Box is not online backup nor sync – it’s online collaboration. And when it comes to collaboration, Box does a great job.
If that’s what you’re looking for (perhaps you manage a team of employees on a certain project,) Box is the solution.
Continue reading for the review, or get a free 5GB Box account today.
- Advanced collaboration features not found elsewhere.
- Free 5GB account.
- Not actually an online backup solution.
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A Complete Review of Box Online Collaboration and File Storage
Box allows you to backup, protect, access, and share your files online, as well as to work on your files from anywhere. You can protect your important files while collaborating and sharing certain files with others, with no software to install.
Key features promised by Box:
- View and access files on demand.
- Share individual files or entire folders.
- View files from any device.
- Collaborate with friends and coworkers.
- Store your files in the cloud.
- Sophisticated tools aimed at online collaboration.
- Works on iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.
- Integrates with Zoho for online file editing.
- Accessed through a web browser only.
- Files must be uploaded manually at first.
Here is my full evaluation and review…
Getting Started With Box
If you compare Box to the standard backup companies like Mozy and MyPC Backup, or even to a simple file storage service like ADrive, Box will look quite a bit different. Why? There is no software client!
Box is completely web-based. This is both good and bad, depending on how you look at it. While you miss out on software that runs in the background to make sure everything is backed up and synced, you get the simplicity of never having to install or upgrade software on each machine where you want to use Box.[Important note: the Desktop Sync feature, which lets you access Box folders from your desktop, is exclusive to Box Business accounts right now. However, Box may release a similar feature to Individual users in late 2012.]
This also makes the sign-up process simple – just head to Box.com and click “Sign Up,” choose a plan (probably the Personal plan,) enter your info, and click Continue. That’s it!
Box Membership Plans and Pricing Levels
The two main plans to sign-up for are Box For Personal and Box for Business.
Sign up for free for a personal account with 5GB storage space. (Or choose 25GB for $9.99/month or 50GB for $19.99/month.) The free account comes with a 100MB max file size, and the paid versions increase that to 1GB. Box For Personal lets you store files in the cloud, share files easily, and collaborate with others by turning folders into shared workspaces.
With Box For Business, you get all of the basic features, but your storage space is bumped up to a whopping 1000 GB and there are valuable tools added in. You can securely invite colleagues and clients into your account to collaborate on files, have password-protected files, Desktop Sync, role-based access, and you can easily supervise the projects in a shared workspace, whether your colleagues are in the next room or the next hemisphere!
The business account costs $15/user/month. With support for 3 to 500 users, that means the monthly fee will be anywhere from $45 to $7500. A 14-day free trial is available.
How to Use Box
Once signed-up, you can log-in to Box.com and access your control panel.
The online interface is quite similar to the regular box.com website:
The first step is uploading your files. The two standard methods – file browsing and drag and drop – are available.
I should also mention a neat way of uploading your files – you can simply email them to a box.com address and they will be placed in your account! (The specific email address is generated based on each folder. Check the “Allow uploads to the folder via email” box under Folder Properties, and Box will give you an email address.)
Even more interesting, in my opinion, is being able to edit your files online. Box integrated Zoho, a leading provider of online document editing, into your account area so that you can edit Word and Excel documents quickly and efficiently without having to download them. This is very helpful considering the lack of desktop file sync in personal accounts (the same feature Dropbox has been providing free for years.)
To use Zoho, right click on a file and select “Edit document,” “Edit spreadsheet,” or “Edit presentation.” The file will open, and you can use Zoho’s intuitive interface to change it. When you are done, save it, and it will overwrite the original file in your Box account.
Sharing and Collaboration
Invite others to share and edit files. But that’s not all. Post comments and discussions in one place. Great to discuss a certain document without having to alter the document. Great for the workplace and especially college study groups; or use it to plan this year’s family vacation.
I have four main folders in my Box. Three are for my current courses, and each of those folders is shared with my respective study group members for our class notes and group projects. It works great since we can’t physically work together. For example, say we’re each in charge of a section of a Powerpoint presentation. We can all combine our slides online, then comment on and discuss other members’ slides (and hope the constructive criticism doesn’t cause a fight!)
The fourth folder is called Bigfoot Sightings, and that one is shared with anyone I meet online who shares a fascination for Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or UFOs. We share our own pictures and upload scans of local newspaper stories so we can all comment on them. It’s like a private forum.
You’re able to set restrictions on users to where they can view, edit, and/or delete files.
Final Decision on Box
What I liked about Box:
Box offers the most advanced online collaboration features I’ve seen.
What I did not like about Box:
It’s expensive and lacks online backup capability.
Box Review Wrap-Up:
Overall rating: out of 5 stars
Reviewed by: Paul Ryan
Date of original review: August 28, 2006
Date last updated: July 5, 2012
What it really comes down to is, do you need online collaboration, or do you need backup?
If the former, Box is a stand-out choice. You’ll be hard pressed to find such extensive collaboration and online file editing capabilities elsewhere. If the latter, you should look at services such as Carbonite and SugarSync – they’ll meet your needs better for less money.
If you think Box is right for you, you can test it out for free at the link below.
Official site: Box.com
Access files from anywhere. Just a basic feature similar to online backup services and even online storage.
Collaboration features are excellent. Collaborate by all working on files, you can even add comments to a discussion around the file. Very nice way to keep everything in one place.
You can edit documents right in Box (“in the cloud” as they say.) Other group members can edit, too.
Instant email updates when a team member updates or comments on a file in Box.
And here are 10 of the most popular features in the paid version:
Admin Console for user management
Data encryption using 256-bit SSL
Increased file size limit for uploads
Role-based access controls
Integration with Google Apps
Integration with Salesforce
The latest feature.
Install and Setup Process
Nothing to install! It’s all online.
All you have to do is browse the website to get a feel for it. It’s easy to use yet powerful.
Backup Space and Pricing Plans
A 5GB Personal account is free. Personal accounts also available at 25GB ($9.99/month) and 50GB (19.99/month) limits.
The Box Business accounts give you much more space and features, but the cost is $15/user/month.
I am not sure about the specifics of all Box’s security features.
Box offers six mobile apps to cover Android phones and tablets, the iPhone and iPad, and even Windows phones.
If you read this far, chances are you’re looking for online collaboration and not just backup or sync. And if that’s the case, you are really going to like Box! Especially if you have “collaborated” in the past by emailing files back and forth!
Go ahead and start out with a completely free 5GB account to see if Box is right for you.Try Box For Free
The Box online interface:
Stay tuned, we will be adding more screenshots in the future.Try Box For Free
Overall rating: out of 5 stars
Reviewed by: Paul Ryan
Date of original review: August 4, 2012
Date last updated: August 13, 2012