More expensive than many, but 50GB of storage can be shared between up to five PCs and it also supports local and postal backups
This review was updated on the 12/09/2011 after a group test of 13 popular online backup and file syncing services
SOS Online Backup has increased the storage it offers since we last reviewed it, and slightly increased its price. At $80 (around £51) a year for 50GB, or $100 for 100GB, it costs less than it used to per gigabyte, and retains the key features that made it stand out from the crowd.
As well as backing up data online, it can back up to local devices such as network drives and USB disks. If you have vast amounts of data or a slow internet connection, you can send your files by post, either on DVD or on a hard drive provided by SOS. Unlike most online backup services, one account can be used for up to five PCs, and it stores unlimited old versions of files.
The software interface is simple, with wizards to back up and restore files from online or local storage. The program will scan the hard disk for images, music, videos and documents before prompting to set an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly backup schedule. There’s also a Classic View mode for browsing to and searching for specific files – including content from external drives – and manually adjusting the schedule. This mode also lets users browse the contents of online storage.
There are options to pause or cancel a backup job but not to throttle its speed or set its priority. Schedules vary from hourly to monthly, but backups can’t simply run whenever the PC is idle.
SOS’s polished web interface includes shortcuts to browse pictures, videos, music or documents, as well as viewing files in a conventional tree structure. It’s easy to share files via email or Facebook. Images, video and audio files can be streamed, too, although there’s no thumbnail gallery. iOS and Blackberry apps allow you to search for files but they rely on other apps to access them.
If you need to back up multiple PCs and want postal or local backup options, SOS is an obvious choice. However, if value for money is your key interest, LiveDrive takes the prize.