At one time comparing Carbonite and Dropbox would have been pointless since they both solved different problems. Carbonite solved the backup problem and Dropbox solved a storage and sync problem. Previously if you needed a backup solution Carbonite would have been a clear winner between the two and if you needed a storage or sync solution clearly Dropbox was your winner. If you needed both you were looking at getting both services but with the rise of mobile and the recent release of Carbonite Currents this is not nearly as clear.
The comparison has changed between Carbonite and Dropbox for several reasons, first is how important mobile is becoming. Both services offer mobile apps on Android, iOS and even Blackberry. Carbonite offers a mobile app that was an access only app. You could browse the files of your backup from your desktop, but the latest version of the Carbonite mobile app lets you automatically backup photos and videos, access your backed up data, locate your device on a map, sound the ringer in case you have misplaced your phone, lock the screen on your device using a pin, remotely activate the camera and remotely wipe your device if you have lost it. The update to the latest Carbonite app is only the start.
If you look at some of the other Carbonite apps available on Android and iOS there is also Currents which extends Carbonite to syncing files between your desktop/laptop and all your devices including your mobile, allows you to share files with others and even collaborate with others on the same file. The last mobile app from Carbonite, SnapSync allows you to keep your photos and videos in sync between your mobile devices.
The downside is you need to install multiple apps on your mobile and or desktop to get the extra features. You would need the Carbonite backup client to backup your files and the Currents client to sync files between your desktop and other computers and your mobile devices. While not a huge issue it does add extra applications to your machines. With the Carbonite backup client all your files should be available in the mobile app so you don’t need to remember to copy it to one specific folder. Need to edit the file you can download it, edit it and it will be added to Currents to sync back to your computer.
The Dropbox mobile app allows you to access the files in your Dropbox folder, upload your photos and videos from your mobile, easily share your photos and docs, save email attachments straight to your Dropbox on you device and edit docs in your Dropbox. What the Dropbox app does not actually do it sync your files from your desktop to your device unless you favorite the files then it will download them to your device. The app will upload a file back to your Dropbox on your mobile if you edit it, depending on the type of file. The biggest downside to Dropbox is you only have access to the files in your Dropbox folder. Forget to add a file you need to your Dropbox folder you will not be able to access it.
Carbonite has continually added new features and options to their mobile lineup and they have moved from just backup to also offering storage and sync with the new apps. When Dropbox first released their mobile app they would have been in the lead but Carbonite has over taken Dropbox as far as mobile access and sync goes. If you use Carbonite for your backup solution there is simply no need for Dropbox anymore.
The second reason it is now more practical to compare Carbonite vs Dropbox is because of the release of Carbonite Currents. Carbonite Currents is not just about syncing files to mobile, it syncs files between your computers similar to Dropbox with some differences of course. Currents does not sync a specific folder it syncs files that have been modified within 30 days so you have access to all of your current working files. This is a different approach to file sync and could be very useful for certain people. Why sync all your files if you don’t need them.
Thanks to BackupComparison.com, Cloud Storage Buzz sister site, I grabbed the comparison table between Carbonite and Dropbox.
|Free||No||Yes – 2GB With Referral Plan To Get More|
|Trial||Yes – 15 Days||No|
|File Sharing||Yes – With Currents||Yes|
|Size||Unlimited||100GB and Up|
|Restore Options||Client, Web, USB HD (HomePremier Account Only)||Web|
|External Drives||Yes – HomePlus And HomePremier Plans Support External Hard Drives.||No|
|Local Backup||Yes – HomePlus And HomePremier Plans Support Local Backup.||No|
|Private Encryption Keys||Yes – Private Encryption Key On Windows Only.||No|
|Support Options||Email, Chat, Phone||Web|
|File Size Limit||4GB – Larger Files Can Be Manually Selected.||No – Must Be Smaller Than Your Storage Limit.|
|File Sync||Yes – With New Carbonite Currents.||Yes|
|Bandwidth Throttling||Yes||No – User Adjustable.|
|File Versioning||12 Versions||Yes|
|File Archiving||30 Days||Yes|
|Windows Mobile App||No||No|
|Price Two Year||$109.99||NA|
|Price Three Year||$149.99||NA|
|Promo Code||Yes – Click To Save 10%|
|Review||Read Carbonite Review||Read Dropbox Review|
I know that there are many Dropbox users that have paid Dropbox accounts that use it to keep all of their files on the cloud storage service but Carbonite offers a better feature set than Dropbox and at a better price. There is simply no need for Dropbox if you have Carbonite any longer. At one time that would have been different but with all of the new features Carbonite offers Dropbox has become just an extra feature that you already get with Carbonite. The exception is if you need to sync or store a small amount of files then Dropbox wins with their 2GB free account or if you need to sync files to or from a Linux based desktop.
It is interesting to see how Carbonite has transformed itself from just a cloud backup service to a cloud backup and storage service. As mobile and tablets become more a part of our regular daily computing lives it will be even more important for cloud backup to transform into backup and storage to help customers have access and protect all of their files independent of what type of device they are using.
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