Dropbox seems is the first name to comes in mind for those who want to backup their files online. Before the emergence of Dropbox, there have been the similar service available. The service is Box. Box (formerly Box.net) firstly launched for public in 2005, two years before Dropbox. However, like Peter Parker’s teacher said, being the first isn’t always the best. If we see at today’s fact, Dropbox is likely to more popular than Dropbox.
I am not saying that Dropbox is better than Box. But, if you ask 10 of your friends what is the online storage they use, chances are more than half of them will say Dropbox instead of Box. Whereas, Box actually offers more free storage capacity than Dropbox. The features and equipment offered by Box are also not far different than Dropbox, even better in certain areas.
So, which one actually the better?
Before answering the question, it would be much better to take a deeper discussion of each part of both.
User interface is one of the most aspects most users consider the most when choosing certain app. Both Box and Dropbox provide web client app to enable you upload new files as well as manage them. The way a web client app of cloud storage works is basically the same as file manager of an operating system.
You can see the user interface of Box and Dropbox on the screenshots above. The interface of Dropbox is quite similar to file manager of Mac with its turquoise folder icon, while Box comes with a user interface that quite similar to Windows Explorer with its legendary yellow folder icon. Regardless of the interface, the web client of Box and Dropbox are functionally not far different. You can use them to manage your files and folder just like you are used to doing in file manager of your operating system. You can do such actions as copying folders/files, renaming, creating new folder and so on. The layout of Box interface and Dropbox interface are also not far different.
There is a bit difference on the search feature. The search feature of Box allows you to filter files based on certain criteria, like file type and date updated. This additional option is useful enough to ease your job in finding files although you can basically simply type the name of file you are looking for. But, what if you have to search for photo files which it’s impossible remembering every single file name? That’s how this simple feature is going to play the role.
Free storage capacity
In addition to user interface, one of the most-considered aspects when someone is looking for a cloud storage service is the offered free storage capacity, especially if she/he want to use the service for non-business need, student for instance. Box is far away in front of Dropbox in terms of free storage capacity. Box offers fivefold free storage capacity than Dropbox. Free users of Box will get 10 GB of free storage capacity, compared to 2 GB offered by Dropbox. In other words, you can save more files to Box than Dropbox. One rule you have to obey when uploading new files to Box. Your files should not larger than 250 MB.
Paid storage options
Both Box and Dropbox use freemium business model. While you can use them for free, paid version is also available in case you need more space. In addition to additional storage capacity, paid version of Box and Dropbox also offer additional features. The paid version of Box and Dropbox come with integration with Microsoft Office 365. In general, paid packages of Box and Dropbox are divided into two categories, personal and business.
Dropbox offers five packages you can choose from. The cheapest package offered by Dropbox is called Plus. This package comes with 1 TB of storage, along with other additional features like Office 365 integration, two-factor authentication, longer history of deleted files and so on. The Plus package of Dropbox is priced $9.99 / month (or $8.25 / month if you prefer to be billed yearly).
Dropbox also offers Advanced and Enterprise packages for enterprises that need unlimited storage space. For payment option, Dropbox also accepts PayPal other than credit card.
Box offers fewer packages than Dropbox. This online storage service offers only four packages with the cheapest packages, Personal Pro, is priced $11.50 /month with storage capacity of 100 GB. Unlike Dropbox, there is a far enough gap between the cheapest plan of Box and plans above it. For instance, Personal Pro — the cheapest plan of Box — has no integration with Office 365.
Same as Dropbox, Box also has packages that are aimed at enterprises. Two packages that are aimed at enterprises are Business and Business Plus. The Business packages is priced $17 /user/month, while Business Plus is priced $29 /user/month. They both offer unlimited storage capacity. Compared to Dropbox, the enterprise packages offered by Box are cheaper. Conversely, the personal packages offered by Dropbox are cheaper than ones offered by Box. Unlike Dropbox, Box only accepts credit card as the payment method.
The availability of client app
In addition to web client, you can also access your files as well as uploading new ones from client app on desktop and smartphone. Dropbox is unbeatable in this section since it offers client app for nearly all platforms. From Windows, Mac, Linux, Android to iOS. On the other hand, Box doesn’t offer client app for Linux. In addition to accessing your files, you will need the client apps (desktop in particular) to sync your files. Desktop client app is crucial if you want to use a cloud storage service to backup certain files on your computer.
The biggest advantage of using online storage service is that you can easily share your files with friends, families or colleagues. Cloud storage services allow you to effortlessly share your files in few clicks. Both Box and and Dropbox allow you share your files personally via email or publicly via direct link. They also allow you to set the permission over the folder or files you share. Whether you allow them (the recipients of your files) to edit the contents or just to just view and download.
If you prefer to share your files via direct link both Box and Dropbox allow you to set the expire date. It’s just, this option is only available for paid versions. Additionally, Box and Dropbox also allow you to protect the files behind the link you share with a password so only those have the password have the ability to see your files.
Regardless of the main function for storing files, cloud storage services also offer additional apps to allow you get certain tasks done, especially document-related. Google Drive has Google Docs, while OneDrive has Office 365.
Box has a note-taking app called Box Notes, while Dropbox released the similar app in April 2015 called Paper. Functionally, Box Notes and Dropbox Paper are not far different. They both are great to create simple document. Box Notes and Dropbox Paper allow you to invite someone to work on document together. They both also offer templates for project plan and meeting agenda.
In addition to their respective official note-taking app, Box and Dropbox also team up with Microsoft to provide Office 365. Especially for Box, this service also offers integration with Google Docs. Whatever the plan you use, even if it’s free, Box allows you to directly create document, presentation and spreadsheet. The same thing is not offered by Dropbox.
Not only you can use a cloud storage service for storing your files online. You can also use it to work collaboratively with your teammates. Box and Dropbox have facilitated it. If you have a team and often work together on certain projects, you can create a shared folder and add some collaborators. There is no significant difference between Box and Dropbox in terms of collaboration.
Eventually, what you need to consider when choosing a cloud service is understanding your needs. If you need an unlimited storage capacity for your business then Box is better option since its business packages are available in a lower prices than Dropbox. Conversely, Dropbox is better suited for individuals who need spacious storage capacity since it has a cheapest plan that offers 1 TB of storage.
If your intention of using cloud storage service is for backing up few files and want to stick with free version then there is no reason to not choosing Box since its offers fivefold free storage capacity than Dropbox.
Overall winner: Box