capsule review

SugarSync File Sync Service

At a Glance
  • Great for photography buffs who also need file syncing, but less practical for the serious business user.

Review updated 7/29/08 

Even if you have only one computer, you might want to keep a synced copy of your important files online--and the easy-to-use SugarSync is a good tool for the job. If you ever need to work on another computer temporarily, you can access your stored files (download them, update them, and then upload) from any Web browser, without installing the service's software. SugarSync will update the matching files on your main machine the next time that PC is on. (See "Stay in Sync" for more on all of the sync services I tried.)

For more functionality (such as syncing multiple machines), you'll need to install the SugarSync Manager on each. You can use that utility for syncing chores, or just drag files to the Magic Briefcase folder that SugarSync adds to your Documents folder.

While the mobile version of SugarSync's site makes synced content accessible to most mobile devices, special Windows Mobile and BlackBerry clients afford additional syncing support (see "Syncing for Cell Phones").

SugarSync lacks the remote-access desktop-control capabilities of BeInSync and Live Mesh, but offers another feature called "lite sync." Rather than making full copies of a folder on multiple computers, it keeps the synced folder only on the original computer and the Sugar­Sync server but makes the folder accessible to other computers through the SugarSync Manager. This networking-like feature gives you access to your files without the duplication that can consume disk space.

SugarSync lets you e-mail others links for downloading any synced documents, but there's no support for collaboration (third parties can't edit and sync documents).

The service is especially friendly for photo-sharing. You can access address books for AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo to simplify sending invitations. Sugar­Sync's photo emphasis is also evident in the way its online file manager automatically arranges your online photos into albums and even permits you to choose between two thumbnail icon sizes to display them for viewing and minimal file management.

For users who want to store files online but not sync them to the originals, SugarSync offers some backup-specific features. Backups may be your only source for an older version of a file, since SugarSync lacks the versioning features of Dropbox and Syncplicity.

SugarSync may be a decent backup and sync tool for home users and photo enthusiasts. But its limited file-sharing and remote-access functions make it less desirable for business users who need to work collaboratively on multiple files.

--Scott Dunn

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At a Glance
  • Great for photography buffs who also need file syncing, but less practical for the serious business user. Read the full review

    Pros

    • Simple to set up and use
    • Supports both PCs and Macs

    Cons

    • No support for file revision history
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