Amazon is in no way new to the cloud. However, Amazon Cloud Storage didn’t really manage to keep up with its main competitors in the past. Reviews from disgruntled clients talked about the poor syncing capabilities and photo uploading features of the service.
The first generation cloud computing service from Amazon was released in March 2011. Reactions weren’t pretty. As a result, Amazon made significant changes to its features and made a very bold move: it introduced unlimited cloud storage for an outrageously low price. We will discuss this in more detail in the price section.
These new plans were designed to help Amazon get back in the game and hopefully hold its ground against competitors such as Box, Google Drive, Microsoft, Apple’s iCloud, and Dropbox. Let’s take Google Drive, one of the most affordable solutions, as an example: its basic plans offer 100GB of storage for 1.99$ per month. This is double the price that Amazon has in mind.
“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up. With the two new plans… Customers don’t need to worry about storage space – they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music and files in one convenient place.”
Amazon’s decision for storage plans prices further demonstrates how important it is to have low cost per gigabyte. Although the service lacks in certain aspects, as compared to other services, it has definitely improved, since we last used it. All it has to do now is to figure out some sort of additional service (like Google Drive’s documents, spreadsheets & presentations or Dropbox’s app support) to reel in more clients.
On the heels of Amazon’s announcement for new pricing plans I decided to review the service one more time. To be honest, I was completely disappointed by Amazon cloud storage as it was back in 2011.
One of the worst decisions I ever made was to upload 650 photos at the same time and then having to delete each of them manually. In all fairness, it wasn’t all Amazon’s fault. I hadn’t even read a review or presentation of services before even using the service. Now I know exactly what Amazon’s cloud storage service limitations are, and here are my grades for it:
- Security: 5/10
- Help & Support: 9/10
- Access: 5/10
- Share: 4/10
- Backup: 8/10
- Sync: 5/10
Main Features of Amazon Cloud Storage
If you’re looking for a lightweight service for backing up your images, then Amazon is the perfect solution. For only 11.99$ per year, users can enjoy unlimited storage for all their family and vacation photos. Rating the service only based on its photo syncing & storing capabilities would probably result in a 10/10. Sadly, Amazon Cloud Storage should do so much more, and it doesn’t, or at least it doesn’t the same way that other services do.
For hyper-connected fellows, the idea of having a cloud storage system that doesn’t sync files is probably unacceptable. But it cannot necessarily be considered a drawback. There are plenty of people who prefer not having all their files synched across multiple devices simply because their bandwidth can’t handle it. Keep in mind, however, that this will mean that your documents and images will never be updated to their latest version automatically.
A few other aspects that might prove bothersome are the lack of collaborative tools, no sharing capabilities, and the desktop application that is an absolute nightmare. These things considered, Amazon is still a pretty decent photo backup solution (probably better than any other that are on the market right now).
The idea is to know what you are buying. There are plenty of reviews online that clearly state which type of cloud storage provider is good for what. So if you’re on the lookout for a collaborative, user-friendly storage provider with good syncing capabilities you will probably enjoy Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.
However, if you want a good automated backup tool, you should consider iDrive. Amazon cloud storage is your best bet for automated photo uploading and video storage.
Amazon Cloud Storage Pricing Plans
The biggest selling point for Amazon right now is its obscenely low price tag. For 11.99$ a year, users can upload photos to their heart’s content. As we already mentioned, videos and documents are not included in these plans, but you do receive an additional 5GB of storage for them.
Amazon Prime members benefit from this perk for free. There is also an Unlimited Everything Plan which allows you to upload just about anything to the cloud (documents, videos, images etc.) for 59.99$ per year. This means approximately 4.99$ per month.
Potential customers are even encouraged to sign up for a three-month free trial, to evaluate the quality of Amazon’s services prior to making a purchase. When we compare these prices with those of competitors, Amazon Cloud Storage sounds like a good idea.
Google Drive doesn’t have unlimited plans, but its 1TB plan + 15GB free costs 119.88$ per year. Dropbox’s plans are similar to that of Google Drive for 1 terabyte of storage. Lastly, Microsoft’s One Drive has an unlimited option for customers who purchase Office 365 subscriptions. It costs 69.99$ per year. At first glance, Amazon seems like the best choice, because it offers truly unlimited storage, but it lacks some very important features that make Dropbox and Google Drive so successful.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Amazon Cloud Storage
Below, we listed the major drawbacks of Amazon’s cloud storage service:
- The Mac Desktop App is Useless… As a matter of fact, the Windows application isn’t any better. In order to transfer larger individual files (over 2GB), you have to use the desktop client. Once installed, you can drag files to the interface and have them saved online. There is no option for delaying synchronization for times when the device is not in use and you also cannot pause or cancel an upload. This can become very frustrating when you accidentally drag 2000 photos. While it is possible to upload files through the web-based app, you should know that it will take a bit longer.
- But Upload Speed is good: Amazon’s cloud storage service will suck the files you upload on it in a matter of minutes. It is actually possible to upload entire folders.
- You can Easily Organize your Data (especially photos): Another thing that I liked about Amazon is the fact that files can be easily organized, renamed and moved around. The service organizes photos like no other. From the web-based app you can view your images in a similar manner to Dropbox. Hovering over one will offer more detail and you can also display them in full-screen slideshows.
- Videos are actually playable: Many people have been complaining about videos not being playable in Amazon Cloud Storage. Granted, they don’t seem playable, but they actually are. All you need to do is to open the left hand side menu, choose Photos & Videos, and click on them.
- No file-editing or creation tools
- No Collaborative or sharing features
- Automatic Image uploader tool for mobile devices: Android and iOS devices and, of course, the Amazon Fire, will automatically upload photos to the cloud if the option is turned on. However, this feature is available with many other providers, so it can hardly be considered unique.
- Sharing: The only way to share files through Amazon is by sending a link for the particular file or folder through email or on Facebook. Obviously, limitations or passwords aren’t even up for discussion.
- Decent Backup Options: If you have hundreds or even thousands of photos, you should consider using Amazon. The unlimited storage option is truly great for photographers and graphic designers, but it should be used as a secondary storage.
- Restoring: I was rather impressed with the service’s restoring feature. All you need is one click on the button and Amazon will download all the files you need restored. However, because versioning is not possible, you cannot access files or restore them to a specific date.
As long as you know what you’re buying, you won’t be disappointed. Amazon Cloud Storage isn’t like other cloud storage providers, but at least it doesn’t stoop to false advertising. It’s definitely behind services such as Dropbox and Google Drive in terms of collaborative and sharing features, but if storage space is all you need, Amazon’s got you covered.
Security-wise, the platform is extremely safe because it uses world-class security programs and features including hardened facilities and encrypted files. There are no gray areas covered in the Terms and Conditions, but they do mention that they reserve the right to inspect and retain your files, if needed. Another thing that I found amazing was the support offered by Amazon. Most cloud storage providers lack in this department, but not Amazon. You can find plenty of online guides and there is even a general help forum where you can ask questions.
The Good: Amazing tool for backing up photos and storing huge amounts of images. The web-based app is intuitive and user-friendly. The auto-backup tool for mobile devices is useful.
The Bad: No file versioning. Completely lacking collaborative & sharing tools. Also lacks important features such as scheduled backups, editing tools or cancellation/pause options for uploads.