In this Sync.com review, I’ll discuss the security, features, and problems Sync cloud storage brings with itself.
There are no prejudices or biases here. I’ve used Sync and I’ve used half a dozen other similar Dropbox alternatives. Hence, everything I’ve compiled here is my personal experience.
I’m not trying to “sell” Sync to you because it’s forever free! Well yes, you don’t even need a credit card! So, if you like what Sync offers you can sign up and start using it right away!
Let’s get started then?
Sync.com review: What is Sync?
Sync is an end-to-end cloud storage platform. In simpler words, it’s your hard disk on the internet. You can save your files on Sync, and save space on your HDD. It also facilitates remote access as you can access your files from any computer in the world.
The “end to end” part is what’s most important. Being E2E encrypted means your data is encrypted on your computer before being uploaded to the Sync cloud. Meaning, no one else, not even Sync owners or employees can access your files.
Sync offers a ton of other team management, project management and link sharing features. You can either go through this Sync review in detail, or get a forever free (no credit card required) Sync account right away!
Sync User Interface
All that talk of “encryption” and E2E may make it sound like a very technical, complex tool.
In reality, it’s just “drag & drop”. You drag your flies from your computer, and drop it on your Sync account. Done! All of that encryption and protection happens automatically and behind the scenes.
Here’s what the Sync interface generally looks like:
Now, whatever I drop on the screen above is automatically encrypted and stored online.
The interface itself is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? The top-bar houses all the navigation buttons. I can go to my “Vault”, access “team sharing” options, go to “events” or manage users. (I’ve explained each of these features in the later sections).
The centre-screen shows my current folders and files. A few quick options are also available on the right which let me create folders, delete folders and so on.
Rating: 5/5 for ease of use and simplicity.
Optional Desktop Application
While Sync can be used completely online, using a web browser, it does offer an optional desktop application.
Again, the interface is simple. In fact, there is no interface. You get a folder on your local HDD called “Sync”.
Now, you can copy-paste any document/file/data here, it automatically gets uploaded to your Sync account.
You can also use this folder to access files which may be uploaded to your Sync account via the web browser.
Any changes you make to any files/folders here also get reflected on your Sync account.
You do get some control using the “Preferences” window. These are easy to understand and pretty basic. E.g. you can set upload/download speed, choose which folders to sync or exclude etc.
Rating: 5/5 as there’s no complex setup/account settings. Things literally couldn’t be simpler than a “folder”.
Jurisdiction and legal compliances
This is important, at least to me. I can’t let my data rest in countries I’m not comfortable with.
Fortunately, Sync is completely Canada-based.
As for compliances, it’s HIPAA compliant for starters. This is an act which protects health-data. The more common GDPR compliance too is taken care of. If you’re new, know that this means any and all of your personal data is legally private and secure.
The Canada-specific “Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act” further ensures privacy of data and Sync obviously is in compliance.
In a nutshell, on top of the already unbreakable E2E encryption, your data also is legally protected and can’t just be sold/shared with third-parties.
The one benefit of using Sync cloud storage over local HDD is file-versioning. Imagine you make changes to a file. On your local HDD without Sync those changes are mostly permanent.
Sync on the other hand allows file versioning and history. Imagine you make a change to a file in your Sync folder, or in your Sync account online. You can always go back and recover older versions.
What impressed me most was it keeps versions even as old as 1 year (365 days). Now, I’ve personally used a few other Dropbox alternatives, none come close to year-long data retention.
In fact, it even supports “Account Rewinding”. When used, you can rewind your entire account back to a specific date and time! This may help when you need to reset entire projects or in many other scenarios.
Rating: 5/5 for 365-day retention time and the added account recovery feature.
Advanced Sharing options
Sync’s sharing options did impress me.
For starters, Sync offers a link-sharing feature. So everything you upload on the platform gets its own link. You can share the link with others to grant them access to the files.
The link-settings are impressive! I can password protect my links. When done, the content of the links can only be accessed with the right password.
It also lets me set expiry dates. Note that the expiry dates are for the links not the files. Meaning, my files stay forever in my account, the link simply isn’t functional anymore once it expires.
It offers granular control and I can even set the exact time when the link expires!
It also lets me set the access permissions! I can either allow the other party to “view only”, or also enable “downloads” for the files.
Moreover, I can even set “number of downloads” to files! This prevents abuse and unauthorized downloads. If you’re into a business which may be affected by piracy, sharing links with limited downloads may be a big help!
Do note that the options may slightly vary for you depending on what content exactly you’re sharing.
Rating: 5/5, give me a reason why I should rate it less?
Advanced account security features
This Sync.com review can’t be complete without us discussing the security feature, right? By security, I mean the security features for the account as well as your uploaded files in general.
Now it has an entire “Security” page which helps increase security.
Let’s start with account security? It allows 2-FA via not just one but two modes. You can either use your e-mail as the second authenticator, or Google Authenticator.
Either way, enabling this would require 2-FA for logging in to your account. An OTP would be sent either to your e-mail or to your Google Authenticator app.
This ensures that even when your password is hacked, your account and files still can’t be accessed by the hacker(s).
You also can enable/disable e-mail based account recovery. Disabling this is immensely helpful if you suspect your primary email account to be hacked or you share it with other people.
The “Password Hint” feature too is available. You can enable and set a hint for your account from your security page. I’m confident you know what this is, don’t you?
It also allows setting time limits for each session. Do note that this is only applicable for web-logins and not for the desktop application. Anyway, you can set either 1 hour or 24 hours as the time-limit.
Once this time has elapsed, the account is auto logged-out. This is helpful if you leave your computer unattended for longer periods of time, or when you use a public computer.
Lastly, it also features SSOs. This stands for “Single Sign-on”. It allows you to login to your web panel directly from the desktop app. It’s a convenience feature which saves time and can be disabled when you need added security.
There’s also a device manager! It shows me all the devices which have access to my Sync account. It’s not just eye-candy though, I also can “manage” those devices. Meaning, I can completely remove access for any of these devices which would require them to sign-in again.
Furthermore, imagine you lose your device physically. The problem is, it’ll still be syncing with your Sync account and all of its content, right? The device removal feature solves the problem.
You can “delete” devices. Once done, those devices wouldn’t Sync to your Sync account anymore and hence your files would remain secure.
Additionally, I can also set which of these device can or can’t change my Sync password. When disabled, those accounts still retain complete access, just without the ability to lock me out of my account.
All of the features discussed in this Sync com review section above were related to the “account”, weren’t they? Well, there are a few content-specific security features as well.
Now, there’s a “Remote share wipe” feature. When you’ve shared folders/files with others, this allows you to remotely delete files off their Sync folders.
Rating: 5/5, based on number of features, level of security and ease of implementation.
Team management and collaboration
I didn’t expect or want Sync to be a “Project Management Tool”. While similar, those are still miles away from E2E cloud storage services.
However, I did find quite a few features which do let me use Sync as a project management tool to some extent.
For starters, I can manage a team. Remember the “Users” option mentioned in the UI section of this Sync.com review? Now, the other member doesn’t need to have a Sync account! Sync allows account creation for anyone!
It even offers quite a bit of control! I can set if I wish to retain password change authority with me for this new account. Additionally, I can also either grant or remove “permanent deletion of files” power to the other member.
It even has an activity log! This lets me check the activity histories for all the users. So I’ll know who edited what, what has been deleted by whom, when and basically everything else!
Then, imagine you’re an administrator. You may need files from a few members of your team. Giving them complete access to everything else shared by others isn’t ideal, is it? Sync has this file request feature. Using this you can request files from multiple people simultaneously and these people never see the files others have shared with you.
A major feature that project management tools have is the “chat” feature, Sync isn’t a project management tool and doesn’t have it.
However, it does have “comments” which even some other best Dropbox alternatives are void of. This allows users to leave comments on the uploaded files. Changes, upgrades, problems etc. can be communicated with ease using these comments.
What’s my favourite feature is its user & folder-specific permissions. E.g. maybe I want a user to have editing access for one folder, but “view only” for another!
In other words, I don’t have to grant any individual user “overall” control. Rather, I can set what each user can do for every single folder. In fact, it even notifies me every time someone views a link I shared!
Furthermore, if you’ve clients, you’d love Sync. You can white-label your links! In other words, when you share links with your clients, they’d see your logo and not that of Sync!
(I wasn’t exaggerating its “Project Management” capabilities, was I?)
Rating: 5/5 because even though it could add a few more features, considering it’s a “cloud storage” platform, the current team features are still more than what most others offer.
Other Sync features
Sync also features a few other capabilities. These aren’t what may make or break a deal, however, this Sync.com review wouldn’t be complete without a fair mention.
File previews for starters are available. Most files including PDFs, Microsoft documents, images etc. What’s disappointing personally to me is music or videos can’t be previewed but that’s a problem I can live with.
It’s also compatible with Office365. Once linked, all changes to your Office365 documents are automatically synced to your Sync account.
Its mobile compatibility is “practical” as well. Meaning, it doesn’t only have native apps for mobile devices (both iOS and Android), but also offers advanced, mobile-specific features.
For starters, it’s capable of automatically syncing to your camera. So anything you capture is synced to your cloud. This not only saves space on your phone, prevents lags, but also makes sure you never lose your memories when you upgrade or lose your device.
While it’s pretty obvious, let me just say it out loud. You retain complete access to your files even without an internet connection with Sync! Obviously the updates/changes are synced when your connection resumes, however, access and changes still are possible without Internet.
Rating: 4/5, while it’s feature-rich, I must say a few advanced features need to be explained more. As a new user, you may have to use the feature a few times to understand what it does.
Remember the “Vault” I mentioned earlier in this Sync.com review? The one you can access from the top-bar? It’s a major feature that Sync offers which most of its other competitors don’t.
Vault is your personal space. E.g. I may have personal photos, videos, or just documents that I do not wish to share with others.
Anything I upload on my Sync account “Vault” doesn’t get shared with the other devices which have access to the Sync account. So this is basically Sync’s stripped-down, barebone “cloud storage” version without any sharing features.
Note that this is also possible on the desktop app. You do not have to use the web browser if you don’t want to for using the Sync vault.
Rating: 5/5, it’s a simple feature and I don’t see reasons to reduce the rating.
Sync.com pricing and plans
Before I wrap this Sync.com review up, let’s address the Elephant in the room. How much does Sync cost?
Well yes, there’s a forever free Sync plan which offers most if not all features. Most importantly, all of the security features are included even in the free plan.
The free plan offers 5 GB storage and 30-day history retention. For $0.00 I’d say that’s a deal.
Sync.com plans can be availed for:
- Solo Basic- $8.00/month- 2 TB storage/ 1 user/180-day histories.
- Solo Professional– $20.00/month- 6TB storage/1 user/ 365-day histories.
- Teams Standard– $5.00/user/month- 1 TB storage/ 2+ users/180-day histories.
- Teams Unlimited– $15/user/month- Unlimited storage/ 2+ users/ 365-day histories.
Sync prides itself on privacy as I’ve mentioned multiple times throughout this Sync review. What adds to the same is its “Bitcoin” acceptance. Well yes, all you need is an anonymous e-mail ID and pay using Bitcoin. Sync will never know who you are!
Obviously fiat (traditional) modes of payments such as cards and PayPal are accepted as well.
pCloud Vs Sync
Both pCloud and Sync are two of the biggest names in the industry. Hence, the only way to sign off this Sync.com review is to compare these giants.
I’ll keep this very simple and easy to understand. If you’re looking for more “features”, pCloud is the winner. But wait, that comes at a cost! pCloud isn’t “Zero Knowledge”.
Meaning, pCloud files can be accessed by pCloud and other third-parties! pCloud does offer E2E encrypted, zero knowledge encryption but it costs extra! By default, you do not get that.
Sync on the other hand offers both acceptable features, as well as zero knowledge encryption by default for free.
I mentioned how I’m not happy with Sync being unable to stream music previews earlier. Well, pCloud can! This is an edge pCloud has over Sync.
However, pCloud charges extra if you wish to extend your history-retention beyond the default 30-day period. Sync offers 180-day retention even on its cheapest plan.
As for pricing, Sync paid plans start at $8.00/month (billed $96.00 annually). pCloud too doesn’t have monthly plans! You either have to choose its yearly plan at $47.88/year or the lifetime plan at $175.00 (one-time payment).
Verdict: Security is of prime importance to me and hence I choose Sync as the winner. If security isn’t your priority and you only need “space”, pCloud would impress you.
Sync vs. Dropbox
Edward Snowden says “Dropbox is hostile to privacy”. When the world’s topmost whistleblower says something, I tend to listen.
Moreover, Dropbox is owned by Google. In case you don’t know, Gmail was found to “read” (not just monitor, actually “read”) user e-mails!
Additionally, we’re all already frustrated with its extensively intrusive ads, tracking and everything else. So in my personal opinion, I’d refrain from anything that’s owned by Google/Alphabet when it comes to “privacy”.
The final nail in the coffin for Dropbox privacy is that it’s not E2E/Zero Knowledge. Dropbox has access to your files!
Additionally, Dropbox was hacked in 2016 leading to 68million logins being leaked online! It also has been hacked on smaller scales in 2012 and 2013.
Apart from security, Sync offers the 365-days file histories while Dropbox is limited to 180-day histories.
Verdict: I generally tend to be fair and unbiased. However, in this case, I’d say I’m totally leaning towards Sync (for good reasons as mentioned above) and for crying out loud, it’s more secure than Dropbox.
Frequently Asked questions
I’ve tried to make this Sync.com review as detailed as is humanely possible. However, I’m confident you may still be left with a few questions. Let’s address those then?
#1. Is Sync.com free?
Yes. Sync offers a forever free account with 5GB storage.
#2. Do I need a credit card for a free account?
No. You only need an e-mail ID.
#3. What’s the maximum file size I can upload on Sync?
There’s no maximum file size. Sync offers this very rare “unlimited” file size allowance. Meaning, each individual file can be of any size without any limitations.
#4. Can I selectively sync files or is everything auto-synced?
The Sync desktop application does offer a selective sync feature. You can choose which files/folders you wish to sync.
Sync.com review- Final verdict
Let’s wrap this Sync.com review up? So, is Sync any good? Yes it is! The features are impressive, security is top-notch and the pricing reasonably set.
While Sync is primarily a “cloud storage platform”, it totally doubles up as a team management or project management tool and that’s what makes its pricing reasonable.
The level of control I get with files, users, and even reports is pretty satisfactory. In a nutshell, if you need a secure, zero knowledge cloud storage platform for you and your team, Sync deserves a peek.
Why trust this Sync.com review? With its forever free plan, go sign up and verify everything that I’ve said so far for yourself!