Cloud storage is gaining popularity by the minute. Do not be surprised to see fresh players showing up every now and then with competitive pricing.
However, never forget that not everyone will be the best. You must weed out the horrible one and focus on the ones that have best-in-class features and security while still maintaining competitive pricing.
Icedrive is a relatively new entrant in this space. It is quite promising with several interesting features and rock-solid security. But do not expect it to be unicorn of cloud storage.
There are serrated edges that will give a pinch especially if you are looking for certain popular features that competing providers offer.
In this Icedrive review I am going to walk you through the features, interface, security, and various other aspects of the provider that you should use while considering a purchase.
Only you will have everything to lose if you just walk in blind and ill-informed.
So, let us waste time no further and begin a deep dive into Icedrive cloud storage offerings.
Pros and Cons of Icedrive
This segment will give you a quick idea of what you will be getting into if you buy a subscription of Icedrive cloud storage. If you do not like what you read here, you can safely sail away. No one will hold you a hostage and force you to read the entire review.
- Top-of-the-line privacy and security features.
- Zero-knowledge encryption.
- A generous free offering.
- Creates virtual drives on desktop.
- Offer file previews.
- User interface is beautifully designed.
- Incredibly competitive pricing.
- Virtual drives available only for Windows users.
- Collaboration options are absent.
- Block-level syncing is absent.
- Disappointing on productivity front.
- Upload links not available.
- Chat support is absent.
If you have lost interest, you are free to leave. But if you are still interested, that is great! Let us move forward.
Some Information on Icedrive
Icedrive is a relatively newcomer in the cloud storage space. The company was born in 2019. However, in just two years, the company has left behind a trail of positive impressions which include:
- Willingness to continuously improves its product and service.
- Complete focus on privacy and security of the users.
- Believes in the importance of design elegance.
Yes, in a short span, the company has displayed its intentions of improving upon its offerings. The unique selling point of Icedrive is its zero-knowledge encryption that offers peace of mind for privacy-focused people who do not like being snooped around for no apparent reason.
Finally, the company understands the importance of design. A clever design is something that attracts people. This explains why the interface of Icedrive is sleek and elegant.
Of course, the company is yet to become the unicorn of cloud storage. Whether or not it will ever succeed in achieving that feat is a topic of argument, but what we can say for sure as of now is that it does lack several features that its competing businesses offer. This might be a major drawback for many.
For starters, Icedrive lacks some key features such as:
- No upload links for folders.
- No integration with apps like Office365 and Google Docs.
But do not forget that the company is still in its babyhood. It promises to bring in many features soon. May be, someday we will see all those missing features emerge magically out of nowhere.
On the bright side of the spectrum, the interface is simple and intuitive with an elegant design. It also creates virtual drives that allows you to work with your files locally from your computer without ever permanently downloading the files, thereby saving your precious storage real estate locked inside your computer tower.
And guess what? You will get 10 GB free storage just by signing up for their services. If not the best, it is still a generous offering.
Icedrive Features – A Detailed Look
Icedrive is new in market. It did launch with a few impressive features, but there is a lot left to desire. However, whatever it is offering is quite impressive in implementation.
Let us investigate the unique features that Icedrive has to offer.
Virtual Drive, Portable App, Web App, Mobile Apps
For starters, the company offers a virtual drive that will install on your computer. It is not a true storage space in your computer but behaves like one. You can mount it like just any other virtual drive.
What is interesting is that it will allow you to interact as you would normally do with the internal storage of your computer. The company has implemented intelligent caching mechanism that ensure zero lag.
You can upload files to this drive, open the, edit them, and delete them as if you were working on a real drive in your computer.
While this is a brilliant feature, it does have a downside. This feature is available only to those who are using Microsoft Windows. Mac users or Linux users will not get this feature.
From what I can understand, the virtual drive feature is a great option for those who do not have sufficient storage available on their computers.
Another amazing feature that Icedrive offers is a portable format. You do not have to install it. You can just double-click on the downloaded file and it will run, allowing you to interact with the cloud storage. Fortunately, it is available for Mac and Linux users, as well.
This portable format will allow you to upload and download files and folders. It will even allow you to stream media and preview images and documents without the need for downloading them directly to your computer.
If you are editing any document on your local computer, the portable app will keep an eye on it. Once the editing is done, it will automatically upload the file to the cloud storage provided you create an updated version of the file.
To be able to open and edit the cloud files through the virtual drive or the portable app, you will need a constant and stable Internet connection. This may be a problem for many.
The web application is in sync with the capabilities of the portable app. You can access it from any computer if you have access to a web browser.
Icedrive provides mobile applications for both Android users and iOS users. They also work pretty much the same way as the portable app and the web application. You can backup all your content on your mobile device using the mobile app. You can even share your content.
You need productivity features. However, Icedrive does not have too many of them. There are a handful of features that you will love. To start with, they have a preview feature that will allow you to previous videos, images, office documents, and even PDF files.
Where it stands out is that Icedrive will allow you to preview even the encrypted files. When you try to preview an encrypted file, it will stream the encrypted file directly to your computer where it gets decrypted, making it visible only to the account holder.
That is an interesting feature that many of the leading cloud storage providers do not have.
Versioning is yet another feature that you will love. There is no limit to versioning. If you are not aware of what versioning means, it simply refers to retainment of past versions of a file.
Even if you have deleted some file from Icedrive, that file will be retained, no matter how old the file is. If you want, you can always restore older versions of your files, or even restore deleted files.
However, Icedrive has also mentioned that the current policy on versioning and deleted file retention may change in near future. That will be sad!
File editing feature is available. You can always edit your existing office documents directly from Icedrive without downloading them to your local computer storage.
Yet another feature that Icedrive offers is the media playback option. If you have videos and audio files stored in your Icedrive account, you can play them directly through the web interface without downloading them.
This is a nice touch, but an integrated media player is nothing new. Several cloud storage services offer this feature including Google Drive.
On the downside, there are several productivity features completely absent. For instance, Icedrive does not allow in-app collaboration.
There is no integration with Office online or Google docs. That can be a bummer for many who want such productivity features. You will not even get a Notes app with Icedrive.
File Syncing and Sharing Features
Sync features are scarce. In fact, Icedrive offers only the ‘Sync Any Folder’ feature, allowing you to retain the folder structure. That is all. There is no sync folder available. There is no block-level syncing, and there is no selective syncing available.
Icedrive does give you diverse ways to access your online files despite the lack of a true sync folder.
The absence of block-level syncing will hit you hard when you want to edit and sync large files.
Everytime, you download a large file for editing from the cloud storage, you need to reupload the entire file for syncing. Those that offer block-level syncing will only sync the altered segments instead of forcing you to upload the entire file.
As far as sharing features are concerned, file link sharing is available, but if you want features like link password and expiring links, you need to become a paid member.
Yes, folder sharing is also available. However, you cannot set permissions to folder. You will not have upload links and you cannot set a download limit to the links your share.
In case you are wondering which cloud storage provider provides all these features, you must check out pCloud, which is known for its excellent sharing capabilities.
File sharing is simple and basic. Click on any file and two sharing options will popup. You can share the file directly via email, or you can use a sharing link.
The option to share your files using email is named as ‘share.’ When you click on it, a new popup window shows up where you can enter the email addresses of the people with whom you want to share your files. You can add a note if you want.
The option to share a file using a link is named as ‘public link.’ If you choose that option, a new dialog box shows up where you can set an expiration date for the link and even set a password.
If you are setting a password, you will have to share the password with the intended recipients using some method that is suitable for you.
That is pretty much everything you get in the sharing segment.
Talking about the upload links for folders, you do not have that option. This means that if you wanted to allow others to upload files to a specified folder, that will be impossible to do.
Upload and Download Speed
Speed is a major concern, and it should be. The servers of Icedrive are in the US, the UK, and Germany. So, if you are located somewhere far, this might be a genuine issue.
Speed test from India using an 80Mbps optical fiber broadband connection was quite impressive. Upload a file of 1 GB took around 28 minutes while downloading took only 7 minutes.
That is very impressive to say the least. However, things rapidly deteriorated when I tested the same through the mobile application for Android.
Uploading a file of 1GB using mobile data on a 4G network took 52 minutes. Downloading took a whopping 25 minutes. The same test run using Wi-Fi gave impressive results that were at par with the results achieved on desktop with only a couple of minutes extra for both upload and download.
Do not use mobile data for large files! Please! This test ate my daily data allowance by my carrier. That was a bad choice on my part.
Things might have been different if block-level syncing was available. If that feature were available only the altered bits of the large files you edit would be uploaded instead of uploading the entire file all over again.
If you want block-level syncing feature, check out Dropbox. But again, Dropbox is not that great either!
Icedrive Interface and Usability
Icedrive’s design philosophy is praiseworthy. The UI or the User Interface is elegant, intuitive, and clean.
The white and gray background coupled with blue and green matte gradients make the interface truly eye catchy. The whole color combination is a reminiscent of an icy world. Well, they call themselves Icedrive.
The interface is not just clean. It is user-friendly, too. It is so intuitive that it eliminates the need for scaling a learning curve.
The menu is located on the left side with clean arrangement, letting you navigate with ease.
Icedrive allows four modes of usage that include:
- The web interface accessible through a web browser.
- The desktop app available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Mobile apps available for both Android and iOS users.
- A virtual drive available only for Windows users.
Interesting, while the desktop app is a portable program that does not require installation, the virtual drive requires installation followed by a reboot.
There are very few differences between the web interface and the portable desktop app.
Let us investigate each interface individually.
The Web Interface
The web interface is sleek and sexy. The menu sticks out on the left with no possibility of collapsing the menu.
All menu items are self-explanatory. There is a separate encrypted folder where you can store your most precious files – encrypted and locked. The Recent folder is where you can find all files that have been uploaded and/or modified over the last month.
The Favourites (note the British English spelling) folder is where you will find the list of all files and folders that you mark as favorite.
There is a big Add New button on the top right. That is the button you use for uploading files and folders to your Icedrive. You can also use the button for creating a new folder.
Once you upload a file, you can right-click on it to pull out diverse options in the context menu. It will give you the option for previewing the file or set it as a favorite. You will get options for sharing the file, renaming it, deleting it, and even view the version history and properties.
Overall, the web interface has nothing complicated to hold you back. The menus are intuitively laid down and there are quick action buttons on the top to perform certain actions for individual files and folder.
The Portable App Interface
The portable app interface looks almost identical to the web interface at the first glance. However, when you look at it carefully, you will notice two additional menu items on the left.
The Transfers tab in the menu where you can see the upload and download queue. The settings tab is quite self-explanatory. Clicking on it will give you access to different settings that will allow you to control the way the portable desktop app behaves.
You can even enable dark mode from the settings popup.
The right-click menu you will get through the desktop app is slightly different from what you get in the web interface.
The preview option is not available through the desktop app. It is replaced by the open/edit option that will allow you to open a file located on Icedrive server.
You can open the file locally using an appropriate app. You can even edit it. Once you have completed editing, the Icedrive app will upload it back to your cloud storage account and remove the file from your computer or device’s memory.
The rest of the right-click menu items are same except that they order in which they are arranged is slightly different.
Like the web interface, the desktop app also has a set of quick action buttons on the top that you can use for performing certain tasks specific to files and folder.
Even the desktop app will allow you to create a new folder. There is a separate button on the top for that action.
What is strikingly different about the interface is that you do not see the big bold Add New button.
If you want to upload a file or a folder, you need to right-click in an empty area where the files show up and then select the upload option.
The absence of the button can be slightly inconvenient, but it is not a big issue to cry over. It is a matter of habit. Your arm will get the necessary muscle memory while using the desktop app.
The virtual drive is an installable application. Unlike the portable desktop app, you need to install the virtual drive. Once the installation is complete, it will create a desktop shortcut.
However, the drive will not show up until you restart double-click the desktop shortcut and sign in.
Once you sign in, a new window will popup, giving you the option of mounting the drive.
There is also a setting tab from where you can determine the behavior of the virtual drive. You can make it load during Windows startup, request thumbnails and preview, make the drive behave as a read-only drive, etc.
On the mount tab, you will find a button for mounting the drive along with a list of errors (if any).
Once you click on the mount button, a new file browser window will open showing you the list of files already present in your cloud storage.
You can see the Icedrive from the left menu of the file browser, or by visiting the drive list from ‘This PC’ menu.
You can use this drive exactly as your native drive. You can right-click inside the drive window to open the context menu as with any other drive.
What is interesting is that cloud-based files will show up in the Icedrive allowing full interaction, but they will not take any space in your computer.
You can create files in this folder, or even create new folders if you want. Deleting those locally created files and folders will delete them from your local computer storage.
Icedrive Security Features
Icedrive has positioned itself as a champion of privacy and security. Undoubtedly, they are the company’s strongest selling points.
Icedrive does not use the standard AES encryption protocol. Instead, the company goes for a lesser-known Twofish protocol.
According to Icedrive, the Twofish protocol is not very well-known, making it a safer alternative as it gives higher security because most of the hackers are not much familiar with this encryption type.
One of the strongest points of Icedrive is the zero-knowledge encryption. Once you start uploading a file, encryption will start right away to prevent man-in-the-middle attack during file transit from your computer to the server. Once the files reach the server, they are once again encrypted.
What is interesting is that only you have the encryption key. This means that file encryption and decryption – everything will happen only from the client side. Even Icedrive will not know what hides behind the encryption.
I already mentioned the feature of previewing encrypted files. It is a feature that even the best of the cloud storage services do not offer, making Icedrive the best (perhaps, one of the best) in the business.
Note that previewing encrypted file is not possible for all file formats.
If there is something missing, then it is two-factor authentication feature. The absence of this feature means that if someone has access to your Icedrive account login credentials, you are screwed!
Absence of two-factor authentication also means that a hacker can apply a brute-force attack to get your login credentials.
I would really like to see Icedrive adding in proximate future, but again that is totally dependent on their priority list of features that want to introduce in the future.
Icedrive Privacy – It is Simply, Stellar!
Icedrive puts a lot of focus on privacy of its users. Unless you give them explicit permission, they will not keep any data that belongs to you.
Additionally, the company will even allow you to download your personal data, allowing you to see and evaluate what personal information they are storing. You will not find a provider that will allow you to do so.
The company never uses any kind of tracking apps like Google Analytics to learn what you are doing with your Icedrive account. What you do will be totally up to you, and no one will ever know about your activities.
While such secrecy is great for privacy-focused people, it is also slightly scary when you think about possible misuse by antisocial elements.
In the DMCA policy, Icedrive clearly states that it uses a filter for calculating the unique hash of a file that enters their system. Worried? Do not worry. This hash cannot be used for reconstructing your data or decrypting it. It is only an identifier hash.
Icedrive is a company located in the UK. The company follows the privacy policies of the country, and it is entirely GDPR compliant.
Bottom line? Icedrive is one of the safest cloud storage services you will ever come across.
Pricing Policy of Icedrive
Icedrive has an extremely competitive pricing. It should not be harsh on your wallet. However, if you do not want to spend money on Icedrive right away, you can use their free offering which will allocate 10 GB of free storage along with 3 GB bandwidth.
The only problem with free plan is that you will not get certain features that are reserved exclusively for paid customers only. Barring that, 10 GB is a generous offer if you are planning on storing only small files like Microsoft Office documents, PDFs, etc.
Once you are satisfied testing the free offering, you can upgrade to a paid plan anytime you want.
There are three paid plans available that include:
- Storage available: 150 GB
- Bandwidth limit set: 250 GB
- 1-year subscription with early billing: $1.67 per month (billed annually)
- Lifetime plan: $59 one-time payment for 3-year use
- Storage available: 1000 GB
- Bandwidth limit set: 2 TB
- Monthly subscription: $4.99 a month
- Yearly subscription: $4.17 a month, billed yearly
- Lifetime plan: $149 one-time payment for 3-year use
- Storage available: 5000 GB
- Bandwidth limit set: 8 TB
- Monthly subscription: $17.99 a month
- Yearly subscription: $15 a month, billed yearly
- Lifetime plan: $499 one-time payment for 3-year use
The plans and their pricing are quite impressive, but somewhere I do feel that if there was a middle ground between the Pro and the Pro+ plan with around 2000 GB storage, it would have been a much better choice. But again, that is the business model they chose, and those are the options you will have.
Icedrive Customer Service
Icedrive needs to work hard in this area. The only option they offer for contacting their customer support is a ticket system wherein you need to send a support ticket and wait for them to respond if you run into some trouble.
This can be quite frustrating, especially when you need immediate support.
I strongly believe that if not a phone support channel, they should open a chat support mechanism. Even a bot-powered chat often helps in resolving certain issues. They could have pushed human contact behind the bot communication to ensure that only genuinely grave issues reach the humans.
Telephone support is, of course, not a very bright idea because of the time zone differences that can lead to frustrations. Setting up a 24×7 call center for customer support is a very unrealistic goal for a company that has been around for only two years now.
Overall, Icedrive is a brilliant cloud storage provider, especially if you are looking into its security and privacy features. Of course, there are some features missing, but you can expect them to show up over time.
Icedrive does have the potential to become one of the finest cloud storage providers in the world. With an extraordinarily simply user interface, the company has managed to completely flatten the learning curve, making it virtually disappear.
Its free offering is generous and gives you enough storage for storing your files. On the downside, file encryption is not available for free accounts. That should not be a problem if you are not doing some top-secret thing and storing only regular files and folders.
If you need encryption, you must upgrade. This brings us to the pricing, which is reasonable and affordable. I must agree that Icedrive is one of the cheapest cloud storage solutions you will get.
Finally, Icedrive is a solution you can count on if your collaboration and productivity needs are limited, and you don’t mind giving up some of those features for security.