Is paid iCloud storage a good deal, or can you do better? Cloud storage roundup

With former MobileMe customers losing their additional 20GB of free storage a couple of days ago, there are probably a bunch of new people eyeing the paid iCloud upgrade options and wondering whether or not to hand over their cash. So we thought it would be a useful to take a look at the other major cloud storage services out there, to see how they compare.

As none of them are trying to hide the filesystem in the way Apple does, they all essentially work in the same way: providing you with a virtual online drive that you treat just like a local folder. There are also OS X and iOS apps for each.

icloud

Let’s start with the obvious: if you want something that is totally integrated into both OS X and iOS, and which Just Works, then iCloud is king.

Although the 5GB you get free doesn’t sound like a lot, you actually get more than this in practice – because Apple doesn’t count the space used by any of your iTunes purchases (apps, music, movies/TV shows or books), nor does it count the 1000 most recent photos you get to store in Photostream. If most of the content you want to store came from Apple, and all you want to do additionally is sync your contacts, calendar, notes and so on, the free storage is probably all you need.

iCloud is also a seamless way to store documents if you use Apple’s own iWork software: Pages, Numbers and Keynote. By opting to save documents on iCloud, they are automatically available to you from your Mac(s), iPad and iPhone – as well as on the web.

But if you have a lot of documents, you can pretty soon start bumping up against that 5GB limit. Which is where iCloud’s costs and limitations start to show up …  Read more