Dropbox vs 4shared vs Annotary vs WatchDox
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Pricing Starting From
For 1 Year / 1 user(s)
For 1 Month / 1 user(s)
1 TB (1,000 GB) of space
Safe, reliable backup
Access from anywhere
Simple file sharing
Additional sharing controls
100 Gb of online space
Ads free sharing
High level of security
Direct download links
Up to 40 users + $4 per additional user
Highlight & Annotate Web Pages
Save & Organize Bookmarks
Share Highlighted Pages
View Highlights and Annotations from Others
Organize Resources for Future Reference
Create Groups to Collaborate with Colleagues
Follow Others to Discover New Content
Search Bookmarks and Collections from Others
Share Bookmarks Publicly or Keep Them Private
Sync and share
View, edit, annotate
Control and track documents
Extend and utilize existing corporate solutions
Send large files
Free Trial Availability
Cloudswave Editorial Review
Dropbox Review by Cloudswave
Your boss summons you to her office. You go, silently hoping you’re not in trouble. Turns out you’re not, thank goodness for that, and she asks for a file you remember filing in the Archives section – the bottom drawer – of your filing cabinet approximately a year ago. She needs the file before noon, better if you can hand it to her before she heads to a board meeting in an hour.
You hurriedly go back to your corner in the adjacent room. But much to your chagrin, you spend the next hour and a half rummaging through file after file, folder after folder, sheet after sheet, drawer after drawer, only to discover that the file in question is nowhere to be found.
Where in Merlin’s beard has it gone?
In this age of software and various other technological breakthroughs, unfortunately, the fictional scenario above is reality for many small businesses. Files, folders, stacks and stacks of paper that are susceptible to damage, loss, or theft still occupy many administrative personnel’s working days.
What is Dropbox?
Traditional document management systems are, for the most part, time-consuming, labor-intensive, and error-prone, which can cost companies a lot in terms of time, labor, and lost business opportunities.
This is where Dropbox, a cloud-based document management system, makes its mark.
Established in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, then students at MIT, Dropbox is a file management solution that allows users to upload, back up, and share files in various formats. The concept for Dropbox came to existence because Houston constantly forgot his USB flash drive.
Because it’s cloud-based, files saved to Dropbox can be accessed anytime, anywhere, on any device. No more worries even if you forget your USB drive or portable hard drive at home. Dropbox provides for both online and offline document access.
Used by approximately 400 million people worldwide, Dropbox is a brand that has become synonymous to cloud storage and file sharing. Even Dropbox for Business, a premium service targeted at teams and organizations, has already breached the 100,000-user mark since its launch in April 2013. Organizations using Dropbox for Business include Yahoo, News Corp, Under Armour, Intuit, Macquarie, and National Geographic.
Dropbox enables friends, family, and work colleagues to collaboratively work on files, documents, and photo, audio, or video projects. It supports Microsoft Office documents, PDFs, various image and video files, and Photoshop files, among others. It’s used to back up important data and free up your device’s storage to make way for new files or documents.
Because it works on practically any device, it syncs files across your many different gadgets – laptop, smartphone, tablet, or PC. Meaning, no matter how many times you edit a file, everyone you share it to gets the latest version.
To understand what Dropbox is and what it can offer to its users, let’s discuss some of the app’s features below:
Anytime, anywhere access
Cloud-based systems like Dropbox have changed the world of work in a big way. People can now work from home, at a coffee shop or co-working space and collaborate with colleagues from anywhere – an essential capability for mobile workers and entrepreneurs who need to be productive despite being constantly away from their work desks.
Dropbox has mobile apps for Androids, iPhones, iPads, BlackBerry devices, Kindle Fire, and smartphones and tablets running on Windows.
Files or documents marked as favorites on the mobile app can be made available for offline access. This means that even when you’re at a location where data signal is wonky at best, or on a trip to the middle of nowhere, file access won’t be a problem. Any changes made to the file are automatically synced across all your devices the moment you’re back online.
To secure your files and keep your data private, Dropbox employs various security mechanisms including 256-bit AES encryption and SSL/TLS for file transfer. Also, Dropbox regularly conducts manual testing to identify and correct bugs, and patch potential vulnerabilities.
Dropbox for Business has a customizable admin console that gives you visibility and full control over how people access and interact with your organization’s data. Permission and access rights can instantly be granted or revoked, depending on users’ roles in the company. The app also uses a two-step verification process to thwart unauthorized access.
In addition, Dropbox lets you remotely delete data from stolen or lost devices. A four-digit passcode that needs to be entered whenever you launch the Dropbox app can be set up. You have 10 chances to enter the correct passcode or your device will automatically be signed out.
Dropbox has a feature called external sharing which allows you to send links to files or folders. Recipients need not have a Dropbox account to view the shared files or folders. To secure your files and prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands, you can password-protect the links (available for Pro and Business users) and set them to expire after a certain number of days. Sharing links can also be removed at any time.
To keep scattered work in one place and facilitate teamwork, Dropbox for Business allows collaborative editing among colleagues, and the commenting feature can be used to gather feedback and ideas. Changes made to files or documents are synced in real time to ensure everyone has the most updated file version.
Both Dropbox and Dropbox for Business let you create folders to keep your files organized.
Need to restore a file to its previous version? Dropbox’s file versioning feature takes care of that.
If you’re a free Dropbox subscriber, you can revert to any previous version of a file as long as the changes are made within the last 30 days. Extended Version History, which is an addon available to Dropbox Pro subscribers, preserves your files’ history for up to 12 months.
Dropbox likewise saves deletion history for 30 days for users of the free plan and up to a year for Dropbox Pro subscribers. For Business account holders, changes and deletion histories are saved forever.
Microsoft Office integration
Most documents are created using Microsoft Office – Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. And if you’re sharing MS Office files with people who unfortunately don’t have the software on their devices, they’ll have trouble previewing them, let alone make changes to them.
Dropbox’s collaboration with Microsoft via Microsoft Office Online enables users to work on Microsoft Office files without leaving Dropbox, without installing Microsoft Office on their devices.
While Microsoft Office Online doesn’t carry all the features of the desktop version, it’s more than enough for users to perform essential functions such as open, edit, insert tables, customize charts, copy and paste images, save, and print.
As a rule of thumb, any file that can be saved on your computer can be uploaded and saved to Dropbox. This means that Dropbox can preview various file formats even without access to the original application used to create the file, provided the files aren’t corrupted or password-protected, and don’t exceed file size limits – 20MB for documents, 4MB for text and code formats, and 50MB for images.
While there’s no limit to the length and size of your videos, Dropbox only lets you preview the first 15 minutes.
Available for computers running on Windows, Mac, and Linux, the downloadable Dropbox desktop app automates and speeds up file sharing and syncing. After successfully downloading the desktop app on your device, a Dropbox folder, which essentially functions just like any other folder in your hard disk drive, is created. The only difference is that any file you save into the Dropbox folder is automatically uploaded and synced across all the devices linked to your Dropbox account.
Files in the Dropbox folder can be accessed and edited even while you’re offline, and all changes are synced the next time you’re online.
Stuck in traffic? Vacationing in Bali but still need to check on some files?
Whichever mobile device you use – Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or Kindle Fire – Dropbox’s mobile app enables you to access your files wherever you are. It lets you preview, share, and edit files straight from your tablet or smartphone. Unlike the desktop app, which automatically downloads shared files to the Dropbox folder, the mobile app only downloads files when you need them.
The Dropbox mobile app can be set up to automatically upload all photos and videos taken using your smartphone, which are then automatically downloaded to your Dropbox folder in your desktop – a quick and easy way to back up and transfer your files from one device to another without lifting a finger.
Is Dropbox for you?
Whether for personal or business purposes, if you’re on the hunt for a file sharing and document management software that’s feature-rich and accessible whenever, wherever, on any device, Dropbox is worth a look.
Aside from its native file sharing and collaborative editing functions, its developer API and ready-made integrations with various third-party solutions such as Salesforce, AutoCAD 360, DocuSign, Okta, Splunk, Vimeo, Asana, InVision, Trello, Slack, and Microsoft Office make it a powerful productivity app.
4shared Review by Cloudswave
4shared is one of the most famous file storage and document management services with many additional features. There are dozens of similar services. But there is also the great demand for storing the files online, so each of them has its own users. It’s unbelievable, but only 10 years ago it seemed ridiculous to store files online. Today working with the data that is stored on the remote server seems as natural as to having the mailbox.
Why do we upload files online?
People are uploading files online with different purpose. Here are some of them.
Sometimes it is important to upload really large files and to have a lot of space for files storing. It is handy to have the online backup of the music, photo, and movie collection. In this case the storage period really matters, because you need to be sure that the data wasn’t deleted because you haven’t accessed it for some time.
Many file storage providers offer the data sync features in our days. Because most of us have more than one device for working with files (e.g. laptop, PC, smartphone) it’s incredibly handy. The user has the possibility of downloading the files from anywhere and in some cases even have access to the version history.
Easy data sharing
Usually file hosting services offer the easy way of sharing data with the other people. So when the file is stored online it can be sent to the bunch of people without using the archaic attachments.
What’s more is important?
Sometimes additional features really matter. Listening to the music from the user’s own collection online and convenient mobile app for uploading data are among them. Of course the reliability of the service means a lot. The majority of users prefer the file hosting that have been functioning here for some time.
What is 4shared?
Founded in 2005, 4shared is a popular file storage service that offers many additional features and even social ones. It allows storing various types of files in the cloud, easy sharing them with the world, searching for public files uploaded by other users. It is possible to view images, play music and video directly from the cloud without downloading to the local computer, smartphone or tablet (though downloading is also possible). 4shared actually have two main purposes: uploading, storing and sharing your own files; downloading files of other users.
It’s worth noting that 4shared is not the best choice when you need to quickly share some files with the other people. First of all, it is impossible to upload files to the server without registration. Secondly registration is also generally needed for downloading files. Despite the fact that you don’t need to register for getting images, you still need to create 4shared account or fill in your credentials from one of the social networks to download the majority of file types.
Free vs Premium
4shared has loyal restrictions for the free users of the service. Basic free registration allows you to download up to 15 GB of data into your account. The maximum file size is 2048 MB. The files are stored 180 days since the last login. It is allowed to download and upload files totaling up to 3 GB daily (or 30 GB monthly).
Free features include the online file manager, which makes it easy to create folders, to move, to copy, and to delete files, to listen to the audio files and to view the video files in real time. Users can also work with 4shared desktop client and with free applications for the popular mobile platforms. There is also free WebDav support.
4shared Mobile app for Android offers the standard set of functions: there are files search, downloading, uploading, and sharing. Using the app settings one can enable or disable the integrated browser for viewing images, videos and music directly through the app.
Paid plan costs $9.95/month (or $77.99 if you pay for the whole year). It includes 100 GB of space for storing files, the ability to upload files of almost any size (up to 100 GB) and to download 100 GB per month. The files are stored for 1 year. There is an option to use download managers and to resume broken downloads, and there are no advertisements while downloading the files. Also in addition to the media files streaming the user gets the chance to edit the text files online.
Using 4shared for files uploading
There are several ways of files uploading to 4shared. It is possible to use the web interface or the desktop client that is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Premium users can also upload the files through the FTP or SFTP protocols (which is certainly faster). There is also WebDav protocol support. This allows working from the desktop with all the files added to 4shared account. You only need the client that supports the WebDav protocol. The freeware program CyberDuck is a good example.
The web interface supports drag-and-drop for files uploading (note that this feature is not supported in Safari and Internet Explorer browsers). This way separate files or even the whole folders can be uploaded. Drag-and-drop is also supported in the desktop application. Here it is possible to control the uploading speed and the number of simultaneous downloads, to predefine the destination folder. There also some advanced settings. For example the user can configure the program behavior if the file with the same name is already exists. It’s also worth noting that 4shared desktop client may use proxy for uploading.
Using 4shared for files sharing
Many users select 4shared from the tons of other file storage services due to the advanced sharing features. It is very easy to share the uploaded files — the ready link is always one click away. Once the public link is created it could be sent via email to the recipients. One more handy option is the QR-codes support. Every 4shared file has the unique QR-code, so the smartphone users that have the appropriate app, can get the download link very quickly.
However there are some limitations for the free users. The created links are not direct and show ads. The creating of direct links is available only for the premium users. Due to this feature there is no problem to embed the files links to the website (and many 4shared users actually do so!). Premium 4shared users can also view and analyze the download statistics which includes the info about the time of last downloading and the number of downloads.
Not only files, but the folders could be shared with other users, and there is an option to set the permissions for each folder and subfolder. Inside the account it is possible to create the own folder structure for easy and quick access to data. The information can be protected from the unauthorized access through setting permissions and setting passwords on critical folders. It’s also worth noting that even if the folder is public, the separate files in it can have different access levels.
Using 4shared for files downloading
Being the premium 4shared user it is intelligently to use the downloading features. 4shared has the integrated search engine, and the users may find and download the files uploaded by the others. It is possible to leave comments for file owners and even chat with friends. So if some of your friends also use the service it even can be the sort of social network.
The downloading is possible through the desktop client. There is the separate tab for it. The destination folder, as well as the maximum downloading speed can be configured. It is also possible to set the program behavior in case of existing files.
Premium 4shared users can use their favorite download managers for getting the files. The support of resume feature in download managers is great, especially if there is a need for downloading the big files. The number of simultaneous threads is not limited, but don’t forget about the bandwidth limitation (which is 100 Gb per month). Iа the bandwidth is exceeded the premium user loses its downloading advantages till the end of the month.
There are some more options that can be handy while downloading the big amount of files from 4Shared. The premium users get the option to view the content of ZIP archives while working with web browser. Secondly if there are a lot of files that need to be download one can use the online archiver and get one ZIP file.
Whether you frequently need to upload some data online or downloading movies, music, and other types of content from the net, 4shared may help. Despite the fact that all its features are available only for premium users the price isn’t too high and many options are free.
We highly appreciate the free desktop client, the modern web interface with drag-and-drop support and free mobile apps. Integration with social networks is also a big plus, because there is no need to create the separate account.
No Cloudswave Editorial Review available yet.
No Cloudswave Editorial Review available yet.
Most Favorable User Review
Most Unfavorable User Review
No unfavorable user review available yet for 4shared.
No unfavorable user review available yet for Annotary.
No unfavorable user review available yet for WatchDox.
Most Favorable Critic Review
Even though our Dropbox review found this to be one of the best cloud providers available, it still has some work to do when it comes to business services. For individuals or small corporations, it was our top provider. he stability and reliability of this provider was one of the best we found. The number of applications available also separated this service from the others. We highly recommend this cloud provider for your backup needs.
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4shared, which needs little introduction, is one of the most popular high-quality free online file hosting and sharing services. Using their effective and user-friendly services, users can upload, store and download music, video, photo, documents, and any other types of files.
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The Annotary tool downloads seamlessly and quickly without causing any kind of system slowdown. If you look at a lot of websites, bookmark a lot of pages, and need a better way to keep track of important sentences, Annotary is worth a download.
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WatchDox offers syncing capabilities in support of work efficiency, secure sharing capabilities for ease of collaboration and accurate access. It also offers high tech, yet easy to use editing capabilities for documents with annotative capabilities, which allows users to use the most up to date tools for graphing, excel datasheet building, etc.
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Most Unfavorable Critic Review
4shared is an online file sharing site with only 100GB of bandwidth and a 2GB maximum file size. In addition, the security features lack encryption for transferring and storage, which leaves files open to hackers.
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No critic review available yet for Annotary .
Dropbox Demo Video
4shared Demo Video
Annotary Demo Video
WatchDox Demo Video