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Reviews and expert opinion Sync

Alicia Daniels Alicia Daniels Cloud Hosting Expert

Sync has all the basic features you’ll need to store, sync and share files, plus reasonable storage capabilities, and great privacy protection. There’s no live chat support and the free plan is definitely bare-bones, but it’s a great option if you want an affordable cloud storage solution or aren’t interested in extra features.

Overview

Basic Cloud Storage Features Done Exceptionally Well

Sync is a basic cloud storage backup solution suitable for personal use and teams. It’s easy to use and offers useful features like link sharing, multi-threaded desktop and mobile apps (for faster uploads), and the Sync Vault.

Although it’s clear that Sync is mostly focused on mastering the basics, there are a few noteworthy non-basic features. For example, some paid plans come with unlimited storage (a rare find in the cloud storage world) and custom branding capabilities.

In addition, some plans allow for file recovery up to 365 days after a file has been deleted, a feature you won’t find with most solutions.

That’s not to say that Sync is perfect. There were definitely a few aspects of Sync that I wasn’t impressed with (more on that below).

So, is Sync right for you? I went ahead and did the research for you, focusing on performance, ease of use, customer support, and even its security and privacy features.

4.0

Features

Multiple Ways to Access Your Files

Data Server Locations Canada
Backup and Restore Options Automatic backups, backup from external drive, backup status reports in web panel, selective sync
Limits and Restrictions Limits on file type/name, fair use limits, bandwidth throttling
Applications and Operating Systems Windows XP and later, macOS 10.6 and later, Linux (web panel online), iOS and Android mobile apps
Encryption Keys 256-bit AES encryption, optional private encryption key
File Access Via web and mobile apps, multi-device syncing
File Sharing

Sync is easily accessible via its desktop or mobile app or the online web panel. I’ve come across a few cloud storage solutions that don’t have desktop or mobile access, so I appreciate that Sync hasn’t done away with these options.Sync’s features are on par with its competitors, so if you’re looking for the basics, you’ve found a good option.

Another standout feature? With Sync Business, you can preview documents from the mobile app or a browser without having to download them – something that not all cloud storage solutions offer.

Speed Up Backups with Simultaneous Transfers

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Click Choose files to begin an upload or drag and drop items from your desktop

Backing up data with Sync isn’t complicated. But as its name suggests, this isn’t a traditional back up. You’ll actually be syncing data from your local device folders to Sync’s servers.

From the web panel, select Upload from the menu on the right and select your files or folders. The backup status report will pop up, where you can track your upload. You can also minimize the window to keep browsing the web panel. If you’ve downloaded the desktop app, you’ll get a desktop notification when files are uploaded.

Both the desktop and mobile apps are multi-threaded so files transfer simultaneously, which makes for faster uploads. Unfortunately, the web panel application doesn’t yet have this feature.

Uploading files via the desktop and mobile apps was hassle-free. There’s an easy drag and drop feature on the desktop app, and the documents I queued began backing up immediately.

It wasn’t difficult to back up via the mobile app either – I just clicked the (+) button and then Upload to select my files. My only real disappointment with the mobile app was that I wasn’t able to backup contacts.

Quickly and Easily Restore Deleted Files

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Use the restore feature to recover deleted files

Data restores are only available for deleted files or folders. From the web panel, select Show deleted files from the menu. Simply click on the ellipses (˙˙˙) to display a dropdown menu. From here, you can choose to restore or permanently delete your selection.

Once your files are restored, they’ll automatically sync to all connected devices. You can only restore or purge files from the web panel. On the free plan, file history and recovery are 30 days, but you can upgrade your plan for more time.

Although Sync doesn’t have a formal data restoration option, you can use the web panel to download files directly to any computer. I was even able to download files to my phone from the web panel through a mobile browser.

Rich Security Features

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Use the account settings to edit your security preferences

One area where Sync doesn’t fall short is security. There are a ton of options available to keep your account and your data safe. You can enable two-factor authentication to require an additional security code for signing in or adding a new device. There’s also a single sign-on (SSO) setting for direct logins from the desktop app.

To edit your security settings, head to Settings > Security in the web panel to view your options. You can set up an auto-logout feature that will end web browser sessions after a specific amount of time with no activity. I set mine to one hour, but there’s also a 24-hour selection.

You can also manage devices through the desktop app. Use the Devices setting to delete a device, set device permissions for password changes or resets, and even remotely log out.

Another great security feature? Sync uses zero-knowledge HTML5 to decrypt files locally in your browser as they download. This feature is supported in Firefox, Edge, Chrome, and Internet Explorer 10+, but isn’t yet available for Safari.

Since Sync runs as zero-knowledge, it doesn’t store your encryption keys – if you forget your password, Sync won’t be able to recover it.

4.5

Ease of use

Intuitive, Practical User Interface

Sync has one of the most user-friendly interfaces that I’ve seen. One feature I liked was the web panel’s Event section, which details all the activity on the account. You can use this feature to monitor and track every login, file upload, deletion, and link creation done by yourself or other users.

Two Ways to Share Files

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Under the Links section, you can view and manage file sharing links, as well as create shared team folders.

Link sharing is available with all of Sync’s plans. It’s easy to do – just click Share on any file or folder to generate a link that you can copy it or send directly via email. Each generated link, its views, and comments can be accessed under the Sharing tab. With a paid account, you can also password-protect links, enable or disable comments, and activate enhanced privacy settings.

If you need to send files to a team, you can create a folder and invite team members using the Team shares section.

Unlike link sharing, non-Sync users can’t access shared folders, so they’ll be prompted to create a free account to gain access. On the Pro and Business plans, you’ll also be able to enable upload permissions so that team members can add files to folders they have access to.

Selectively Sync Folders and Files

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Use the control panel to selectively choose which folders you want to sync

Another convenient feature is the selective sync option available through the desktop app. If you have more than one device connected, you can choose which folders you want to sync to each one. You can select or deselect folders at any time, and once a folder is selected, it will begin to automatically transfer data and continue to do so until it is disconnected.

Get Additional Space with Cloud-Based Storage

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Easily move folders and files to and from the Vault

If you have data that you want to back up but not continuously sync, you can use the Vault to store it. The Vault is a cloud-only storage location and is a great option if you need to free up space on a device. Since it’s cloud-based, it can only be accessed from the mobile app or the web panel – the desktop app can’t be used to view any of the Vault data.

At first, I thought the lack of desktop access was inconvenient, but then I realized that both the mobile app and web panel require sign-ins before each session. Unlike the files in the Sync Folder, the Vault’s data isn’t viewable unless a user has logged in – making it a safer option for important or sensitive data.

A Mobile App That’s Actually Useful

Sync’s sign up process couldn’t be more straightforward. If you choose to sign up for free, you’ll be asked to fill out a simple form with your email and password. After you’ve downloaded the desktop app and logged in, you’ll be prompted to choose where you’d like your Sync folder located.

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Choose your Sync folder location and name your device

Thankfully, if you’re prone to changing your mind, the Sync folder can be moved at any time. You can choose another location on the same internal drive, an external hard drive, or even another computer.

Navigating the mobile app was simple since the interface was incredibly intuitive. I like how many features are available on mobile, especially since most cloud storage mobile apps leave much to be desired. I was able to easily download, share, move, copy, and delete files or folders from my phone. The app wasn’t glitchy and I didn’t notice any lags or interruptions.

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The mobile app has plenty of actions to choose from
4.0

Performance

Faster Uploads Than Expected

To see how well Sync handled backups and downloads, I decided to run a few speed tests using a 3.6GB folder with a mixture of photos, documents, and videos over the course of a few days. I wanted to know whether the time of day affected the upload speeds, and also ran a weekend test to see if I noticed any speed changes.

Using the web app, I tested speeds on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., Thursday at 5:00 p.m., and Saturday at 2:00 p.m. My Wi-Fi speeds stayed around 170Mbps for both uploads and downloads during each test, which I was able to confirm by running a standard Wi-Fi speed test.

sync-screenshot-wifi-speed
I experienced high Wi-Fi upload and download speeds during my tests

During my Tuesday morning test, I kept an eye out for bandwidth throttling but didn’t experience anything noticeable. My entire 3.6GB folder uploaded in 51 minutes and 8 seconds. Although it wasn’t the fastest upload I’ve encountered, I wouldn’t consider it slow, either. Sync has a helpful progress bar that shows the progress of the upload at a glance.

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Use the progress bar to track your upload

My Thursday evening test took a bit longer this time, finishing in just over an hour and 13 minutes. Again, there wasn’t an obvious interference with bandwidth, but a longer upload time suggests that there may have been some throttling I didn’t notice. I absentmindedly closed my laptop during this upload – which was a bad move on my part because it paused my progress.

My final test on Saturday afternoon was the longest upload time I encountered. It took an hour and 28 minutes for the full upload – almost 40 minutes longer than my first test. In my experience, it does appear that high Wi-Fi usage times (like evenings and weekends) will result in slower upload times.

Downloading my data took much longer than I anticipated – 2 hours and 48 minutes. Outside of the slower speed, I didn’t love that I wasn’t able to download the entire folder at once. I had to select and download all 400+ files in my folder individually. I also couldn’t choose where the downloaded files were saved, so I had to manually move them.

But all in all, I was satisfied with Sync’s upload speeds. Since the data servers are over 3,000 miles away from my home in Trinidad and Tobago, I expected the uploads to take much longer than they did.

5.0

Privacy

Adheres to Canadian Compliance Laws

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Sync prioritizes user privacy and is compliant to multiple global privacy laws

Sync is a Canadian-owned service, and states clearly in its privacy policy that it will only respond to valid Canadian law enforcement requests.

It is fully PIPEDA, FIPPA, PIPA, PHIPA, ATIPPA & FOIPOP compliant, meaning that it strictly adheres to cloud storage data privacy requirements, including those specific to Alberta and British Columbia. It is also compliant with privacy laws in the US, UK, and EU (GDPR).

Sync is fully committed to never selling personal information to third parties and gives you full control of how information is used for secondary purposes such as marketing. Information is only collected during the sign up and payment process, through information requests, and by authorized third party users.

4.0

Support

No Live Chat Support, but Quick Email Responses

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Support answered my questions within 24 hours of my query request

I reached out to support for more information on private encryption keys and they were quick to respond to my email query, which is the only form of customer support Sync currently offers. There isn’t any live chat or phone support.

If you invest in a paid plan, Sync offers in-house support and “VIP immediate response,” but it isn’t clear whether live chat or phone access is included. I failed to find a contact number online, so it’s likely that only email support is available, no matter the plan.

However, there is a comprehensive Help Center, which I did find useful. Many of the Help Center’s articles also contain short video tutorials that walk you through Sync’s features. This section saved me a ton of time while I was setting up and configuring my account. If I had to suggest an upgrade to Sync’s support section, I’d definitely add in a live chat feature.

4.0

Pricing

Ideal for Teams and Solo Entrepreneurs

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Sync offers a basic plan for free, but its features are limited

Sync’s free plan has 5GB of storage (and a monthly max of 5GB of data transfer) – a bit less than what some of its competitors offer, but not bad if your backup and syncing needs aren’t significant.

However, if you want more storage or plan to share data with others regularly, you’ll need to step up to a paid plan. On the free plan, you’ll also miss out on premium features like download restricting and remote share wiping.

The paid individual plans are great if you need a higher storage allowance. If you get Solo Basic, you’ll have 2TB of storage and, if you choose the highest individual plan, Solo Professional, you’ll get 6TB.

For multiple users, you’ll have to choose a team plan and pay a per month/per user fee. Teams Standard comes with 1 TB of storage, but you can get unlimited storage with Teams Unlimited for just a few dollars more. None of the paid plans have data transfer limits or restrictions on more advanced features such as file requests or document previews.

Sync accepts major credit and debit cards like Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and even PayPal and Bitcoin.

Comparison

How does Sync match up to the competition?

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Sync REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

Overall, my experience with Sync was satisfying. Its basic features are very basic, but it makes up for it in other ways.

Not everyone has multiple terabytes of data to store and, if you’re not pressed for space, Sync’s free plan will let you store up to 5GB of files. Upload speeds are reasonable and pricing for premium plans isn’t costly, even for team plans.

Paid plans also give you access to useful features like multiple user access, and unlimited data transfers and link sharing. With the Pro Teams Unlimited and Pro Solo Professional plans, you can also fully brand your client portal.

Using Sync definitely requires a bit of give and take. You’ll have to put up with slow download times and limited support options, but Sync does perform well in other key areas. If you want a reliable cloud storage solution that does the basics well, you should consider giving Sync a try.

FAQ

Is Sync good for large businesses?Sync’s Enterprise plan is designed for companies with more than 100 users. With this plan, you’ll be assigned an account manager to assist with the management of your cloud storage, including onboarding new users and answering technical questions. You can even request user training for your company’s employees.How do I protect my cloud storage?The best way to protect your cloud-stored data is to set up multiple layers of security. When possible, use two-factor authentication, create pins and passcodes for mobile apps, and restrict access to user accounts. Speaking of security, always choose a cloud storage provider that automatically offers excellent security features, like IDrive and Acronis. These services also received top marks from our cloud storage experts.Can I get unlimited online backup storage?Yes, but unlimited storage can often be a costly investment. Most cloud storage solutions offer multiple terabytes of storage at their highest levels – and, for most users, this is enough. However, if you have multiple terabytes of data or have a large company, then an unlimited storage option like Sync’s Teams Unlimited plan can be beneficial.Are there disadvantages to using cloud storage?Although cloud storage is much safer than storing your data locally, it has its drawbacks. Hacks, breaches, leaks, and other cybersecurity issues may compromise or destroy your data. Likewise, this can happen when storms and natural disasters knock out servers. Another disadvantage is that cloud storage is an internet-dependent service. If you don’t have an internet connection, you won’t be able to access your files. Cloud storage plans can also be costly. If price is a large consideration, check out our list of the best cloud backup services in 2022, which offers secure and reliable budget-friendly options.

Alicia Daniels Alicia Daniels
With over 15 years of graphic design, branding, and UX experience, Alicia has worked with clients big and small from around the world. When she’s not glued to her computer screen, you can find her teaching visual communication design classes, roaming through farmers’ markets, or searching for treasures at second-hand bookstores.
1.0

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Sync is very slow, and has syncing issues across multiple devices

After the trial/demo speeds both up and down became extremely slow. 1mbps at best. Every, literally every other service is faster. The core of their platform appears to sync folders like dropbox, but it fails frequently requiring a new set up

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KJjunkmail, Canada
January 05, 2022
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Family sharingMulti User SharingExpert SupportBackupSmart syncPersonal SolutionBusiness SolutionTeams optionsOffline foldersFile history and recovery
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