|Review: OneDrive vs DropBox for photo sharing
||[Sep. 20th, 2014|12:53 pm]
I recently had a photo album shared with me via Microsoft's OneDrive service (formerly SkyDrive, soon to be named something else, given Microsoft's history) and I was quite pleased to note that OneDrive, like DropBox, gave me the option to download the entire album as a zip file. I was reminded of it last night and saw a fantastic free upgrade offer (http://slickdeals.net/f/7214100-microsoft-onedrive-cloud-storage-extra-15gb-free) today so I tested it and here's my findings. Just a reminder, both of these services are free.|
Storage space: at 15GiB to start with, OneDrive blows away DropBox's 2GiB. If you have Windows 8, an iOS device, or Android device, you can double that to 30GiB before the end of the month: http://slickdeals.net/f/7214100-microsoft-onedrive-cloud-storage-extra-15gb-free. HUGE advantage to OneDrive.
Desktop User Interface which you'll use: OneDrive is not as feature packed. It's unclear which images have uploaded and which haven't. The System Tray (notification area) icon doesn't give anywhere near as much information as DropBox's. Advantage DropBox.
Using OneDrive today, I did get icons over folders and files, like with DropBox, that inform me which folders and files have finished syncing and which are pending. DropBox's System tray icon still gives much more information than OneDrive and DropBox still keeps its advantage.
Sharing from your desktop:
You can't share photos or albums without signing into your OneDrive account in a web browser, whereas you can do everything you need to in the DropBox Windows Explorer Shell integration, which makes sharing much faster. Advantage DropBox.
Using OneDrive today, I was able to generate links directly from Windows Explorer. I now consider this category a Draw.
Bandwidth limitation: This has been a problem for me on DropBox. If you aren't sharing long and large videos, then you probably will never run into this. DropBox has a 20GiB daily limit for free accounts (https://www.dropbox.com/help/4204) but OneDrive claims to have no bandwidth limit. I can actually believe this, because Microsoft has a lot of infrastructure already in place and can (and historically has) afford to bleed money in all sorts of directions. DropBox doesn't and can't. Advantage OneDrive.
Upload and download speed: They were both fast, upload was limited by my ISP, download rates varied so much that I couldn't say that one was better than the other, but they averaged around 3MiB/s. No advantage determined.
User Interface that your viewers will interact with:
OneDrive is a bit too busy in my opinion, especially the metadata it shows on the right hand side. Your viewers want to see the pictures, and don't need this. OneDrive allows you to select which images you'd like to download in a on-the-fly generated .zip file, in case your viewer wants to pick and choose what he/she would like to get. DropBox doesn't support this, but makes the Download as .zip option prominent, whereas OneDrive buries this under a "Folder actions" dropdown, which only has two options in it (there's no reason for that, unless they're trying to keep the UI the same on mobile platforms). No clear advantage determined.
OneDrive rotated a video that shouldn't have been rotated. DropBox kept the video in its original (proper) orientation. Big advantage to DropBox, Microsoft really needs to fix this. UPDATE: my videos are showing up in proper orientation in OneDrive now. But I've also noticed that on OneDrive, watching the videos through the web shows a very compressed version of the video; I believe DropBox shows the original (and high bandwidth) version. For me, this gives the advantage to DropBox, but OneDrive's method may be preferable to those on slower Internet connections or for those with limited bandwidth.
Privacy: When you share a folder (or Album, if that makes more sense) on both OneDrive and DropBox, and create the shared link for it, your end users won't be able to see the other folders/albums you have shared. DropBox used to do a poor job at securing these, allowing someone to "guess" what an album name could be, and they'd be able to access it that way. DropBox has since fixed that. One downside to OneDrive is that it shows your name at the top if you click "up" the folder hierarchy; e.g. "John Doe's files". Slight advantage DropBox
Beware of Microsoft though, they seem to be actively analyzing the images you upload, even if you're not sharing them with anyone else: http://lifehacker.com/how-does-the-new-onedrive-compare-to-other-cloud-servic-1529728733 (see section on Privacy)
DropBox, because of its easier Windows interface, will be my choice for quick everyday file sharing. But for long term photo sharing, especially of videos, I'll move to OneDrive, where I won't have to worry about bandwidth or storage.