PROS / The overall value is very high.
CONS / The service doesn't own the servers.
VERDICT / The Zoolz family plan is one of the best cloud backup apps because it provides high-end value with good performance.
Zoolz is a cloud backup service based in London with a worldwide reach via a partnership with Amazon Web Services. With the family plan, you get 1TB of storage for five computers for $79 per year, which gives it great relative value. In addition, the file backup and restoration performance was good, both in speed and usability. For these reasons, Zoolz earns the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for best online backup service.
For our review on cloud backup apps, we started by evaluating the cost per computer of over 30 services for at least 1TB of storage for three types of users: a large family with at least five computers, a small family with at least three computers and an individual with one computer. After eliminating the most expensive services, we tested the desktop apps of 23 services to find the best-performing one through testing the backup and restore speeds and usability. After all of these tests, Zoolz proved to be among the best online backup services because it combines high value with performance.
Price & Value
The Zoolz Family plan provides 1TB of storage for five computers at a rate of $79.99 per year. In our large-family evaluation, the service earned a B+ because the cost per computer was less than $16 per computer. Likewise, the service earned a B for a small family of three computers because it costs less than $30 per computer annually. The grade for an individual was a B+ because it was less than $100. Overall, while services like IDrive and Amazon Cloud Drive have a higher value, Zoolz isn't far behind.
In the backup performance test, Zoolz scored a B- for backup speed. Gathered from multiple tests, the average speed suggests it could complete a 1-TB backup in about 16 days. In comparison, the average speed in our tests was about 21 days while the fastest speed was less than five days.
The Ease of Use score for the backup phase was a B+. We counted four steps to initiate a backup set, which was less than the six-to-seven step average. The app has three tabs, which leaves little room for getting lost in the features. The data selection tab is where you select the files you want to back up. The settings tab is where you access features like the backup scheduler. You can also set the app to back up continuously so that any changes you make to a file are almost immediately saved.
You can back up to a friend's computer or any local device. Many advanced users prefer to back up to a local device in addition to the cloud as part of their strategy. Backing up to a local machine provides quick access to files and also protects files in the event anything should happen to the service, which is unlikely to happen without significant notice.
Zoolz received a B+ for its file-restoration speed. The app recorded a speed that suggests you can restore 1TB in less than a week. While it still doesn't compare to the fastest restore speed in our tests, which was clocked at less than three days, it's still impressive when compared to the average speed, which was closer to 15 days.
The app received a B- for ease of use. While the number of steps to restoring files is the same as backing them up, there is a second app that is launched when you want to restore files. This can be confusing to a novice user. Another minor downside is the lack of settings accessibility from the second app. You have to go back to the first app to adjust anything in the settings. Overall, the learning curve is still above average.
Zoolz encrypts your data with 256-bit encryption both while in transit to the servers and while at rest. In addition, you have the option of encrypting files before uploading them to the servers, and you can maintain privacy with your own encryption key. However, Zoolz lacks two-step verification, which protects against hackers gaining access to your account even if they have the password.
In addition, since Zoolz partners with Amazon, the service doesn't own and maintain the servers. Amazon does. This means that the responsibility of on-site maintenance and security falls on Amazon instead of Zoolz. This is a minor issue if you trust a brand like Amazon, but it's a significant flaw if you don't.
Zoolz is among the best online backup services available because the service balances high value with good, reliable performance. The family plan is one of the most valuable plans we reviewed, costing just $79 per year for five computers and 1TB of storage. The backup and restore speeds were well above average, and the usability was also very good. One downside is the fact that Amazon owns the servers that your data is stored on instead of Zoolz.