So you have a tablet like the iPad with you now and you figured that you can ditch that notebook of yours. Going for meetings and conferences without the notebook would be a real godsend. So you thought. That’s until you realize that you need that particular powerpoint file that you have on notebook and had not expected you’d need on the go.
Shucks indeed and there goes the idea of carrying just your iPad anywhere you go. It sure don’t make sense to copy all your files from your notebook to the iPad with one of those file reader app. Also, it would be one heck of a file management nightmare.
But wait, isn’t there one of those cloud storage solutions like iCloud, Dropbox, SugarSync, etc that you can use? And which one should you use? Just like you, I too wanted to find a solution to leave my notebook at home. Cloud storage is definitely the solution forward, the question was then, which one and how you can use it seamlessly with your tablet, in my case, the iPad.
As mentioned, there was a few options available for your cloud storage solution. As you might have guessed from the article’s title, the solution that I found to fit my needs well was SugarSync.
Here’s a quick assessment that made me to choose SugarSync versus the rest.
1. Easily accessible from your tablet or mobile device.
I use GoodReader for iPad and it’s an awesome app. If you are looking for a file viewer app, seek no more and go ahead and purchase it now. Seriously, this is the only file reader app you’d need. It does all the fancy stuff you need a file viewer app to do, plus, with PDF, it even does things like annotations, signatures, drawing, and much more! Plus, it also supports lots of methods to grab files online such as from email servers, its built-in browser, ftp servers and best of all a good bunch of cloud storage servers.
That last point is one of the main reason why I went and bought GoodReader for iPad and will be one of the main criteria for choosing which cloud storage servers to go with.
What about using the cloud storage’s own iPad app which are all free? Well, again, it depends what you are expecting from those apps. If all you want is just to be able to download and view them using the internal document viewer, then yes, that works too. But my tool of choice is GoodReader for iPad because it does a lot more than just viewing documents which I’ve come to find REALLY useful. One of them is the ability to unzip files (wow!) and also zipping up multiple files and send them via email, all within GoodReader for iPad. If you are looking to access these files from your iPhone, there’s also GoodReader for iPhone.
Convinced? Great! Now, which one of the cloud storage servers should you choose then? In GoodReader for iPad‘s case, it supports the now defunct MobileMe iDisk, Dropbox, SugarSync, box.net and other WebDav, FTP and SFTP server. Thus, here I go selecting between Dropbox, SugarSync and box.net.
2. Has an easy to use desktop sync client
This is key criteria to choosing the right cloud storage solution. Without a desktop sync client, you would need to manual upload any files you want to have access to. Worse still, you would also need to make sure you remember to upload new versions of the files you’ve updated on the desktop.
In this respect, Dropbox, SugarSync and Box.net has sync clients for your use. Between all these, SugarSync has one of the better synchronization capabilities. Dropbox only allows you to sync one (1) specific folder. This may work well if you just need to synchronize files from a single folder, such as a ‘public sharing’ folder which is separately managed from all your documents. I personally use Dropbox for this exact use case. However, if you are looking to seriously access all your documents seamlessly on your mobile devices, having all your files of a single folder synced won’t cut it.
Here’s where SugarSync (and supposedly Box,net) comes to the rescue. The SugarSync‘s File Manager allows you to select multiple folders to sync across all your devices. It also allows you to exclude any subfolders if you want to. Thus, this allows you full flexibility in terms of what you want to sync across to the cloud storage without needing to change the way you locally manage your files. Seamless. And it’s also available for the free 5GB plan too!
As for Box.net, I am unable to really tell how good the sync client is. Why? Well, primarily because it’s not free and is only available for Business plan subscribers which starts from $15 per user per month. Which brings me to the next topic of discussion.
If 5GB is sufficient to sync all the documents you need to access anywhere, then hey, just go ahead and sign up for your free 5GB plan with SugarSync here and as a bonus get an additional 500MB free too with this link! However, there is one severe limitation with the 5GB free plan, files you send via Public Links cannot exceed 25MB. This can be a problem if you plan to forward shared links of large files to your recipient, a common use case of cloud storage. So, I would still recommend paying for a subscription plan from SugarSync. Read on to find out more!
As for Box.net, the free account won’t cut it. Not if you want a seamless synchronization of your files.
Also, if you are looking to synchronize all your documents from your notebook or desktop, it’s likely to total up way more than 5GB. Well, at least in my case, I needed close to 10GB of storage just to synchronize all my work related documents. Thus, the search for the best price plan.
Choice #1: Dropbox Subscription Plans
Dropbox has probably one of the least options when it comes to it’s subscription plans.
It’s either a 50GB plan at $99 per year or a 100GB plan at $199 per year.
Both are also priced at a pretty steep price point in my opinion.
Personally, these plans didn’t excite me at all. And add to the fact that the sync client, although probably the stablest of them all, is rather limited, Dropbox does not seem to be the best fit in this use case.
Choice #2: SugarSync Subscription Plans
SugarSync on the other hand starts off at a nice 30GB plan at $49.99 per year all the way to a whopping 500GB plan at $399.99 per year. Comparing to Dropbox, SugarSync‘s plans is significantly cheaper!
Also, there’s actually a ‘hidden’ subscription plan too!
If 30GB is a lot more than what you need, such as in my case where I need somewhat near to 10GB, you’re in for a treat!
SugarSync actually HAS a 10GB plan and in order to access it, all you need to do is to sign-up and subscribe to the 30GB plan (1st month is a free trail anyway). Once you’ve done that, log in to the SugarSync website and in your Account page, change your current plan and then downgrade it back to the 5GB free plan. Once you do that, you should be prompted to sign up with a 10 GB yearly plan that will cost you $24.99 per year!
So if you are looking for a low entry point and still have the flexibility to gradually upgrade your storage plans, SugarSync is probably the best option for you.
Choice #3: Box.net
Here’s the thing about Box.net. In order to get to use their desktop sync client, you need to sign up for the Business plan. And that would cost you $15 per month, per user. In return, you would get 500GB of storage space.
If you do need such an amount of storage, then this is actually a pretty good deal. If you compare this with SugarSync, $15 per month gets you 100 GB of storage. As such, if you need more than 60GB of storage, I’d recommend you to get a Box.net account instead.
But that surely is one heck a lot of storage space to be synced to the cloud!
My Final Choice: SugarSync
It’s actually pretty understandable why I went ahead with SugarSync. There are good support to connect to SugarSync from iPad and iPhone applications. The desktop sync client works well and allows me the flexibility to seamlessly sync my files without needing me to change the way I organize my files on my notebook. And most of all, the subscription plans starts off pretty low with a 10GB plan and I can easily upgrade (and downgrade too) my subscription plans when I need to.
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