Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Un-cancelling Dropbox Pro

Yes, I know, that didn’t take long. But having spent a week with Microsoft OneDrive, I decided that Dropbox Pro was actually worth paying extra for after all.

I originally cancelled Dropbox Pro because I didn’t need the extra space that I was paying for, and indeed had access to enough extra space in OneDrive. So I spent most of last week moving my photos (which take up most of the space) from Dropbox to OneDrive – almost 15 GB in total. This took several days to upload, on and off.

I then decided to enable the photo backup feature in OneDrive’s iOS app. Dropbox has a similar feature, as does Google+ and Flickr – all of the photos in your camera roll are backed up. And this is one of the key reasons why I decided to go back on my original decision and re-subscribe to Dropbox Pro – OneDrive is a bit dumb. It wanted to upload every image on my iPhone again, even though they were already there, having been copied across from Dropbox.

To put this into context, this amounts to over 1000 images, plus a few videos. That’s a lot of data to duplicate. I’m lucky that both my home broadband and mobile internet services are “unlimited” but it would still take a long time and require tidying up afterwards.

This is something I mentioned a couple of years ago in the technical superiority of Dropbox. Dropbox does a lot of things to reduce the amount of bandwidth it needs, by automatically detecting duplicate files, only uploading the modified portions of files, and synchronising files on the same network directly as well as with Dropbox’s servers. And last week an update to the Dropbox desktop client enabled ‘streaming sync’, which should allow large files to upload more quickly. OneDrive is evidently a much more basic client, that doesn’t check for pre-existing files.

What’s more, when I copied all of my photos back into my Dropbox folder, there was no need to upload them all again. Dropbox keeps copies of all files deleted within the past 30 days – or, for an extra $39 a year, its packrat feature will keep any deleted files indefinitely (business customers get this as standard). So it was able to bring all 15 GB of photos back online within a few minutes, and not several days.

Of course, cloud storage is pretty much the only thing that Dropbox does as a company, so of course it has a greater focus on the quality of its product. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple and most of Dropbox’s other rivals all focus primarily on other products, with cloud storage as a small sideline.

As much as I would prefer to pay less for Dropbox Pro, my experiences over the past couple of weeks have convinced me that it’s worth paying a bit more for a better service. OneDrive may now be giving me over a terabyte of storage as part of my Office 365 subscription, but I can do so much more with the 100-and-a-bit gigabytes I get with Dropbox Pro, even though it costs extra.


  1. Have you tried ExpanDrive’s Strongsync? I think that this could be a winner.

  2. I use Dropbox to share things with friends mostly, not really as cloud storage. In fact I don’t really have a need for storing files anywhere other than my Mac to be honest. Well, I do backup all the things to the cloud, I love Backblaze for that. That’s my “house burned down” backup.