OneDrive is Microsoft’s entry in the cloud storage and backup space and is available for both home and business use. With OneDrive you’ll be able to save all your important data to the cloud and access it from any device.
In this OneDrive review, we’ll discuss how well it compares against similar offerings from other big names in the market, as well as its pricing, features, support, and ease of use.
Plans and pricing
OneDrive comes in plans for both home and business use. For home, there are four different plans, two of which are for OneDrive only, and two of which also incorporate Microsoft 365. Prices range from free for 5 GB of storage with the Basic plan up to $9.99/month ($99.99/year) for 6 TB with the Microsoft 365 Family plan, which can accommodate up to six people (1 TB per person). The Microsoft 365 plans both come with the apps Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Skype.
Business plans are structured in the same way as home plans, with two including Microsoft 365 and two without. Prices go from $5/user/month (with an annual commitment) up to $12.50/user/month.
The difference between business and home OneDrive-only plans is that you can also share files with the business plans. And like the most expensive home plan, the corresponding business plan gives you access to the standard Office apps as well as OneNote, Access, Publisher, Exchange, SharePoint, Teams, and Yammer.
The most expensive plans for both home and business also come with a one-month free trial.
All OneDrive plans come with Personal Vault, which is a security feature that protects your data with identity verification. For Microsoft 365 plans, Personal Vault will cover all of your files, whereas with the OneDrive-only plans, it will only protect three files. The 365 plans also enable you to install the Office apps on Windows or Mac computers. All plans have access to the web versions of the Office apps.
Other features available on all plans include automatic backup and syncing of your Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders on Windows PCs to your cloud OneDrive folder; the ability to use your phone to scan documents and save them to your drive; sharing of files and folders; 30-day version history for restoring files to a previous state; offline access to selected files; and real-time collaboration on Office documents.
Interface and in use
If you’ve ever used other cloud storage solutions, the interface for OneDrive will be quite familiar. The left column has a menu with different sections including one for your OneDrive folder, which shows all of your files, separate folders for recent and shared files, the recycle bin, and photos.
When navigating through these sections, the layout remains the same except for the photos section, which removes the menu in the left column and introduces its own submenu. To get back to the main menu there is a small hamburger menu.
There’s a couple of these little inconsistencies in the user interface of OneDrive. Another example is the settings section, with options presented in the left column. But as you click on some of the options, the layout changes, and not all the menu options are there, and you have to use the back button to get back to where you were.
One thing that we did like that you don’t get from most cloud storage solutions is easily accessible buttons to quickly create new Office documents.
Like most software providers, Microsoft has a help center with articles, tutorials, and videos on its website. There is a section devoted to OneDrive as well as community forums. If you need direct support, you can create a support ticket from the Microsoft website. And for customers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, there is a sales and customer support number you can call.
As well as Personal Vault, which gives you the ability to lock certain files, you can set expiration dates and password-protect links you share with others. OneDrive also features encryption of your files, virus scanning, suspicious activity monitoring, and the detection of ransomware. With 30-day file history, if you do suffer a ransomware attack, you can return your files to a state before they were compromised.
Microsoft also features a library of helpful articles on its website with advice on how to increase your security when working with computers and on the Internet.
If you choose a Microsoft 365 plan you’re also getting all the installable office apps that other providers don’t have, so the following comparisons are based on the OneDrive-only plans.
Dropbox has both individual and business plans, with individual plans starting at $9.99/month (billed annually) for 2 TB of storage, and team plans starting at $12.50/user/month with 5 TB of storage up to $20/user/month for unlimited storage. The prices are more expensive than OneDrive, but you’re also getting a lot more storage so the cost per gigabyte is less.
Box also offers individual and business plans and a free 10 GB account option, which is more than OneDrive. Box’s prices are more expensive at $10/month for 100 GB of storage for individuals, going up to $35/month for unlimited storage on its business plans. But it offers more advanced business features than the comparable OneDrive-only plans.
Microsoft has something that nearly every other cloud storage provider can’t offer, and that’s its suite of Office apps. If having those is important to you, then it’s hard to go past OneDrive. But you can get the web versions of those apps on the free plan, and they might suffice. If so, then OneDrive’s limited storage space might have you looking at alternatives that offer better dollars per gigabyte pricing.
For businesses, again, it’s going to come down to how important apps like Exchange and SharePoint are to your organization. If they’re not, other solutions may offer better team collaboration features.