Cloud storage systems have been ravaging the app market for a few years now, but they all continue to incorporate new features and hefty new storage opportunities to help people store, edit and share their files. These cloud storage services are perfect for working in groups when you are not in the same place with your collaborators, and they allow you to get rid of that bulky external hard drive that you need to lug around in order to access your files.
I’m a constant Google Drive user, and I love it for modifying my documents and sharing with other people. I also use Dropbox on occasion if I have to backup a file that is too large for Google Drive. This was actually my first time using Box, but I liked the interface and started to understand that the system is typically used by companies who work in groups. Their features focus around collaboration and sharing, without the features to modify online like you would find in Google Drive.
We’ve compared Google Drive and Dropbox, and even put Microsoft’s OneDrive up against Google Drive, but now we want to showcase three of the top cloud storage systems to help you understand which option is best for you. It’s the Box vs Dropbox vs Google Drive Android app battle, and it’s actually quite close. Even though I prefer Google Drive after most of my reviews, I want to clarify that each of these options has their own benefits that work well for different people and professions. Take a look at the overview below to figure out the pros and cons of Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. After that, make your decision to move files to the internet and bring yourself into the cloud era.
Google Drive: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Dropbox: 4.3 out of 5 stars
Box: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Google Play Ratings and Links:
Google Drive: 4.3 out of 5 stars
Dropbox: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Box: 4.3 out of 5 stars
The Overall Breakdown
Box – Strictly for Companies That Work in Groups
The best thing about Box is that it has the best app permissions, since it only taps into your accounts such as your email address. This is not exactly a plus, but since the other cloud storage options invade your privacy even more it comes out on top here. Read further to understand how the other apps reach into your personal information and see why the privacy freaks are best off using Box as their cloud storage option.
The Box interface is filled with sharing and privacy features to help you work with other people and protect your information. You can use it on most operating systems and this is nice because the Box interface is primarily designed so that you can work in large groups of people. It’s primary customer base is companies that want to have a single place to store and share files. You can quickly share new files and alert those who are on your team. A great part of Box is that the chat area is simple and clear. It reveals exactly who is talking to you and lets you respond in real-time. You can simply share a link and send it through email an many other options.
You’ll also notice that Box gives you previews for most of your files, which is nice since you don’t have to download the entire file to your phone or computer in order to view it. I’ve found that Dropbox is pretty terrible in order to view files directly from the app, however Google Drive is typically the winner in terms of document viewing and editing.
You’ll notice below that you can clearly see the images before opening them on your device. It also gives you options to quickly share these images or move them around in different folders. Box is certainly more than a simple storage system like Dropbox, since you can see everything in a clean interface and refrain from downloading files in order to view them.
The file restriction sizes for Box are unbearably low. Even if you opt for the payment plan you can only upload files as large as 5GB, making it difficult for power users to work with the system. If you upload huge files then you are better off going with Google Drive or Dropbox. You also can’t earn any additional free storage, putting it in the same boat as Google Drive. This makes me wonder how companies use this system to collaborate. I guess it’s primarily small to midsize companies who aren’t going to upload large files or use it as their primary storage area.
The paid options for Box are just fine, except for the fact that you get much more for your money if you go with Dropbox or Google Drive. At 100GB for $10/month, you can get the same amount of storage for $2/month with Google Drive. It’s also worth noting that the average user is not really catered to from the Box company. They truly focus on helping companies, so if you request a feature for your personal use then I can’t imagine it will be responded to. This is actually a good thing for those companies, since you can talk to the company and other users through the app or the Box website, but keep in mind that personal users might feel overwhelmed and not get the support they deserve.
The Bottom Line
Box is not your ideal solution for uploading large files or even for the average user who doesn’t want to work with other people. It’s strictly designed around working in large groups, and the power users find it useless, since the file upload and storage restrictions are quite terrible. That said, the support team is relatively helpful, and they are always coming out with new features to help people share and work in groups. They also take lots of pride in protecting the privacy of its users. I’m assuming this is because the main client base of Box is composed of businesses, so they would have some legal problems if documents were not protected well.
The Box interface is clean, but there are so many features dedicated solely to collaboration, so the average user might get a bit overwhelmed. I’m not a huge fan of features that I don’t use, so you can understand why I don’t really use Box. I will say though that I enjoy the fact that you can share and actually view your files through the Box app, making it more useful than Dropbox for using the files.
Dropbox – For Those Who Store Super Large Files
Dropbox is the king when it comes to storing huge files. The service doesn’t restrict you from uploading files that are too large, and they provide you with plenty of paid storage. The free storage might seem a little weak to some people, but when you convince friends to join Dropbox you can always expand this storage for free.
Dropbox also has a few additional features that work wonders for automation. For example, you can automatically backup your pictures after you take them on your phone. You can also categorize files as favorites to receive easy access to the most important files. Dropbox includes all the simple sharing features you need, but they don’t hold a candle to Box or Google Drive.
Dropbox can access your contacts and accounts, putting it between Google Drive and Box in terms of app permissions. It’s not a good thing, but keep in mind that regardless of the system you choose your privacy is going to get tapped into somehow. There’s also the fact that Dropbox does not offer an office suite to modify your documents. This means that most files are not viewable from the app and you have to actually download them and open them in a different app in order to do anything with them.
The Dropbox app is also pretty barebones. There aren’t that many strong features except for backing up large files. Some people might enjoy this clean interface, but it’s relatively weak in my opinion. Yes, Google Drive can get cluttered sometime, but it’s nice knowing that I can do pretty much anything I want in terms of editing.
The Bottom Line
Dropbox is best when you want to upload huge files and share them with lots of people. It is not a place to modify your documents, but rather a system that completely replaces that bulky external hard drive. You can collaborate and basically upload anything that you want with people, since the restrictions are virtually nonexistent. It’s also nice because you can automatically sync up your files so that you don’t ever have to think about backing anything up.
The Dropbox support pages are quite comprehensive and personally my favorite out of the three storage systems we are looking at. Google Drive is the worst, and Box is more focused on helping small to large companies, so they are not all that interested in the regular personal user. You can find support areas on the Dropbox app, and you can also go to the website to chat with other people on the forums and search past problems with the app. If you want to contact Dropbox for a concern, you don’t have to specify which product you are having a problem with like you would have to do with Google Drive.
Google Drive – For Users Who Want to Edit and Share Their Files
The interface for Google Drive is really easy to manage, since you basically just upload a file and see the thumbnail in your drive. You can modify your documents if you want and share them quickly with other people. The collaboration features are great, since you can edit the documents with another person in real-time and track changes so that the other people can see them when they get back to their phone or computer.
Everything syncs with all of your devices so you can grab a presentation while running to work and even modify it right before you walk into your meeting. You’ll notice below that you can see a small preview of your files before opening them. This is available in Box, but you’ll be hard pressed to see comparable previews in Dropbox.
Storage is acceptable for Google Drive, and I’m certain most average users will find it difficult to reach the limits. Since they offer two paid packages to expand your storage and you don’t have to opt for too much or too little storage. This is another area in which Google Drive excels, because Dropbox only provides the 1TB paid option and Box’s paid options are quite laughable, since they don’t really even think about the people who need to upload and store huge files.
Google Drive is the worst in terms of app permissions, since it can reach into your contacts, accounts and messages, meaning that if you are a privacy freak your should probably use one of the other options. I don’t think your novel is going to get stolen, but your information might be sold for profit.
You also can’t earn additional free storage with the Google Drive app. This is not the worst thing about Google Drive, since they already give you 15GB for free, but you will eventually have to start paying if you run over this limit. You also want to remember that Google Drive has a 10GB restriction on upload file sizes, meaning that Dropbox is your best bet if you need to go over this limit. In my opinion I can settle for the 10GB restriction, since I don’t typically upload anything bigger than this, but a large movie trilogy might end up being a little too big.
Google’s support is just fine. That said, it’s probably the worst next to Box and Dropbox. The reason for this is because the other two companies only focus on a single service. Google does offer nice forums and help areas, but it takes a bit to filter through and figure out who is talking about your particular problem. Also, if you call or email Google then you have to specify the product you need help with since they offer so many different things.
The Bottom Line
Google Drive has the most expansive amount of features out of all the cloud storage systems. You can edit your documents, whether they are Excel sheets, Word docs or PowerPoint presentations. You can also preview your files with the simple click of a button. It’s also nice because if you have a Google account you can immediately view files that are sent to your through email. Modify your documents to your heart’s content and view the small thumbnails to understand what you are looking at in the interface.
Along with great collaboration and sharing features, Google Drive is the best option for people who want to work on a project together. The storage space is reasonable and they even offer paid options in case you start to fill up on your space. But of course my favorite part of Google Drive is the document editing suite integration. Look below and you can see that I can quickly modify a Word document within seconds. You can even think about getting rid of Microsoft Office if you typically work off of an internet connection.
That’s it for the Box vs Dropbox vs Google Drive Android app showdown. Overall, I still think that Google Drive is the best option for the average user, since you get to modify your files with its online office suite and share just about everything with the people you are collaborating with. Google Drive also provides enough storage space and additional options to expand your storage. If you are planning on uploading huge files then the obvious solution is Dropbox. I honestly can’t justify using Box over Google Drive or Dropbox, since the storage options are so limited and you don’t get the opportunity to edit your documents.
Box has a tricky interface, but it’s built to help large groups of people who collaborate on documents. That said you can’t really edit in real-time, and all of those collaboration features are present in Google Drive, so I don’t really see the point. If I had to rank these cloud storage systems I would choose Google Drive first, then Dropbox, then Box. They are all viable options, but it really depends on what you are using the systems for and if you are using them for office or personal use. The big claim I can make is that Dropbox is the only option for power user who use huge files, unless of course you pay for the 1TB on Google Drive.
Let me know in the comments section if you have any questions about my Box vs Dropbox vs Google Drive comparison. Hopefully this helps you understand the intricacies of the cloud storage systems on the market and guides you to the correct solution for your needs.