Having recently reviewed Bitdefender antivirus, which I now use on my phone and PC, I thought I would check out one of their other phone-based Apps. I became aware of Bitdefender’s Safebox for online backup recently, so I thought I would give it a try.
Put simply, Safebox provides a Cloud (or internet) based location to store a number of files which can then be accessed from your Phone, your PC or via Bitdefender’s website.
The free version of Safebox comes with 2Gb of storage space, however it is possible to upgrade to 60Gb or 100Gb for a yearly fee.
This review will cover the three versions of the product: the Safebox Android App, the Safebox PC software and the website version of Safebox.
SAFEBOX – ANDROID APP
After downloading the App from the Android Play store, the installation went smoothly. Upon opening the App I was given the option to login with Gmail, with Facebook or to create a new account. As this is a Google Android App, I chose to connect with Google’s Gmail which logged me in straight away without asking for a username or password.
After installation the App takes you through a very brief Product Tour explaining what the Cloud is and what the App is capable of. After flicking through those pages, you’re into the App proper.
After logging in I was presented with a plain screen, allowing me to start using the App. I pressed the phone’s Menu button and was presented with a few simple options such as: Upload, New Folder, Refresh Settings and Search.
I decided to upload a file by pressing Menu – Upload. I then navigated to a file on the phone’s memory card and selected it. Unfortunately this didn’t actually do anything. After a few seconds I realised that I needed to create a folder first. It would have been helpful to have a message explaining this, but it didn’t take me long to figure it out.
Next I created the new folder and called it “My Docs". Strangely the folder didn’t show up immediately and I had to press Menu – Refresh for the folder to show up.
I then went through the upload process again and uploaded a MP3 file to the “My Docs" folder without any problem.
Once you have files in your Safebox folders, you can then Open them by simply navigating to the appropriate folder / file location and pressing on the file’s name. My test MP3 opened as expected and began playing immediately.
I then decided to Download the same MP3 from the Cloud storage, back on to the phone’s memory card. This was a simple matter of navigating to the “My Docs" folder, long pressing on the file and selecting the Download option. The App doesn’t tell you where it is downloading the file to however, but I found it in the following location: /SDCard/Safeboxfirstname.lastname@example.org/My Docs/
Sharing can be done in a same fashion to downloading. Simply press and hold on a file and select Sharing. The App will then generate a public URL. Unfortunately in my case the App just paused saying “Generating a public URL". This may just be a problem with my phone model, or a bug in the App itself.
Deleting a file was more problematic. I decided to delete my whole “My Docs" folder by holding down on the folder name and selecting delete. For some reason the folder and files still appear, however they weren’t visible in the PC or Online version of the service. This might be related to syncing, but after 30 minutes, the files are still visible in the App.
Very simple to use system which provides a minimal approach to your file storage.
Uploads and downloads run in the background meaning that you can use other Apps while these processes are occuring.
After a file has been uploaded to the cloud, you can then re-download it to your phone meaning that you always have a backup of important files.
Due to the issues above, I couldn’t help but feel that the App is an early release version and Bitdefender might need to test the App a little more.
On the other hand, this could just be related to my phone model (a Samsung Galaxy S2). This is a common problem with Android Apps where OS and UI versions vary between phones. This can be very difficult for developers to make every App work on every phone.
At present you cannot upload whole folders, but then neither can my phone’s own software, so perhaps this is an Android limitation.
SAFEBOX – PC VERSION
After downloading the product from Bitdefender’s website, the software opened and asked me to connect; which I did with my Gmail account.
The software then showed me a Product Tour to flick through, then asked me whether I would like to sync common folders like My Documents, My Music, My Photos and My Videos. After that I was taken to an optional form asking for my Name, Birthday and Country.
Bizarrely the default country selected was Romania, whereas I live in the United Kingdom. I then tried to find the UK on the list, but the list was only about 90% alphabeticised and the UK wasn’t where it should be. I eventually found it listed between Gabon and Grenada!
After filling in the form, I was taken to the home screen of the software. I clicked Manage Folders and the “My Docs" folder I had created on the Android App was pleasingly there waiting for me.
I then decided to Sync the folder to my PC and the software asked for a location to store the “My Docs" folder on my PC. I chose a folder location and the syncing started immediately, running unobtrusively in the background. After a few seconds, I clicked to open the new synced folder on my PC and voila: my files were there on my PC. Nice and simple.
The user interface is clean and elegant and sits in the bottom right corner of your screen taking up less than a quarter of your screen. You can of course minimise it to your taskbar at any point.
The UI is also very intuitive with no learning curve at all.
No cons to speak of.
SAFEBOX – CLOUD VERSION
To access your files via the web interface (aka the Cloud), you can either click a link from within the PC software or go to Bitdefender’s website and click the MyBitdefender link.
Once I had logged in I was immediately presented with the “My Docs" folder and could view, share and download my files from the website in a similar way to the App and the PC software.
I can see this being very useful if I’m ever working on someone else’s computer and need access to the files on my Phone or PC.
I have to admit that after using the Android App version of the product I was a bit under whelmed. As first I thought all I was getting was another 2Gb of storage for my phone. It wasn’t until after I tried the PC version of the software that I realised how useful Safebox would be for keeping a handful of files synced between my PC and Phone.
While I can manually sync files with a USB cable, it can be a bit laborious. And using my phone’s software to transfer files via WiFi isn’t a pleasant experience either. Safebox make the process much simpler and faster.
Also, I couldn’t help but feel the phone App is a work in progress. While the PC software is professional and polished, the Android App is a big buggy and not so intuitive. There is also no way of upgrading from 2Gb to the 30Gb or 60Gb that service also offers via the Android App. This is a similar case with the PC software. It is only when you click the “Go Online" link in the PC software that you can see an option to upgrade. I think Bitdefender is missing a trick here in terms of providing ways for their customers to upgrade.
In summary, the PC and web versions of the system are great and I believe that Bitdefender will improve the Android App. I also intend to continue using this product to keep a small amount of files synced between my PC, Phone and the Cloud. I can easily see how others would want to upgrade to get more storage however.