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IceDrive review

Impressive interface and security combined with great prices

IceDrive website screenshot
(Image: © IceDrive)

TechRadar Verdict

IceDrive offers some groundbreaking features, ultra-high security, and attractive pricing, but it lacks in the collaboration department compared with some more seasoned offerings.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent security

  • +

    Virtual drive

  • +

    Reasonable prices

Cons

  • -

    Virtual drive is Windows-only

  • -

    Limited support options

  • -

    Restricted collaboration features

IceDrive (opens in new tab) is a cloud storage solution that aims to make cloud storage feel like a physical hard drive with what the company calls “revolutionary” drive-mounting software. With IceDrive, you’ll be able to access your cloud storage just as easily as on your own device’s hard drive, but without taking up any space.

IceDrive is a relative newcomer to the cloud storage market, founded in 2019. And in this IceDrive cloud storage review, we look at how it compares to some of the best cloud storage (opens in new tab) providers in the business as we examine its pricing, features, ease of use, and support.

IceDrive: Plans and pricing

There is a free account with 10 GB of storage and 3 GB daily (not monthly) bandwidth, but it doesn’t have client-side encryption.

For paying users, there are three tiers of subscription offering 150GB, 1TB or 5TB of storage which should be enough to cover most people’s needs. These are aptly named Lite, Pro and Pro+.

Monthly pricing for these currently sits at $1.99 (£1.79), $4.99 (£3.99), and $17.99 (£16.99) respectively, however as with many other competitors, discounts are to be had for annual plans. These are priced at $19.99 (£17.99), $49.99 (£39.99), and $179.99 (£169.99) each, per year.

Finally, there are lifetime plans available as one-off purchases. These are interesting because they’re similar to buying an external hard drive. You’d pay less for a physical device, but in the likely scenario that you’d want your data backed up to the cloud anyway, with an IceDrive lifetime license, you’d be killing two birds with one stone. Expect to pay $149 (£119), $344 (£269), or $899 (£719) for one of these, however there are currently huge savings to be had offering around one-third off the price. Pay full price for one of these and you’ll need to keep it for between five and seven years, depending on the tier, to make your money back.

It’s worth considering other providers like iCloud Drive and OneDrive, which offer family plans with centralized billing and shared storage support if that’s important to you.

IceDrive 1

IceDrive can be used as a virtual drive on Windows (Image credit: IceDrive)

IceDrive: Features

 

One of IceDrive’s best features is the ability to use it like a virtual drive that is attached directly to your computer. In fact, you can mount it like any other drive with a single click.

It uses special software so that all the operations you’d need to perform on files—open, edit, delete, and upload—feel as fast as they would for files on your own hard drive or an attached drive. Intelligent caching of your recently used files means you’ll notice almost no slowdown. The only downside of this feature is that it is Windows-only.

Other operating systems aren’t left out completely, though. IceDrive has a “portable” app which can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s portable because it doesn’t actually need to be installed; just download it, and then you can run it directly from wherever you’ve downloaded it to.

With it, you can upload and download files and folders, stream media, and preview documents and images without needing to download them first. You can edit files on your computer and the portable app will watch them for changes and upload new versions to your account in the cloud.

There is also a web app that has been designed to work almost identically to the portable app. So you can access your account from anywhere that has a web browser installed. Apps for iOS and Android provide similar functionality, including the ability to share content and back up your entire device.

Although online editing and collaboration is limited to basic file sharing, when we reached out to IceDrive in April 2022 we were told that it is “not yet possible to edit documents online however [IceDrive’s] development team are working on this,” which suggests that the company is willing to part with some cash in order to keep its services up-to-date and competitive.

The email continues: “File sharing is currently available as well as file request features for [collaboration]. Our development team are working to implement more enhanced collaboration as a priority and will be releasing within the next few weeks and will feature:

  1. Set different access permission for files and folders
  2. Extensive, intelligent discussion system implemented for collaborating on files and projects
  3. Track discussions through the dashboard and get alerted on new comments etc
  4. Upload and download to shared access folders for true collaboration”

We are yet to see - and experience - these new features that are due to arrive some time in mid-2022.

The number of versions saved differs based on the plan, however regardless of subscription these are kept indefinitely. We were told that “this may change” in the future, though, so bear this in mind.

Of particular interest and use is the lack of sile size limits, which means that even large videos can be uploaded and stored in IceDrive, however the company said that some browsers can impose limits so it’s better to use the dedicated software when performing heavy uploads. By comparison, other companies often limit file sizes which can present limitations that are hard to overcome.

IceDrive support options are a bit limited. The company is based in Wales in the UK, and publicly lists a phone number and Skype ID, but the contact page suggests submitting a support ticket for a faster response.

There is also a help center where you can search for articles, but the few searches we tried didn’t yield too many results.

IceDrive Review 2

IceDrive features an easy-to-use interface (Image credit: IceDrive)

IceDrive: Interface and use

IceDrive has a clean, easy-to-navigate interface. Even if you’ve never used any form of cloud storage before, understanding how to use IceDrive will take next to no time. Searching for files and transitions between pages happens very quickly, as does uploading documents to your account.

It is also easy to create public links for files and folders or share them with people by entering their email address. Shared content can have passwords and expiry dates, but there is little else in the way of collaboration features.

We found the overall experience to be much slicker using the browser, which looks just as up-to-date as the likes of Dropbox, Box and Google Drive, all of whom put a heavy emphasis on user experience. The desktop app - in our case, the macOS version - let the experience down somewhat with not as clear a layout.

Upload and download times were a little behind other cloud storage solutions we tested when using the browser, though not enough to make a tangible difference. Uploading using the macOS client took significantly longer, however desktop client download speeds were as expected.

Windows users also have the option of mounting the virtual drive, which has the same interface as Windows’ file explorer, allowing them to interact with files in the drive in the same way as anything else on their computer.

The mobile app experience mirrors the functionality of the browser-based access and desktop client, sitting somewhere between the two in terms of design and ease of use. The lack of consistency in design and layout depending on how you access IceDrive can present navigational challenges for those who are less au fait with technology.

IceDrive 3

(Image credit: IceDrive)

IceDrive: Support

IceDrive support options are a bit limited. The company is based in Wales in the UK, and publicly lists a phone number and Skype ID, but the contact page suggests submitting a support ticket for a faster response.

There is also a help center where you can search for articles, but the few searches we tried didn’t yield too many results.

IceDrive: Security

IceDrive is the only cloud storage solution to use the twofish algorithm, which is recognized as being the most secure encryption algorithm available. IceDrive also features client-side encryption so that your data is encrypted on your device before even being transferred to  servers. And IceDrive takes a zero-knowledge approach, which means that only you can view and decrypt your data.

Note that the separate, encrypted drive within the drive is only available to paying customers.

We like the addition of two-factor authentication (2FA), which works with an authenticator or a physical key, but rather annoyingly, SMS authentication is only available to premium customers.

The competition

IceDrive does many things well, but, as we mentioned, it lacks collaboration features. If those are important to you, some alternatives to consider are Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, which both have more robust collaboration options.

Google Drive (opens in new tab) comes with 15 GB for free with any Google account. Paid plans range from $1.99/month for 100 GB up to $299.99 for 30 TB. OneDrive (opens in new tab) also has a free plan, but with only 5 GB of storage. Its paid plans go from $1.99/month for 100 GB up to $9.99/month for 6 TB, which can accommodate up to six people (1 TB per person). 

Final verdict

IceDrive impresses in a number of areas, including its approach to security, ease of use, and market-leading features like its virtual drive—although it would be better if the virtual drive were available for operating systems other than Windows too.

Its pricing is attractive, with the lifetime license options in particular representing good value. We also like the unlimited file size support, which adds an extra layer of protection for long-term investments, helping you to futureproof your decision. However, support options are limited, as are collaboration features. Despite the promises of adding more features in the future, it’s important to base any purchase off its current offering, as things can change.

If collaboration is important, IceDrive wouldn’t be your best choice. But if you’re more concerned with security, and are looking for a well-designed, easy-to-use cloud storage solution, IceDrive is a great choice.

We've also highlighted the best free cloud storage.

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the electrification of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!