First Impressions of Microsoft’s SkyDrive for Mac

I’m starting to really come around to liking Microsoft products.

There, I said it.

The new Outlook webmail client (released a few weeks back) transformed the lackluster Hotmail service into a very modern-looking and intuitive webmail client. And now Microsoft has taken that same initiative over to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s “cloud storage” implementation. It’s available on Windows, Mac, iOS and even Android devices.

As a Dropbox user for a few years, I was curious about MS’s implementation. How do the two services compare? And, more importantly, would SkyDrive’s Mac client be robust, or relegated to second class citizen status?

It turns out SkyDrive is every bit a Mac product that competes quite favorably to Dropbox.

To open a SkyDrive, you’ll need a Hotmail or Outlook account. Like Dropbox, you can access your SkyDrive files via a web browser. And, like Dropbox, you have local access to your files (via a SkyDrive folder) after installing the SkyDrive application.

Right off the bat, SkyDrive gives you 7GB of cloud storage, compared to only 2GB with DropBox. The SkyDrive application walks you through a quick setup procedure where you can specify the location of your SkyDrive folder. When the SkyDrive folder is installed, three subfolders are created: Documents, Pictures, and Public.

ms_skydrive_view

In my testing, transferring files to and from SkyDrive was incredibly fast. Files appear almost instantly after moving them over to your SkyDrive folder. Image previews are neatly arranged in a grid. Furthermore, you can sort your files and even change the layout (List, Grid, SideBar Preview) to match your preference.

SideBar Preview:

ms_skydrive_sidebar_view

Grid view:

ms_skydrive_grid_view

In short, it is very easy to find what you are looking for in SkyDrive. Hell, it’s intuitive! I never thought I would write those words about a Microsoft product ever. Like Dropbox, you can also share files and folders with others.

The iOS implementation of SkyDrive is very “Mac-like” as well. It’s a great way to carry files on the go. In my testing, everything worked without nary a hitch. It’s obvious that a lot of thorough testing went into SkyDrive.

Need more space? SkyDrive lets you have 20GB for only 10 bucks a year. 50GB is available for $25 / year, and 100GB is only $50 / year. Dropbox charges $100 for 100GB. Microsoft wins on both options and price, by a landslide!

In summary, I’ve never been impressed with Microsoft… until now. Outlook and SkyDrive are both intuitive, fast, and beautiful to look at. Dare I say, they’ve even out-Apple’d Apple. If you’re on the fence, give SkyDrive and Outlook a try. Even if you already have Dropbox, SkyDrive is worth your consideration. (If nothing else, you get an extra 7GB of storage.)

Kudos to the MS development and design team for a job well done.

-Krishna

Pro Tip: I use SkyDrive for storing all my desktop wallpapers. Now I can easily access the same desktop wallpapers from both my laptop and desktop.

These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • Jesse
    August 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I’ve been trying them out as well and am very pleased with how Microsoft has upped their game. I’m currently trying an evaluation copy of Windows 8 and liking how fast it is.

  • Andrew
    August 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I signed up for SkyDrive a few months ago when they were still offering 25gb of storage for free. The Windows client is okay, but doesn’t max out my 50/25 FIOS connection. I’ve mostly been using it for backups.

    I have no idea what happened at Microsoft that turned them around like this (Vista’s poor reception, maybe?). I like the idea of Metro Modern UI, but my impression of the Win 8 previews have been… sour.