Norton Zone Cloud File Sharing review

Symantec has joined the online storage clan with the public beta of its multi-device file backup and sharing service. Norton Zone Cloud File Sharing offers an initial 5GB of free online space in which to shelve photos you rarely look at, files from completed projects and other items that would otherwise clutter up your Mac. There’s a desktop uploader to make bulk transfers more efficient (found under the ‘I want to’ > ‘Install Norton Zone’ menu on the right of the dashboard). We found it just as quick to select several files at once. Unlike Dropbox, we didn’t experience upload errors with the simple uploader or desktop client, but we did have to manually move some of the items into our online folders. We also had a few login issues, though Symantec has since made some changes and it now works properly

We especially like the version control element of the service whereby previous copies of files can be accessed from up to 90 days previously). The preview thumbnails of photos you’ve stored online are tiny, but you can click on each one to enlarge it. A proper gallery view would have been welcome. Options to rename items, ‘favorite’ them, add comments and sharing via a public link are all supported.

Unlike some rival services, clicking on an uploaded document in Norton Zone doesn’t show you a preview of its contents

There’s also a well-thought-out team zone. Here, you can invite colleagues or family members to a project folder. They’ll need to create a free Norton account. For projects involving lots of people, there’s a CSV email address import function, plus the ability to set team policies and to generate use reports. Symantec gives you plenty of text space to explain the project in the invitation too. Note that the Team Zone feature is only free while the service is in beta stage, however. 

You can use Norton Zone Cloud File Sharing on your iPhone or iPad too – just install the free app and then sign in to your Norton account. You can then upload photos and videos you’ve taken straight to your online account – a useful free archive in addition to iCloud. Although the app doesn’t appear to upload large batches of iPhone photos, they nevertheless appeared in our team folder very quickly. 

You can rename uploaded files and view photos in detail by clicking on them individually

OUR VERDICT

Norton Zone Cloud File Sharing isn’t the most dynamic online backup tool we’ve used, and it could use both a gallery view for browsing large photo thumbnails plus support for drag-and-drop uploads. We can’t make a final judgement until we know how much Symantec will charge for additional storage either, but we’ll happily use its free 5GB encrypted archive alongside iCloud.

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