Dropbox is one of the only services to offer clients for Linux and Blackberry, alongside the usual Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS standards. There’s an official Windows Phone app too.
The latest update adds the ability to sign PDFs right from Dropbox, plus a few iOS-specific features such as sharing files in iMessage and watching Dropbox video while working in another app on an iPad.
The free Basic account comes with a paltry 2GB of storage. For documents this is huge, but if you want to store any kind of media – photos, music, or video – it will disappear very fast. You can upgrade to the 1TB plan for £7.99 per month, but Dropbox offers 500MB of additional free storage for each friend you get to sign up to the service – with a limit of 16GB.
You can gain 1GB more by setting up a Mailbox account and you’ll get 250MB just for taking a tour of the Dropbox basics, too. Enabling the camera upload feature will gain you 3GB, and automatically backup your smartphone/tablet photos to the cloud. We’ve seen deals where you get 50GB of Dropbox space for two years when you buy certain phones and tablets.
Dropbox works by creating a local folder on your device or PC that then syncs with an online version. This means you have all your data available whether you are on or offline. This doesn’t apply to mobile devices, though: you can make select files available offline on your tablet or smartphone (they’re all offline by default), and offline editing is among the best we’ve seen.
Folders and files can also be shared with others but you can’t set permissions on the Basic account, so files can be edited (and even deleted) by other users. The Basic account isn’t a total disaster, though, as Dropbox backs up any changes to files for 30 days. So if you need an older version or want to undelete a file, it’s still there.
If you pay £7.99 per month to get the Dropbox Pro account, you will be able to enable read-only permissions as well as setting passwords and expirations for shared links.
Security features include two-step authentication (always worth turning on) and all files held on the Dropbox servers are encrypted by AES 256-bit encryption, albeit employed from Dropbox’s side rather than the user, with SSL for the data being uploaded and downloaded.
Dropbox remains a benchmark against which others must compete. It may lack a few of the whistles and bells of its rivals, but it’s rock solid and compatible with so many applications.