Amazon Cloud Drive is a just another product from Amazon - the world's largest online retailer. Cloud storage is one of many, many businesses this company has been doing.
It so happens that Amazon Cloud Drive has already established itself prominently in the industry.
But is it anything special? Is Amazon Cloud Drive about to become a new success story for the company? - or maybe it's nothing but a gimmick, inferior to its competition? Let's find out.
What is Amazon Cloud Drive?
Amazon Cloud Drive offers secure storage for all of your photos, videos, music, documents, and any other files that you may deem worthy of locking away from prying eyes.
On top of being a simple file storage service, Amazon Cloud Drive also provides applications for many kinds of devices, and allows to stream media directly from the cloud without downloading it.
That sounds like a promising feature from a company with a big reputation. But what about the other features, what are they like and can they deliver?
Amazon Cloud Drive Features
Although the feature set of Amazon’s cloud solution has been ramped up considerably over the last year, it still doesn’t quite match up to some of the more established solutions.
With that being said, Amazon Cloud Drive has recently added a sync client, as well as adopting a folder-based model that is rather similar to Dropbox (you can see how Amazon's model looks down below).
This, I guess, adds a little more seriousness to its cloud storage solution.
Furthermore, I was pleased that their cloud system uses block-level file copying as part of its synchronization process. This makes the sync procedure that much faster - by copying parts of files in a selective and intelligent fashion.
The taskbar notification system included is pretty nifty, while Amazon Cloud Drive also provides file previews for most common types, including Microsoft Office extensions.
I also found the user interface to be rather straightforward. Even if you haven’t used cloud storage before, this should be a comfortable system to utilize. Mobile apps are also user-friendly, and shouldn’t pose any difficulties (even for technophobes!). However, prepare to wait an extra second or two. Compared to some of the competition, Amazon's interface and sharing felt slower and clunkier.
File sharing and syncing, however, is reasonable. But I still wouldn’t put it up there with the best solutions on the market. Sharing can be performed from web interface, sync folder or mobile apps, and there is a good range of options available too.
As for the customer support - well, I wasn’t overly impressed with this service.
It feels as if Amazon hasn’t done enough to train and brief staff, and there is considerable room for improvement here. Most technical answers you receive are "canned" - which means, that you're mostly getting pre-written answers and pretty much no genuine human interaction. I believe this is an area that Amazon struggles with throughout their business, though.
Nonetheless, although there are a few omissions, Amazon Cloud Drive provides a solid enough cloud system solution.
Is Amazon Cloud Drive Safe?
Let’s start with the good news, shall we?
Well, Amazon includes two-factor authentication as part of its security package - great stuff.
But there are reasonable criticisms of the system elsewhere.
Firstly, Amazon fails to encrypt data-at-rest on its servers. This is a pretty big omission, leaving the system somewhat vulnerable to hacking.
Admittedly, a company the size of Amazon will have extensive and expensive defenses in place, but I would feel more comfortable about my data with at-rest encryption in place. Therefore, I would highly advise that you encrypt your own files if you decide to use Amazon's Cloud Drive system.
Based on these factors, I can’t rate the security provisions of this system too highly.
Amazon Cloud Drive vs Dropbox
In my opinion, Dropbox is a better provider than Amazon - delivering more functionality in its client, better media playback, and more flexibility with storage.
It isn't just me that thinks this either. Most Amazon Cloud Drive reviews have concluded that Dropbox is a swifter system that syncs files quicker, provides more convenient access, and generally does a slightly better job in several areas than Amazon Cloud Drive.
I do believe that Amazon offers some cool features though (although some of them may have been copied from its rival), including its neat drag and drop system.
To conclude, Dropbox remains the better selection for businesses looking for a slick cloud storage system overall, however, small and medium businesses may still consider Amazon for sheer affordability (especially if they are Amazon Prime Subscribers).
That brings us on to pricing...
Amazon Cloud Drive Pricing
Pricing for the Amazon Cloud Drive system is quite straightforward.
Amazon offers two main packages, one costs $11.99 per year and offers 100GB of storage, while the 1TB option is priced at $59.99 annually. However, those looking for more storage than 1TB can pay an extra 59.99 per 1TB (with maximum storage of up to 30TB).
This is fine if you wish to increase your storage by a relatively small capacity, but bare in mind that the cost will become rather extortionate if you do require 30TB.
It must be said that the cost of the Amazon Cloud Drive system is very reasonable (on the smaller scale). This is to be expected though considering how huge Amazon is as a company. With so many users, they can run their cloud storage service for a very low price per gigabyte - that's scale economics for you!
I guess Amazon score high when it comes to pricing, the $59.99 annual fee for 1TB worth of storage is a great deal; this cannot be denied. And if you're already an Amazon Prime user, it's even better, because photos won't count as storage used.
Unlimited photo storage
Good user experience
Affordable and reasonable pricing
No at-rest encryption
No productivity apps
Amazon Cloud Drive Review Conclusion
Amazon Cloud Drive is still a relatively young service, and it still needs a lot to learn. To give Amazon its due, the company has learned from its initial mistakes with cloud delivery, and the system has improved substantially over the last 12 months.
However, Amazon Cloud Drive is still behind a lot of the competition - particularly in the security department. File sharing should be password protected, and at-rest encryption should be included.
There are other criticisms as well, such as productivity apps and customer service faults.
To be fair, Amazon Cloud Drive is a good attempt considering they are balancing this service in between their 15,000 other projects! I would certainly recommend this service to Amazon Prime customers based on their pricing and storage capacity.
But I'd like to know what you think - do you agree with my Amazon Cloud Drive review? Let me know your thoughts!