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Pros / The overall value is exceptional.

Cons / Amazon lacks some key security features.

 Verdict / With concern to value and performance, Amazon Cloud Drive deserves to be among the best cloud data backup services, despite the minimal security features.

Amazon is perhaps the most recognizable brand in our review, though this is due to its web-commerce site and not because of the online data backup service that it also offers. As one of the largest cloud-computing services in the world, many data-backup services rent server storage from Amazon S3 servers. Amazon Cloud Drive is the consumer-level cloud backup service. It comes with unlimited storage for all of your devices, which provides the best overall value in our review. In addition, the app performed well in our backup and restore tests and ease-of-use evaluation. The one downside is the lack of significant security features.

Our review of cloud data backup services started with a value analysis of over 30 services. We calculated and graded the relative value of using each service from three perspectives: a large family with five computers, a small family with three computers and an individual with one computer. After eliminating services that cost too much, we tested 23 data backup services' performance with speed tests and ease of use evaluations. Amazon Cloud Drive's desktop app and Unlimited Everything subscription excelled in each area.

Amazon Cloud Drive has two subscriptions: Unlimited Photos and Unlimited Everything. We reviewed the latter, as we're concerned with backing up all important files and not just photos. Amazon's Unlimited Everything plan costs just $59.99 per year and can be installed on all of your devices. As such, the service received an A at each level of our cost evaluation. For a large family with five PCs, it costs less than $12 per device per year. For comparison, the average cost for a large family at this level is about $33 per device per year.

In our backup speed tests, the Amazon Cloud Drive app recorded an average MB-per-minute speed that suggests it could back up 1TB in less than 13.5 days. While this is more than twice as slow as the fastest recorded speed, it's still more than a week faster than the average. In addition, the app's restore speed was clocked at less than 10 days for 1TB of data, which received a B+. In both phases of the backup and restore process, the app proved to be among the best-performing services.

For ease of use, the desktop app received an A- for both the backup and the restore process. It's a very simple but effective app. With just two tabs, one for uploading and one for downloading, there's no room for getting lost in features. You can find the settings easily because it displays both a cog symbol and text. Both phases have three to four steps, which is among the fewest we counted with any app. With this app, a novice user will find it very easy to use.

A significant concern with this cloud data backup service is the security and privacy. Your files are encrypted with SSL encryption during the upload and download process, but there's no encryption when the files are at rest on the servers. Amazon's privacy policy is also troubling. It suggests that the service can, at any time, view your files to "copy Your Files for backup purposes, modify Your Files to enable access in different formats, use information about Your Files to organize them on your behalf, and access Your Files to provide technical support." The policy actually shifts the responsibility of security to you, the user, stating, "[y]ou are responsible for maintaining appropriate security and protection of Your Files." If you're concerned about privacy, you can use a third-party app to encrypt your files.

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Summary

At just $59.99 per year for unlimited storage for all of your devices, Amazon Cloud Drive is one of the most valuable online data backup services in our review. While the backup and restore speeds weren't the fastest in our tests, both phases were good. And the ease of use received some of the highest grades in our evaluation. This service is a good balance of value, performance and usability. The major downside is the lack of serious security measures, though this can be remedied with a third-party app.

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