I’ve been a CloudApp devotee for years now. I’ve tested all the alternates — perhaps more than most, since I review apps for a living — and even called it a solid tie between Droplr and CloudApp in my in-depth comparison of them last year. But, as I had every other time, I returned to using CloudApp quickly after finishing the article. Nothing else could win me over.
It’s not that I’m so picky, per se. I used CloudApp to share images and files (mainly screenshots), and to shorten links (and then track their view stats). And CloudApp worked perfectly for that, so perfectly that I didn’t want to replace it.
The problem is, CloudApp has been standing still, while Droplr has been continuing to improve their apps and service. When Droplr announced their new iOS app — complete with an iPad version — at the same time that I was bumping into CloudApp’s free account limits and needed to consider upgrading, I knew I had to give Droplr another shot first. Several weeks later, I put the money down for a pro Droplr account.
The Droplr Advantage
Trying a new app that does something brand new is easy. If you need the app, it’ll fit, and you’ll likely keep using it. If not, you’ll discard it and move on. It’s a yes or no, even if it doesn’t seem that precise in your mind at the time.
Switching to a new app, though, after relying on your own tried-and-true favorite for years is a totally different matter. A new app that’s slightly better will likely not make the cut, since you’re prejudiced to the app you’re already used to. The old app works, and you weren’t really needing something new, so why change for tiny improvements?
That’s why I’ve stubbornly stuck to my favorite text editors, file sharing tools, and email apps until new ones came along that leapfrogged older ones. Droplr has, now, easily leapfrogged CloudApp, enough that switching actually makes sense.
A First-Class Web Experience
First off, the Droplr web app is both beautiful and more functional than any other file sharing app I’ve ever used. You can see all of your uploaded files and shortened links at a glance, along with their size, views, and date uploaded. Click the menu on any upload to see its stats, edit its name, or make that one individual file private. Scroll down, and you can see everything you’ve uploaded without having to click between pages. You can even search through all of your uploads’ names, or just drag-and-drop a file from your computer to the web app to upload it. All of the latter things (after seeing basic info at a glance and editing info) are things you won’t find in CloudApp’s web app.
Droplr’s web app is simple and uncluttered, while still being smart. I’ve found it to be slightly unreliable at sorting uploads by views and size, but everything else is great. And while it might seem like these are minor things, it’s the minor things that add up to the greater whole.
Speaking of smarts, Droplr’s links themselves are one of the best arguments for using Droplr. They’re short d.pr/1234 style links, as you’d expect, but there’s two things that make them better than other file sharing apps’ links.
First, you can quickly tell kind of file’s behind a Droplr link just by looking at its URL. Shortened links with Droplr will look like the link above, images will include a /i/ after the d.pr, notes will include a /n/, other files will include a /f/, and so on. A surprising number of them will show the full file directly in their preview page, and audio or video files will play back straight from their preview page. Another of those small niceties.
Second, you can link directly to your file — skipping the file preview page entirely — by adding a + to the end of your Droplr link. That way, you can upload an image to Droplr and embed it in your site directly by pasting the link in your code and adding a + to it.
There’s only one thing to note: Droplr links are case sensitive. But then, so are many other file sharing apps’ links.
More Bang for Your Bucks
If you’re looking for more from your file sharing tool, Droplr Pro gives you far more than CloudApp Pro. The latter gives you unlimited uploads up to 250Mb each, and an option to add your own domain. Droplr Pro, however, gives you essentially unlimited uploads (the free version lets you share up to 1Gb of files, while the pro gives you 100Gb. That’s a lot.) at up to 1Gb per file. Then, it lets you add a domain, customize your drop background (a small extra, given), and gives you more detailed stats on your shared files. The latter is the main extra, if you’re not sharing huge files anyhow, and it can be a neat way to see how your shared files are being viewed.
Then, there’s the price difference: $5/month or $45/year for CloudApp Pro versus $3.99/month or $39.99/year for Droplr Pro. You shouldn’t make your whole decision over price, but when the app with more features is slightly cheaper, it might be enough to push you over.
The attentive among us will remember that Droplr doesn’t let you pay with PayPal, but you can upgrade with an iOS or OS X in-app purchase if you want to get around giving them your credit card info — and could even pay via PayPal though your Apple account if you really wanted. But, admittedly, this shouldn’t be an issue for most of us.
The Apps. Oh, the Apps.
But the main reason to switch to Droplr is its apps. If you’re sharing files from your browser only, Droplr’s web app is enough nicer that you likely switched already. But its native apps are equally reason to switch. It has its own Mac, Windows, and universal iOS apps, whereas CloudApp only has a first-party app for the Mac, with 3rd party apps for the rest. There’s also Droplr integration in a number of 3rd party apps, but CloudApp has that too, so it’s not the hugest advantage.
If you upload files mainly from a Mac, though, the Droplr Mac app will be a very nice surprise. It’s got the same drag-and-drop sharing convenience that CloudApp has, but with extra features. Hover over anything you’ve uploaded to Droplr in the menu, and you’ll see a preview of it, as well as an option to copy the link, share the file on social networks or by email, make it private, or delete it. The copy link option alone has saved me tons of time. Then, you can upload files or links directly from many apps to Droplr from the menu or by pressing Alt+D, or compose and upload a note directly from the app.
The changes over time to the Mac app, along with the brand-new iPad app, are what got me to try Droplr again. Combine that with the other niceties it has, and it’s the best quick file-sharing app option today.
A Simple Problem, Simplified
Sharing files and links is a little problem, sure. But it’s one of those things that can take a number of steps with many tools (at least 5 with Dropbox), or just one with Droplr (and a handful of other apps). The neat thing is that Droplr has taken that that basic feature, added extra features to it that simplify it further while making it more powerful, and added a pro account that makes sense for heavy sharers.
Sometimes, it really is the little things that count most.