordsdata from a NAS in a mean of quarter-hour. Based on that determine, a terabyte of information may take roughly 10 days to add. With ElephantDrive, all recordsdata are encrypted earlier than importing, that means the CPU impacts the switch pace from starting to finish. So your speeds will differ.

Even Simpler Mobile Apps

For the cellular model, I examined Sync on an Android cellphone. You can browse and obtain recordsdata, simply as you’ll be able to from the Sync net portal. The purpose to put in this app is to obtain recordsdata for offline entry. Unlike the desktop shopper, which syncs all recordsdata by default, the cellular app solely syncs recordsdata you specify, which is according to how different functions in the marketplace work. 

An non-compulsory setting for importing all of your photographs out of your gadget to your account is useful, simply as it’s in Dropbox, Google Drive, and different opponents. With Sync, nonetheless, you do not get annoying prompts encouraging you to allow picture syncing, which makes it even nicer. One extra characteristic cellular customers will recognize is the flexibility to lock down the app with a four-digit passcode or biometrics—an added degree of safety for anybody who shops delicate recordsdata of their cloud providers. 

Is Sync Safe and Secure? 

All Sync file transfers are encrypted utilizing a 2,048-bit RSA key in your gadget earlier than being uploaded, that means the corporate doesn’t have entry to your recordsdata and even the metadata. Even the online model of Sync decrypts recordsdata regionally, which provides to the app’s safety. Sync claims in a whitepaper(Opens in a new window) that its zero-knowledge storage platform units it aside from Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, all of which permit some type of backdoor entry to recordsdata to workers or automated programs. 

All Sync plans are compliant with SOC 2 Type 1, GDPR, and PIPEDA, which is vital for companies working internationally. Most paid plans are compliant with HIPAA, which is crucial for American healthcare companies. 

Size Limits, Online Editing, and Other Features

Sync doesn’t restrict the dimensions of particular person recordsdata. Basically, if a file can slot in your space for storing, you’ll be able to add it. Sync’s documentation(Opens in a new window) mentions that importing a file bigger than 40GB may decelerate the functions for some time; Sync additionally doesn’t suggest attempting to add massive recordsdata utilizing the online shopper, however there isn’t any formal restrict to file sizes. This places Sync in the identical class as Google Drive and Dropbox, which additionally do not restrict recordsdata by measurement. Microsoft OneDrive, in the meantime, limits recordsdata to 250GB; Apple’s iCloud limits recordsdata to 50GB Sync additionally would not have any form of each day bandwidth restrict. 

Sync affords a Vault, which is for recordsdata you wish to retailer on-line however do not wish to sync between units. Files could be moved to the vault within the net model of the app.

One benefit of utilizing a web-based cloud storage and file syncing service from Google or Microsoft is that every one the enhancing instruments you want to your recordsdata are tightly embedded into the system, and so they help collaborative enhancing. Sync would not supply built-in on-line enhancing, although you’ll be able to connect Sync to a Microsoft account(Opens in a new window) to make enhancing in Word, Excel, and different on-line Office apps nearer to seamless. Box additionally affords the choice to connect with workplace apps for enhancing, as does Dropbox.

All Synced Up

Sync’s free model is ideal for longtime customers of Dropbox who’re pissed off with adjustments to that utility—particularly free customers. Sure, Dropbox’s varied extra options are helpful for paid customers, however the free model of Dropbox doesn’t supply as a lot space for storing and limits customers to syncing between three units. Sync provides you extra space for storing and syncs between 5 units, which for a lot of might be purpose sufficient to change.

People prepared to pay, although, ought to try Editors’ Choice winner Microsoft OneDrive, which affords extra storage for much less cash, and is a no brainer possibility for those who’re already paying for Microsoft 365. Google Drive, one other Editors’ Choice, is a greater choose for those who’re a die-hard Google consumer. And iDrive, our ultimate Editors’ Choice winner, affords the most effective value per gigabyte. Sync has a spot, nonetheless, and is a pretty possibility for individuals who need a acquainted different to Dropbox that is not from a tech big.


  • Simple and efficient

  • No particular person file-size restrict

  • Client-side encryption means firm cannot entry your recordsdata

  • Works quietly and unobtrusively

  • Supports syncing on as much as 5 units


  • No direct native space community syncing

  • No Linux app

  • Limit of 5 units per account, even paid

The Bottom Line

Individual free customers pissed off with Dropbox’s limitations ought to swap to Sync, which affords an easier strategy to keep present variations of your recordsdata throughout as many as 5 units. It’s additionally a strong and safe possibility for companies.

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