MEGA vs Dropbox: head-to-head review

MEGA vs DropboxMEGA and Dropbox are cloud storage services that let you access your files anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

They both have similar features, such as file sharing and synchronization.  MEGA is a bit new to to the cloud storage industry, having been launched in January 2013.  Dropbox has been in business since 2008, giving it a 5 year lead.

Which should you choose to store and share your files?  I’ll take a look at these two services in this head-to-head comparison.

Ease of Use

Winner: Dropbox

With Dropbox, there’s only one folder.  Put stuff in your Dropbox folder, and it syncs to the cloud and all your other devices.  It’s as simple as that.

MEGA is slightly more involved.  You can choose which folders to sync on your hard drive.  There are more options in the sync client and web interface, while Dropbox takes a minimalist approach.  For instance, if you right click on a file in MEGA you’ll get an option to add a star, view properties, and download as a ZIP.  Dropbox doesn’t have any of that.

It’s also easier to restore deleted and changed files in Dropbox.  You can right-click a file and select Previous Versions, or click the Show Deleted Files button at the top of the screen.  MEGA puts deleted files and previous versions in a “Rubbish” bin.  The folders are organized by date, but there’s no clear organization for the files within the folders.  It’s more difficult to choose the correct file to restore with MEGA.

I was impressed with how easy it is to share files in both services.  If you right-click on a file and click “Share,” a link will automatically be created and copied to your clipboard.  It’s pretty neat.

Free Space

Winner: MEGA

Dropbox gives users 2 GB of free cloud storage space.  This can be increased up to 16 GB by referring friends.

MEGA gives users 50 GB of free space, making Dropbox’s 2 GB look puny by comparison.

Features

Winner: MEGA

MEGA has slightly more features than Dropbox.

Both services will let you:

  • Sync files between all your devices
  • Share files and folders
  • Collaborate on files
  • Restore previous file versions
  • Access files from mobile apps

Features specific to MEGA are:

  • Selective folder sync (sync any folder on your hard drive)
  • Set file sharing permissions: read-only, read/write, etc.
  • End-to-end encryption

Price

Winner: Dropbox

Overall, Dropbox offers more space for a lower price.

Dropbox’s Pro plan is 1 TB for $9.99/month.  There are also business plans available, at $15/user/month for “as much space as needed.”

MEGA prices are in Euros, so I will list the prices at current conversion rates (Sept 2014), rounded to the nearest dollar.

MEGA’s lowest priced plan is the Pro I, which offers 500 GB for $13/month.  The Pro II plan gives 2 TB for $26/month, and the Pro III gives 4 TB for $38/month.

Speed

Winner: Tie

Both Dropbox and MEGA are very fast.  They will sync files as fast as your internet connection allows.

In my speed tests, they were both able to max out my upload speed at about 8 megabits per second (Mbps).  Dropbox downloaded my files at 30 Mbps, while MEGA downloaded my files at 27 Mbps – not enough of a difference to matter.

Operating Systems

Winner: Dropbox Tie

Dropbox has sync clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

MEGA only has a sync client for Windows, although they say Mac and Linux clients are coming soon.  Update: MEGA now has software for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Mobile Apps

Winner: Tie

Both MEGA and Dropbox have apps for Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.  Dropbox also has an app for Kindle Fire.  Using the apps you can download, upload, view, and stream your files from anywhere.

I tested the performance of the Android apps, and I felt both services did a pretty good job designing them.  There’s very little difference between them, and they both give you easy access to your files.

Security

Winner: MEGA

MEGA promotes itself as “The Privacy Company,” so it’s no surprise it beats Dropbox’s security.

MEGA uses end-to-end encryption, which means your data is encrypted and decrypted only on the client-side.  Since MEGA doesn’t know the encryption keys, they can’t view your files even if they wanted to.  This type of encryption protects you from hackers, the NSA, and anyone else who might otherwise have access to your files.

Dropbox uses 256-bit AES encryption to store your data, and transfers it over SSL.  However, it’s still their encryption – not yours.  Dropbox does offer two-factor authentication, to help secure your account, while MEGA does not.

MEGA vs Dropbox: Which should you choose?

Do you want simplicity?  Go with Dropbox.  It found it easier to use, because there’s only one folder.

Do you want tons of space?  Better security?  Go with MEGA.  MEGA smashes Dropbox when it comes to storage space.  It also has much better privacy while storing files in the cloud, due to the end-to-end encryption.

Get MEGA at www.mega.co.nz

Get Dropbox at www.dropbox.com

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of BackupReview.com. He is a cloud fanatic and regularly reviews online backup services. He believes backups should be easy, affordable, and automatic.

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