PROS / The backup and restore speeds are excellent.
CONS / The backup process’s ease of use was just average.
VERDICT / Macrium Reflect is a powerful data backup app that can process and protect your computer very quickly, but the interface has some significant learning curves.
Developed in the U.K. by Paramount Software, Macrium Reflect is a data backup app packed full of advanced features that would make a high-level tech user happy. While it is geared more toward intermediate users, its overall backup and restore performance is excellent, despite an average compression rate.
In our review of the best data backup software, we tested each app on the same computer, using the same data. This provided us with an apples-to-apples comparison of how each app performs in the same environment. We tested the average backup and restore speeds, the average CPU usage and the average compression rate. We also evaluated the app’s ease of use throughout the backup and restore processes. Everyone with a computer should have a backup strategy, so it’s important for the best data backup software to accommodate users of any experience level.
We gave Macrium Reflect’s backup process a C grade for ease of use, which means that it’s best for intermediate to advanced users. This is easy to see based on how the interface is designed, as the homepage prioritizes a display of the various disks, volumes and partitions under the Create a Backup tab instead of focusing on backing up specific folders or files. This setup can be confusing and intimidating to a novice user. That said, the process of setting up a backup set is relatively easy, despite the interface’s design, though it takes as many as 11 steps to start the backup process. People with technical knowledge will likely prefer this layout, but novice users will face some significant learning curves.
The restore process received a B-plus for ease of use. While we counted as many as 11 steps in the backup process, the restore process has just four steps. There are some minor learning curves because of the complicated interface, but the restore process is generally very smooth.
Macrium Reflect really shines in backup and restore performance. Both stages of the software received an A-minus for speed. It wasn’t the fastest data backup app, but it was very close. In addition, the CPU usage was excellent, receiving above-average grades for both stages as well.
The only part of the backup performance that wasn’t stellar was the compression rate, which received a C. It compressed our test data by just 1.25 percent, which was average. When you consider that some of the apps we tested didn’t compress the data at all, an average grade isn’t that bad. Plus, it’s important to note that some files have more potential for compression than other types of files, so you’ll likely experience different compression rates.
When it comes to advanced features, Macrium Reflect is loaded, which isn’t surprising. Most of the features packed into this app are beyond the scope of a novice user’s experience level. Still, it comes with some advanced features that even home users should know about. The app has three levels of encryption, with the highest level being 256-bit AES. The app also features incremental, differential and full-system backup schemes. Finally, it has a rescue media builder, so you can create boot-up discs to use if your system fails to boot up. The only advanced feature it’s missing is cloud storage integration.
Macrium Reflect is a data backup solution designed for intermediate to advance users, which is why it received an average ease of use grade for the backup process. However, the restore process is very easy, and the general performance of the backup and restore features is excellent. Not only was this app one of the fastest at protecting and restoring data in our tests, but it did it with a minimal impact on CPU resources. While a novice computer user may have a hard time learning to use the software, more advanced users will appreciate the performance.