Box Vs. Dropbox – Which One Is Better?


As promised, I spent some time playing around with the Box and Dropbox cloud storage apps to see if one is better than the other. What prompted me to do this is that Box was/is giving away 50GB of storage free for life to new users.
I’ve been a Dropbox user for a while but getting 25x more space for free seemed like it was worth at signing up for and then figuring out if it was a better product later. Standard operation for any of these cloud storage systems (Box, Dropbox, Google Drive) is to have an app for tablets, mobile, and desktop in addition to the basic web-based access you get by going directly to any one of those services’ respective websites.

What is Cloud Storage?

Before jumping into the comparison, let’s establish some basics about cloud storage for those who aren’t familiar with it. To put it simply, cloud storage is a system of offsite servers where you can maintain all of your data without using any of the precious space on your hard drive. So why all the talk about the cloud? You can access this information from anywhere with an internet connection. You never have to remember to bring that flash drive or portable hard drive again. If you’ve ever used Microsoft SharePoint before, these cloud storage options work in a similar fashion.

Now that we took care of that, we can move on with the point of this post, comparing two cloud storage options, which will cover three areas:

  1. Home Screen/Hierarchy
  2. Opening/Editing Files
  3. Sharing/Collaboration

Note that all descriptions and screenshots that follow are based on use of the iPad/tablet versions. Experience may vary depending on the platform you use to access either service.

Home Screen/Hierarchy

When logging into Box or Dropbox, the home screens look almost identical, so I’ll only screenshot one of them below. You get a nice split screen view with all of your files and folders on the left with the contents of the highlighted file or folder appearing on the right. Both services have the ability to create folders and move files around within the application. You’ll also find that you can flag files as favorites to make finding things a bit easier to find if you have lots of files stored in the cloud. Advantage: Push

Box Home Screen

Opening/Editing Files

Dropbox and Box each have the ability to allow you to open files in different programs for different viewing and editing purposes. The strange thing here is that Dropbox treats photos differently than other files as you’ll see below. By that I mean, you don’t have as many options available to you if you want to save a copy of  the file in a different application. This could be for photo editing, marking up PDF documents or transferring to a different cloud service. There’s no reason the same type of functions shouldn’t be available for all file types. Advantage: Box

Box Photo Options
Dropbox Photo Options
Dropbox PDF/ebook options

Sharing/Collaboration

A large part of what makes these cloud services great is how they allow you to easily share documents and entire folders that would’ve required substantial effort in years past primarily for one of two reasons:
  1. Too tedious to attach some absurd number of files
  2. Attachments you want to send exceed your email limits
I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of situation in which I’d want to post a link to shared files via Facebook post or Twitter, but Dropbox gives you that choice. And it’s always better to have an option and not need it than the other way around. Advantage: Dropbox
Box Sharing Options
Dropbox Sharing Options

Which One Is Better?

At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you but I’ll tell you how I approach this decision. With the proliferation of options available, my first priority is using the one that gives me the best chance at keeping everything in one place. All of the apps I tested that integrated with Dropbox functioned just as well with Box. Within each app, the features were comparable enough that the choice came down to space, so I’m going with Box.

Which one are you using? Is space alone enough to make you switch?


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About EB

I'm a Management Consultant and CPA. By day I solve complex business problems for some of the world's most well-known brands, and by night I teach others how to carve out successful careers in the business world. If you want to learn more about how to leave your mark on the business world, click here to download the first three chapters of the book that will jumpstart you getting there.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    I haven’t had that particular problem but if I did, the frustration would get old very quickly. A lot of people who are big in Social Media seem to use Dropbox will more “traditional” corporate folks seem to lean toward Box.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    At one time I used Dropbox but had so many problems with Dropbox’ failure to sync so now I’m using Box especially for large projects.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    Loving Box.com. Currently, I run a small ministry and publication. Box does a fine job keeping me organized and synced with my team members. For larger projects I’m using TeamBox with the capabilities of syncing to Google and sharing via video.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    Sounds like you found your winning cloud service! When you have 50GB of space at no charge, it also makes the decision much easier.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    Guys, don’t forget Copy. It is the new Dropbox now. I use both currently, but Copy offers you more space for free than Dropbox. Both are good and both come with the desktop client to sync your files to their cloud servers.

    Check it out and use this link to sign up for Copy to get 20GB free instead of the regular 15GB.

    https://copy.com?r=DFygGq

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    Copy is much better, 20GB on signup https://copy.com?r=mV0QDB

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    Box does not sync pkg files so mac users are out and it does not sync Quickbook files. It also has a size limit of only 250mb. Dropbox wins hands down.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    Thanks, Dan. If you have those specific needs then you’re right but I suspect there are a lot of users that doesn’t apply to so not so clear cut.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    I tried a lot of services. Copy is a real good service, fast and
    reliable. To get a total of 20gb) u must 1-Register 2-Answer
    email confirmation 3-install app. https://copy.com?r=mE8shp

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    dropbox is best option for photos and videos, box for documents and other files.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05584719060017948333 Eric Butts

    Thanks for the comment, @Davide. Are you using standard documents or have you seen issues like @BtoBDan raised in the comment below?

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  • Der Führer

    Somehow Copy’s referral system has a bug. Registering from this link I found on internet gave you +5 GB, a total of 25GB at start:

    https://copy.com?r=vHqQri

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