Carbonite Review

Carbonite Top 10 Best Online Backup

You may have heard of Carbonite before from tv ads. Just because you have heard of it before, doesn't always mean it is number one backup service, but it definitely is a contender. Carbonite offers a fairly simple backup solution, but it can be slower than other services. However, once you complete your first full backup, subsequent backups are faster. It is a very easy to use solution offered at a low cost.

Price

Carbonite offers 3 pricing plans at very competitive prices. All their plans include Unlimited storage space and are offered as 1 year subscription plans. We are ok with this because we recommend you signup for a least a 1 year plan with all online backup services. You will be charged for the entire year up front, but this is common practice. We show you the monthly cost so you can compare it to other online backup services. Each subscription includes only 1 computer and no syncing capability. If you would like to backup additional computers, you will have to purchase another entire subscription plan.

1 Year Subscription Plan (Unlimited Storage Space):

Home HomePlus HomePremier
$4.92 / mo $8.25 / mo $12.42 / mo

Carbonite offers a 15-day trial of their software. You can easily signup and download the Carbonite software from their website (www.carbonite.com).

Features

We were a little disappointed at the limited amount of features Carbonite has with its basic Home plan. While you do get top notch support, some features we expected to see are missing unless you upgrade to the more expensive HomePlus or HomePremier plans. Carbonite does include the ability to access your files from mobile devices like iPhones, Android devices, and Blackberry devices. You can listen to your backed up music from within the mobile apps too.

Carbonite does include file versioning and the ability to restore deleted files, however, they only save 90 days of previous file versions, and 30 days of deleted files. You can configure Carbonite to perform continuous backups or automatic backups on a set schedule. Instead of having a web interface, Carbonite integrates into your Windows Explorer or Mac Finder, making it very easy to set folders and files for backup. Carbonite offers external hard drive backup and mirror image backup (which backs up your entire operating system) with their HomePlus and HomePremier plans.

One thing we didn't like is that Carbonite has no syncing capabilities, and you must signup for a new plan for each computer you would like to backup. Most other online backup services offer syncing capability and multiple device backup with their plans.

Features
Unlimited Backup Storage Space
Web and Mobile Access
Ability to set Continuous Data Backup
External Hard Drive Backup (HomePlus and HomePremier)
Mirror Image, Complete OS Backup (HomePlus and HomePremier)
Restore Deleted Files - Saves deleted files for 30 days
File Versioning - Saves previous versions for 90 days
Courier Restore (HomePlus and HomePremier)
 
OS Support
Windows 7
Windows Vista
Windows XP
Mac OS X (HomePlus and HomePremier not available)
 
Mobile Device Support
iPhone, iPad
Android
Blackberry
 

Screenshots (click to enlarge):

Backup Screen Settings Explorer Integration

Ease of Use

Carbonite does well in the ease of use category. During setup we were given the option of automatically backing up our important files. If you are a novice user and not sure what to backup, then this is a great, simple feature. It will automatically select your photos, documents, email and music. We found it a bit strange that it won't automatically select your videos, but you can easily add your videos to your backup set manually.

All of Carbonite's settings can be configured from their desktop application and Carbonite nicely integrates with Windows Explorer and Mac Finder. So adding folders to your backup is as simple as clicking on them. Icons appear in the explorer to show you the current backup status; green indicates backed up, yellow indicates waiting to backup, and no icon indicates that the file is not selected for backup. The novice users will really appreciate Carbonite's easy use, however, the more experienced user may opt to choose a different online backup service due to Carbonite's lack of features.

Speed

Carbonite does fall behind with their backup speed. They were one of the slowest online backup services we reviewed. They only allow about 3-4GB of backup per day. In fact, the more data you have, the more Carbonite will throttle your connection to their servers. They mention on their website that for the first 35GB of backup you can achieve upload speeds of 2Mbps, then for data of 35GB - 200GB you will get 512Kbps upload speed, and data >200GB will upload at 100Kbps. If you have a lot of data, then this will be painfully slow. It could take almost your entire 15-day trial period to upload 40GB of data. Now if you signup for the more expensive HomePlus and HomePremier plans, you will get the full 2Mbps speed for up to 200GB. Needless to say, Carbonite does not get the best ratings for speed.

Security

Keeping your data secure is Carbonite's top priority. They encrypt your files using 128-bit Blowfish encryption before the files even leave your computer. Then they use SSL secure connections to transfer your files to their secure servers. Most online backup services use some form of the more secure AES encryption for your files. However, Carbonite's encryption is still sufficient even though it is not the latest industry standard. Carbonite has state-of-the-art data centers where their enterprise-grade servers are redundantly backed up. Your data is stored in these tightly controlled data centers which use biometric scanners and electronic key cards to limit access. Their facilities are guarded 24/7 showing that they put a lot of effort into keeping your data safe and secure.

Customer Support

Carbonite does have some great support options. They are one of the few online backup services to offer email, live chat, and phone support included with their plans. Although be aware that the live chat and phone support is only during business hours. They also have a great support page with video tutorials, how-to guides, and a troubleshooting section. Unfortunately, Carbonite does not have a community forum to share problems with other users, but they make up for it by having a through support page and phone support should you need it.

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