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Sync cloud storage review

Sync.com keeps you in sync... obviously

Sync.com
(Image: © Sync.com)

TechRadar Verdict

If you don't mind paying for a year at a time, the highly acclaimed Sync.com platform offers some competitively priced cloud storage and a rock-solid set of central functions, as well as some excellent security features. If Sync.com has everything you're going to need, then it's an appealing option.

Pros

  • +

    Strong security features

  • +

    Good for teams

  • +

    Simple access and setup

Cons

  • -

    Single-folder sync

  • -

    Basic interface options

  • -

    Payments billed annually

Sync.com (opens in new tab) has been providing cloud storage services for a number of years now, and it's going to appeal if you're looking for something that's simple, speedy and secure. As the name suggests, it syncs a single folder of data between your computers and the cloud.

In a lot of respects, Sync.com is similar to Dropbox, though it doesn't have quite as many features (such as the ability to sync files outside the main folder). This makes Sync.com more of a cloud storage solution rather than a backup drive, however in theory it could work as a backup drive if you save everything within the Sync.com folder. Unlike many rivals, is end-to-end encryption for maximum file security.

Sync.com features

 

The core functionality of Sync.com is to keep a folder on your system in sync with the cloud and any other computers where you've got the client software installed. It's all very simple to set up and use, though you could reasonably point out that Sync.com isn't really offering anything you can't get elsewhere from better-known services – ones that come with office apps, better mobile integration, and so on.

The platform supports versioning, so you can go back to older versions of files if you need to – and in a generous move from Sync.com, these older versions don't count against your storage quota. Depending on the subscription tier you choose, files are kept for 180 days or 365 days which offers better protection than many other companies that limit this to 30 days or so. Free accounts with 5GB of storage are limited to 30 days, which is reasonable given that in this form it is an unpaid service.

Basic file and folder sharing is supported on the Sync.com platform too, and there's also support for advanced sharing controls with password protection and expiry dates on links. Mobile apps are available – with automatic photo and video uploading, should you need it – and if you sign up for a team account then you get provision for keeping your data compliant with standards like HIPAA, GDPR, and PIPEDA.

Actually, one of Sync.com's features is its lack of features: a focus on the core functionality that matters, keeping your data secure, private, and well-managed between multiple computers (and multiple users, if needed). If that appeals, and you want several terabytes of space for not much money per month, it's worth checking out.

Of particular use to business owners and those wanting to use Sync.com to archive important family files like photos and videos, there is no file size limit which is fairly typical of a cloud service these days, however there are still some that fail to offer this valuable feature.

Sync.com 1

(Image credit: Sync.com)

Sync.com interface

 

Installing Sync.com on Windows or macOS is a relatively painless exercise, and the application places a folder on your hard drive – anything dropped in here then syncs to the cloud and to any other computers where you've got the software installed. Network drives and external drives can't be included, nor can files and folders outside of your main Sync.com folder, so the software is a little bit limited in that way.

There's not all that much to the Sync.com interface on the desktop, besides progress indicators and a recent changes list, so you need to go to the web interface to access old file versions and for advanced sharing options. The mobile apps, like the web interface, are straightforward and easy to navigate, even if they're rather plain in appearance (aesthetics really aren't the primary consideration for a cloud storage service).

We found the Sync.com tools on the desktop and the web very polished and quick in use, with transfer rates good as well. 1GB of data was uploaded in under seven minutes which is among the best we have experienced, though it’s worth noting this was with a particularly strong 35Mbps upload speed. Download times were also exceptional, completing 1GB in just over two minutes with a connection of up to 350Mbps.

We like the extra control given to the desktop client for throttling upload and download speeds to help preserve bandwidth for other computing tasks; if you have a slow Internet connection, limiting Sync.com’s speeds can be useful and the effects are generally unseen as the client continues to sync in the background with ease. There isn’t an awful lot more control given to users, and we think PolarBackup provides a more personalized experience however this is strictly a cloud backup service, not a cloud storage platform, so its use differs from Sync.com.

The web interface is slick and easy to use, and offers another way of getting your files up to the cloud. If you prefer, you can upload and keep files on the web without having local copies on your synced computers, which is handy if you want to save some space on your desktop machines. Which files get synced to which computers is all nicely handled through the options screen in the desktop client.

A separate tab in the browser tool - namely Vault - provides partitioned storage for files that you strictly want to store online, and not to sync with your desktop client.

While there is substantial support for sharing and online editing, Sync.com will always inevitably trail behind the likes of iCloud Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive, which all have their own proprietary word processing applications. There is, however, integration with Office 365 for live editing and collaboration, if you have access to these tools.

Sync.com 2

(Image credit: Sync.com)

Sync.com security

Security is a very important part of the overall Sync.com experience, with a whole host of features included to give you some extra peace of mind. They include two-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, AES-256 bit encryption, and the use of secure TLS tunnels to protect anyone from snooping on your files while they're being transferred to and from the Sync.com servers.

Unlike some of its rivals, Sync.com doesn't work with a host of third-party applications or make an API available for other people to use – it sees this as an advantage though, reducing the number of ways in which your account can be exposed, and keeping the inner workings of the platform as secret as possible.

Sync.com pricing

You can try out Sync.com with 5GB of storage for free, but you're probably going to need more room than that. If you're an individual, you can sign up for $8 (about £6.50) a month for 2TB of storage. Like many of Syc.com’s competitors, payment is made annually so expect a certain degree of commitment, however there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. Interestingly, as well as most popular methods, payments are accepted in Bitcoin.

A mid-tier service blurs the boundaries between personal subscriptions and business levels, and is particularly useful for self-employed individuals and families. It offers 6TB of storage for the equivalent of $20 per month, paid annually. There is the option here for monthly billing, though it’s more expensive at $24 per month. 

For small businesses, the Teams Standard plan offers a decent 1TB at $5 per user per month. Larger businesses may want to consider the Teams Unlimited plan, which offers unlimited storage (no surprises here) for $15 per user per month. 

Sync.com 3

(Image credit: Sync.com)

Sync.com verdict

Sync.com might not be as polished or as easy to integrate with other services as the likes of Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, and others, but it covers the basic functions of a syncing system well, and offers you plenty of storage at a very good price, and has some very impressive security features as well. For those looking for secure storage on a budget, it certainly holds its ground as a viable option against other key players in the game.

We like a lot of the multi-user features as well, with plenty of control over which team members are able to access which files, and a lot of ways to log and monitor what's happening inside an account. While you might be able to mark down Sync.com for being a bit rudimentary compared with other systems, and lacking a little in the third-party integrations department, the ground that it does cover is covered very well.

Whether you’re interested in personal or business-oriented plans, we think Sync.com’s pricing is incredibly competitive, the list of services is extensive, and support and compliance for many business regulations is well covered. It’s hard to recommend Sync.com for its free 5GB plan, though, as others have it trumped with 10GB or more.

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.