Android file syncer face-off: Dropbox vs. SugarSync

Dropbox and SugarSync--two top dogs in file syncing--both have Android apps. Let's see how they match up against one another.

Jaymar Cabebe Former Associate Editor
Jaymar Cabebe covers mobile apps and Windows software for CNET. While he may be a former host of the Android Atlas Weekly podcast, he doesn't hate iOS or Mac. Jaymar has worked in online media since 2007.
Jaymar Cabebe
3 min read

Among the growing list of services dedicated to syncing and storing your files in the cloud, there are two that consistently register as top dogs: Dropbox and SugarSync. Both offer comprehensive (and different) suites of syncing and sharing tools, both have their benefits and drawbacks, and both offer free Android apps. Let's take a look at what each of these apps offers in the way of mobile file-syncing.

When looking at a mobile application as an extension of a greater program or service, there are a few things it's important to keep in mind. First, how well does the app perform its core functions? Second, how does it take advantage of mobile-specific tools and contexts? And third, is it stable and secure in a mobile environment? Considering these criteria and others, let's see what each of our two subjects brings to the table.

Dropbox for Android is simple. It's your good old magic Dropbox folder, but on your mobile device. Cleanly designed and straightforward, the app makes it easy to upload and delete files, or create new files using your phone's camera, audio recorder, notepad, and so on.

For the well-connected among us, it's also great for sharing files (or links to files) through e-mail, text message, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, or whatever else you've got installed. In this regard, Dropbox makes fantastic use of the applications available on your mobile device. And as a plus, there's a security password option in case your Dropbox folder contains sensitive information and your phone falls into the wrong hands.

Overall, Dropbox for Android performs its core functions perfectly and without any stability issues. It integrates well with your mobile device's hardware, plays extremely well with other installed applications, and offers some extra security.


Meanwhile, SugarSync for Android is slightly more involved, since the SugarSync service itself offers so many more syncing options than its rival. It doesn't revolve around a single carry-all folder the way Dropbox does. Rather, SugarSync allows you to pick and choose any folders on any of your devices to sync, which means tons of flexibility, especially with the built-in Android File Manager. As a whole, it may not be as simple as Dropbox's app, but it's certainly more feature-packed.

And then there's the AutoSync Photos option, which, if you're an avid phone photographer, is awesome, to say the least. Enable it, and every time you snap a photo it'll automatically get backed up in the cloud--all in the background, without any pop-up confirmations.

Overall, SugarSync is a powerful app with a built-in File Manager and a really nifty AutoSync tool. While we did experience a few stability problems when testing AutoSync, for the most part it performed solidly, and is a worthwhile download.

Now, remember--while both Dropbox and SugarSync offer powerful suites of services that likely satisfy different file-syncing needs in different ways, this comparison is about their respective Android applications. So what's the verdict? If you're looking for a way to automatically back up photos as you take them, SugarSync is a no-brainer choice. Otherwise, Dropbox appears to be the simpler and more stable and secure file-syncing option for Android users. But hey, if you still can't decide, why not just download them both?