Cloud Storages are a good way to share your files across devices without having to plug in external devices. They also provide a good place to safely create a backup of your important files so that you don’t lose them even when you break your primary device. If I have two put my finger on it, I would consider cloud storages to be one of the two important services everybody should pay for, the other being a password manager.
However, there are so many cloud storage services out there that it has become hard to choose the right one for you. That said, there are two main cloud storage services which come to everybody’s mind when they think of the service; Dropbox and Google Drive. While these two are great, there is one comparatively new service which has risen a lot in the ranks and is now capable of running in the big leagues. I am, of course talking about pCloud. In this article, we are going to pit pCloud against Dropbox and Google Drive to see which one deserves your money.
pCloud vs Google Drive vs Dropbox
All the three cloud storage bring a ton of features and it’s easy to consider them equal. However, that’s not the case as each one of them has their strengths and weaknesses. In this section we will compare different features of pCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox to see which one is the right one for you:
All of the three cloud storages in question create a folder on your device when you install their respective apps. Everything you put in that folder is synced and available across all your devices. When testing the upload and download speeds, I found them to be close enough that the stats don’t matter. That said apart from your sync folder, pCloud also has the ability to sync and backup any folder present on your device. The sync folder is just to make people familiar with the software. Also, both pCloud and Dropbox supports block-level sync, a feature which allows the service to upload only the altered section of the files in blocks which greatly reduces file upload time for any altered file.
For example, suppose you are uploading a 1GB file, it will almost take the same time to upload on all the three cloud services(almost 4 minutes), however, after uploading the file if you made some changes to the file, Dropbox and pCloud will only upload the changes that you made, while Google Drive will upload the whole 1GB file again. In my testing, Dropbox and pCloud took only 30 seconds to upload the changes while the Google Drive took another 4 minutes.
Winner: Dropbox and pCloud
One unique feature of pCloud is called the pCloud Drive where the service creates a virtual drive on your device. Everything that you put inside the drive is instantly uploaded to pCloud’s servers and removed from your computer. However, to use the files you don’t have to wait for them to download as the pCloud Drive acts like an external drive, giving you access to your files with just a click.
I don’t how they did it, but it certainly works for me. I can play movies directly from the drive, listen to songs and what not. The files kept in the pCloud Drive even works with third-party programs like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Slack and more. As I said the virtual Drive acts just like an external drive. Neither Google Drive nor Dropbox supports this feature.
When it comes to file sharing, all the three services are fairly capable of doing all the things. They all allow you to share individual files or folders with others. Each one of them also gives you the power to restrict access to your shared files. However, while both Dropbox and pCloud allow you to password protect your shared links and also share upload links, Google Drive can’t perform either of the things.
Winner: pCloud and Dropbox
File collaboration is a major feature that I am looking for whenever I am testing a new cloud service and sadly pCloud loses the race even before it started. While both Dropbox and Google Drive give a full suite of collaboration features like live editing of documents, collaboration on documents, in-line comments, and many other such features, pCloud is unable to do any of those things. Also, Google Drive has its own suite of apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Keep which help when collaborating with others and Dropbox uses Microsoft’s Office online whereas pCloud has nothing to offer.
Winner: Google Drive and Dropbox
Security and Encryption
While all the three services come with standard encryption, which keeps your files safe on the cloud, pCloud brings an add-on service called pCloud Crypto which allows you to create your own private vault which offers military-grade encryption with zero-knowledge privacy features. Although the add-on is a paid service, it’s good to have the option to create a secure vault to save your sensitive files.
Automatic Photo Backup and Music Streaming
Both pCloud and Google Drive allows you to automatically backup all your photos and videos. Google does that via its Photos app while pCloud does it with its native drive app. Both this service also allows you to store songs on their servers and then stream it using their mobile apps. However, although pCloud’s mobile app support music streaming and playing, it’s in no way a music player. Google has its own Play Music app which is a full-fledged music player app and gives a far better listening experience.
Winner: Google Drive
Now that we are done with all the major features and have a good idea about what all the three cloud storage services have to offer us, let us compare their pricing strategy to see which one brings the best value for the money.
|Pricing and Plans||pCloud||Google Drive||Dropbox|
|Free||10GB with an option to |
get up to 20GB through referrals
|Cheapest Plan||$4.99/month for 500 GB||$1.99/month for 100GB||$9.99/month for 1TB|
|Plan Comparison||$9.99/month for 2TB||$9.99/month for 1TB||$9.99/month for 1TB|
|$125 for 500GB and $250 for 2TB||NA||NA|
As you can see in the above chart, although pCloud is the most affordable service of them all, Google Drive provides the lowest opening plan if you do not require too much storage. Google Drive starts at $1.99/month for 100GB of storage while pCloud starts at $4.99/month for 500GB of storage. Dropbox is nowhere in the picture, as it starts at $9.99 for 1TB. At this price point, pCloud beats them both, as it offers double the storage for the same price.
Note: All the prices mentioned in the comparison are applicable when your pay month to month. If you pay yearly, you can save up to 20% on all the three services.
pCloud vs Google Drive vs Dropbox: The Verdict
As you can see depending on your needs, you can actually get a clear winner here. pCloud offers a better pricing and the pCloud Drive feature is just a boon to a Mac user like me. That said, Google Drive brings its own suite of tools and is the best when it comes to collaborating with others, automatically backing up your photos, and storing and streaming music.
So, if you are looking for an affordable and yet reliable service and your work doesn’t require you to collaborate with others in real time, pCloud is the best for you. However, if you cannot live without the collaboration feature, certainly either Dropbox or Google Drive will be a better option. Personally, I will pick Google Drive over Dropbox just for the automatic photo backups and music streaming, that said, Dropbox might be better for you as it offers block-level sync feature which saves a ton of time and data.
We have given our verdict, but we will love to hear from you, our readers. Do let us know which one according to you is a winner. Also, be sure to include your reasoning so everyone knows why you prefer your choice over the others.
I have a free Dropbox account but that ends in April (after 8 years use) because they stop supporting OS X Mavericks. I downloaded pCloud and made the rookie mistake of thinking that the pCloud Drive – right there in the Finder – was the same as my Dropbox folder, i.e. LOCAL > ONLINE, but it’s not, it’s just online. That however does show how easy it is to access your online-only files, as unlike Dropbox, you don’t have to go to your online account via a browser, the online files are right there like in an external drive.
The other thing I did was to see if the sync equivalent of Dropbox works as well. I right clicked a folder in my Dropbox folder and had the option to ‘Sync in pCloud’. Less than a minute later, nearly 100 small pictures were in my pCloud Drive with the same folder name, so it’s going to be a breeze to move from Dropbox to pCloud in March.
My 2 cents worth as I do have some experience with these providers…
Years ago, I decided to consolidate all my files, email, pics, etc. on to Google Drive. Biggest mistake I ever made…. Yes they are generous with their space etc. but one morning I got this email to tell me that my account had been suspended as I broke one of their rules (they won’t tell you what rule though). Cut a long story short, they completely ignored my request for information or any contact I tried to make. I lost all of my files, and my Google username was blocked as well. I had to start all over again. So, be aware! with the likes of Google, MS, etc. sounds like a sweet deal but they have many, many pages of conditions and rules and woe if you violate one of them (typically without knowing) you’re effed!
So I decided that I won’t trust these guys ever again (I haven’t) and I would rather pay for a professional service, which is much more likely to provide at least a customer interface of some sort and far less likely to have some archaic conditions as to what files you can store etc.
I’ve tried Dropbox. Good service but too expensive and since I’m a Linux desktop user, their diminishing support for Linux is worrying…
I’ve tried pCloud – have to admit it, got suckered in by the cheap lifetime deals…. only to find out later that they don’t support a whole bunch of Linux type files. I will use it for my music collection and office files etc. but will have to maintain a separate service just for anything non-standard. Also their desktop client is very basic and doesn’t provide much information about the current transfer and history is non-existent. Obviously this was/is a bargain at the time but only if you’re a Window’s user and only if you have standard files etc.
Copy is another one that I have used in the past. I remember they were good till they dropped support for their Linux client completely – asta la vista baby, next!
By far the best one, of the commercial offerings, with good support, a good desktop client for Linux, no funny file restrictions, etc. in fact all your files are encrypted by default! no need to pay extra for that, is MEGA! The Linux client is updated regularly, works very well, is reliable, and the service as a whole is very reliable! I feel confident using this product and I am going to keep using them for all my “Linux” type files as they give you 50GB for free to start with anyway.
In summary, be wary of the big guys like Google, MS, Amazon, Apple, etc. They can literally pull the rug from underneath you with their free stuff and there is nothing you can do about it….
Make sure that your primary platform is well supported before committing yourself to a paid for service…
Final piece of advice! don’t put all your eggs in one basket – spread the load! Don’t trust your whole digital life to just one supplier like Google – too risky! Might not be as convenient but at least you will be able to retrieve your stuff when you really need it!
I have being a pCloud user for a while, very dissatisfied in many aspects:
1. Support: They can’t solve anything, soon after I bought the lifetime plan (big mistake) I realized pCloud issues, I had to run tests from my side to find the errors and I even send them the explanation about what was not working with their own product. After multiple problems with pCloud without solution I just stopped contacting them and just accept what pCloud is.
2. Unreliable in many aspects:
2.1. Your photos and videos (at least on Android) will not always be uploaded, I don’t know exactly why it stops working, but if you use pCloud don’t rest assure that your files are being uploaded, make sure to open the app and enable/disable/enable automatic upload until it works again.
2.2. Constant connection errors on iPad won’t let you use the sevice.
2.3. In the release notes they say they add support for something, but is not true or partially true. (Spanish support, iPad Files support)
2.4: Seems that pCloud doesn’t care about finxing bugs, months can pass and no bugs fixes, no new features, sometimes I think this product is stalled.
3. Looks like a garage project more than a mature solution
3.1 The biggest bug I have found is on Mac: Mac was not showing the content of my folders, I gave all the info I could to support and nothig, after several test from my side I discovered that the Mac Versions cannot handle special characers in forlder names, as a result the content is not displayed. Last time I talked to support they had no plans to fix it.
3.2 The Apps on mobile devices are way behind in terms of design and functionality compared to Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.
3.3 Have you try to play a song or watch a video from pCloud? It will take foreever to stream media, I just don’t even bother with that any more.
1. Use pCloud at your own risk.
2. If you want to be sure your files are always uploaded, DO NOT use pCloud.
3. If you want your files to be accessed from anywhere on Android, iPad and Mac (haven’t had issues on Windows so far), DO NOT use pCloud.
4. If you want to have support on your services, DO NOT use pCloud.
5. If you want to keep up with what other services have to use, DO NOT use pCloud.
6. If you want to pay for a service, put your money on a mature company.
I wasted my money in a lifetime plan, since I will not get refund I just switched to OneDrive and everything is much better.
I’ve got to agree with Cesar here, fortunately I was luck enough to locate PClouds monthly payment plans rather than getting coerced on to their annual and lifetime options. I had signed up for a free account (important in a moment) and when it came to upgrading to a paid-for plan the monthly options had suddenly disappeared from the pop-up link.
My problems started with the free account rewards bar at the top of the control panel. Most of my interaction with PCloud was over the web-based client (Linux user, couldn’t get the ‘new’ all-in one client package to work). At the top of the client was a bar telling me how many steps I had covered in receiving extra storage space by signing up with Android etc which I wasn’t bothered about as I was heading for the full 2TB package. The advertising/reward bar took up about a third of the vertical space on my field laptop screen. After making the full price purchase the bar didn’t disappear and was very annoying. I contacted PCloud support only to be told after three days of waiting for a response that the bar couldn’t be removed. No apologies, no acknowledgement of a glitch in the way the page was programmed, just stuck with it forever. Glad I didn’t pay the lifetime subscription.
Other problems occurred, like a locked-down account based on my personal email address which prevented me from signing up to begin with. This was because I had signed up on the email address, discovered some settings which were not working and originally closed down the account at the advice of pCloud support. I then couldn’t directly open a new account with that email address.
I also tried to get help with the two folders set up on my machine by the pCloud client. I wanted to change the name of the folders (a basic configuration with most cloud storage clients) but this is not possible in pCloud. The folders cannot be adjusted in any way (name or default location). Again, several days waiting for a response from pCloud to say it’s not possible.
With Dropbox not having a ‘cheap’ monthly option and lack of clients with Google Drive and OneDrive I ended up getting a $4 a month server from a european VPS provider and taking the time to install NextCloud. Not the most ideal solution for instant requirements but has so far worked better than most ready-to-run cloud providers.
Thank you for sharing this as I was seriously considering the lifetime plan as well and your experience was enough for me to change my mind.
I thought of using pCloud for uploading the files.
So, could you please let me know, whether pCloud supports “Pause” and “Resume” feature, so that, I should be able to resume the download / upload the file from the point it was paused.
I tried Google drive, but after I restart the PC, download / upload starts from the begining (if I have paused) and in dropbox this feature works, but its very slow.
So, please tell me if any other application is available.
Kindly let me know if any further clarification is required.
Note that Dropbox does have a virtual drive feature: Smart Sync.
Yeah but it’s paid.
pCloud drive is for free as in for paid.
Yeah, heaven forbid you have to pay for something right? You can tell who the torrent people are in all these reviews. They will be the ones complaining about actually paying for products they use.
pCloud and sync are GOOD products. Google drive is a GOOD product. Amazon Drive is a GOOD product. OneDrive is a GOOD product. Dropbox is a GREAT product that, yes, is more expensive than the others for a reason. It just works. Every single time.
Bit quick to accuse folk of being torrent’ers there Kyle. I think you’ll find a lot of users can’t justify the jump from free to $10 a month for a big chunk of cloud they don’t need. Few providers have a cheaper version of their product which provides perhaps 50-200GB of space for a couple of dollars a month. You get your 2GB – 15GB free (if you’re willing to give away your personal life, or $10 a month for 1TB.
I’ve just been knocked back on another forum with a member telling me that if I’m not prepared to pay $10 a month for a GOOD cloud storage product that I don’t value my data and should expect to give up my privacy and accept reduced features on a free plan. Where I’m currently residing the average salary is $280 a month. After rent, living costs, food, clothing there isn’t much left to be used for things like cloud storage, but does that then mean that poorer peoples information, data, photos etc are less important because they can’t hammer out $10 a month?
What is and isn’t a GOOD product is a matter of personal opinion. pCloud is a good product but their support is garbage. Sync is not bad but the clients are heavy (if you’re a Dropbox paid subscriber you’re likely rich enough to have a powerful computer and won’t notice). I’ve had two occurrences of lockout with Google Drive the last 12 months, the second time being permanent, and totally down to Google deciding there was something suspicious about the account, which there wasn’t, and I don’t torrent either. OneDrive has had a number of outages this year and alleged file corruption issues. Dropbox seems to still have users complaining about the clients silently failing and not syncing correctly.
Obviously, all my own opinion with a handful of facts but you can’t just dictate that something is a GOOD product.