Is Amazon's $60 deal for unlimited cloud storage really worth it?

amazon cloud
Credit: Preston Gralla

Amazon is out with what sounds like a must-have offer: unlimited cloud storage for $60 per year. It might sound like a winner, but is it really a good deal? 

Amazon's new pricing for the Amazon cloud drive certainly sounds like a bargain. Who can argue with $60 a year for unlimited storage? If you're mainly interested in storage for your photos, you can go with a less-expensive plan, $12 per year for unlimited photo storage, plus an additional 5GB of storage for other files and videos.

The $60 is certainly cheaper than most competitors. For example, for 1 terabyte of storage on Google Drive, you'll have to pay $120 per year. If you need more than a terabyte prices go up from there. Dropbox charges the same $120 per year for 1 terabyte of storage. And iCloud is a lot more expensive than that, at $240 per year for 1 terabyte of storage

So the Amazon deal sounds like a no-brainer, yes? Not necessarily. Look at the pricing of Microsoft's OneDrive. For 1 terabyte you pay $70 per year. That's only $10 more than Amazon's unlimited storage, and you also get a subscription to Office 365 for one PC or Mac for that. And it includes 60 minutes per month of free Skype calls to landlines and mobile phones. If you want Office 365 for 5 PCs or Macs, it'll only cost you $100 per year -- and that price gives you 1 terabyte of storage for five different people, as well as the free Skype calls.

Beyond that, it's much easier to use OneDrive storage than it is to use storage from Amazon. OneDrive integrates directly with Office. And not just with Office, but with Windows as well. Download the OneDrive client, and OneDrive automatically syncs to the cloud and to any other devices using the OneDrive client. OneDrive access is also built directly into Windows 8, and will be even more integrated in Windows 10.

The same isn't true for Amazon cloud storage. And because of that, for most people, it's not only worse than OneDrive, but than Google Drive and Dropbox. Google Drive has a downloadable client that works much like OneDrive. Google Drive also integrates directly with Google Docs. Because Dropbox has become such a standard, it's similarly easy to use. And iCloud is integrated with all of your Apple devices.

So is that $60 really a great deal? Not so much. You'll be much better off with OneDrive, and most likely better off with other Amazon cloud competitors as well.

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