pCloud is a rather young entry to the cloud storage space. As a young entry, they bring an interesting approach to it as well. pCloud offers most the basic features you would expect a cloud storage solution to offer. But for an additional monthly fee, pCloud Crypto offers client-side encryption to ensure your data can’t be read by anyone but you and the people you authorize. They also integrate with all your favorite web services like Facebook, Picassa, WordPress, and Instagram. We will take a closer look at all their features in this pCloud review.
They also seem to put a big emphasis on file sharing, with easy ways to create upload and download links you can share with anyone.
pCloud – General Info
pCloud is an interesting new entry into the realm of cloud storage services. Until very recently, they didn’t even offer a mobile app. Now, however, they’ve got one and have hit the ground running.
Their focus is on file sharing and access anywhere, with a mobile app that offers easy music and video streaming from your cloud storage. Automatic upload will sync all of your photos and videos automatically. On the desktop, selective sync is available, meaning you can sync any folder on your desktop you’d like. In fact, it’s cloud-only and will not place a synced folder on your computer.
Pricing plans can be a bit confusing at times. But pCloud is by no means very expensive. However, it’s also a bit curious they decided to offer security as an add-on feature.
Plans & Pricing
In this part of our pCloud review will analyze the pricing and plans offered by this cloud storage provider. The pricing of pCloud’s services is very competitive indeed. A nice thing about them is that they offer basically all of their features except encryption via Crypto to their free users as well. What you’re paying for is simply more storage space and more download bandwidth for file sharing.
|Basic||Free||20 GB storage, 50 GB download traffic from shared links||Mobile and desktop app, SSL transfer security, unlimited file size, file versioning, link sharing (up and down), integrations|
|Premium||$3.99/mo||500 GB storage, 500 GB download traffic from shared links||Same as Basic plan|
|Premium Plus||$7.99/mo||2 TB storage, 2 TB download traffic from shared links||Same as other plans|
pCloud In-Depth Review
In this section of the pCloud review, we’ll go over the different aspects of this service point by point so that you can make an informed decision when deciding if pCloud is right for you.
Backup is pretty simple. Through the desktop app, you can choose individual folders or drives on your computer to back up. There is no “sync folder” created on your computer, so your files will live exclusively in the cloud. Any changes to your folders will be automatically updated in the cloud as well, provided the pCloud app is running. This makes it possible to back up entire machines, but with only 2 TB offered as a maximum, it might be hard for most.
On mobile, automatic backups shine. Videos and photos are automatically uploaded to the cloud, making it a great all-around backup app for mobile and desktop users alike. Not having to even think about backing them up makes it a great replacement for whatever default cloud backup your device uses as well. Intelligent search like that offered by Google Photos would have been nice to see, however.
Files can be restored simply by downloading them. The app makes this pretty simple with the ability to download individual files or entire folders all at once. There is no drive mirroring per se or anything like that, so you’d have to just go through and manually select what you want though rather than just performing a one-click restore of an entire system or drive.
Security is an area that falls a bit flat in this pCloud review. All customers, even free ones, get SSL transfer encryption, which is nice. However, if you want data encryption, you’ll need to pay an additional monthly $3.99 charge to activate pCloud Crypto, their client-side encryption service. The good thing about Crypto though is that it’ll work on the mobile app as well, making sure your data is absolutely secure. If you’re willing to shell out for it, the encryption is top-notch.
Aside from the pay-to-access encryption, other features offered are those like in-app audio and video streaming. Those alone make it worth considering as a powerful mobile option and alternative to Google cloud services like Google Play Music, for example.
File sharing is fairly strong, but there are no means to customize permissions for files. If someone has access to a file, they can do whatever with it, including editing it. At least file versioning is a potential savior. It’s kind of unusual since sharing is such a big part of their system. A saving grace is integrations. The pCloud app integrates very well with social apps like Instagram and Facebook.
They’ve got the power users in mind though with no file size limitations. The only limitation you have is your storage pool itself, which, admittedly, caps out pretty low for big data backups. A potential downside lies in their file versioning, which only stores 30 days worth of versions for free users and 180 for paid ones.
pCloud – Pros & Cons
- Great mobile app with streaming
- Great encryption, if you’re willing to pay
- 24/7 support
- Free accounts can earn bonus storage
- Encryption as an add-on is odd
- No collaboration
- No permissions customization for sharing
pCloud Alternative Options
In this section of the pCloud review, we will provide three alternatives that are on par or better than pCloud’s services.
As far as pCloud alternatives are concerned, we just have to mention Dropbox. Because pCloud owes a lot to this popular cloud solution. Like pCloud, Dropbox is super easy to use. It works automatically and has great integrations with most apps and operating systems. However, pCloud offers a larger array of options for power users relative to Dropbox.
Box is another great alternative to pCloud and Dropbox for that matter. It offers excellent security, it’s quite easy to use and it has a very good app design. Plus it offers a generous amount of free storage. The one area in which pCloud is definitely a better choice is collaboration, however.
Sync is another great pCloud alternative. Sync’s strong points are fast upload speeds, great support and high levels of data security. On the other hand, Sync doesn’t offer file previews. In addition, decryption speeds tend to be slow. This is the tradeoff for the highly strict security policies. Plus, unlike pCloud, Sync does not have a file sharing feature for mobile devices.
With security as an “add-on” feature and no real collaboration, there are certainly some problems with pCloud. Inability to customize file permissions or restrict editing on shared files is also really odd since, as you’ve seen in our pCloud review, file sharing seems to be a focus for them.
That being said, if you are willing to pay, the service is pretty solid. The security is good, the mobile app is awesome, and the support is top-notch. If you do choose to go with a free plan, you can earn additional storage as well, which is a really nice touch. Overall, it’s a good, not great, service, and it’ll be interesting to see how it grows in the future since it’s still quite young. At any rate, we would recommend giving pCloud a shot.