Say the words ‘cloud storage’ to most people, and names like Dropbox and Google Drive usually pop into their heads.
So when other cloud storage providers like Zoolz start to make waves – it’s pretty exciting stuff.
Table of Contents
Pros of Zoolz BigMIND Home
- It’s secure
- It’s built on Amazon Web Service technology
- Top-notch user experience
- Easy file sharing
- Fantastic mobile app that lets you back up mobile data
- Stream video without buffering
- It offers hybrid backup
Cons of Zoolz BigMIND Home
- Pretty average speeds
- Limited file versions
- A little pricey, with no proper free version
- Smaller storage provision than most cloud providers
- Limited support
- Confusing plans
Zoolz’s Plan & Pricing
Zoolz BigMIND Home VS pCloud
Thing is, Zoolz has many faces. We did some digging and decided there was one product that seemed especially perfect for the standard cloud user – and it’s called Zoolz BigMIND Home.
It’s similar to Zoolz’s conventional cloud backup, just kind of the buff and brainy big brother.
With talks of AI integration, facial recognition and hybrid backups – we just had to review it.
So, how does it fare as a cloud storage solution?
How Easy It Is To Set Up BigMIND Home?
First things first! Signing up for BigMIND Home was super easy.
You can sign up by email, Google account or Facebook to create an account in seconds. It then prompts you to install the BigMIND Home app to your desktop.
Once that was done, there was nothing left to do but start backing up.
First-off, we were pretty impressed by the method in which you can back up your files. You can select by file type.
Or you can select specific files and folders from your computer, with the help of some handy filters. For example, you can weed out files by extension, size or those older than a certain date.
After that, you just set your backup frequency – continuous, or on a particular schedule.
File restoration is also super easy, and can be done folder by folder, or all in one go. Easy.
What Was Our Impression Browsing Zoolz’s Interface?
First impressions? Style-wise, the interface of the desktop client didn’t feel ultra-modern. However we couldn’t deny it was easy to use and very intuitive.
You can easily see in a glance your storage usage, time between backups as well as your settings. Backups and restoration was just a couple of clicks away.
But you know what we REALLY liked? The BigMIND Home website.
Here’s what the dashboard looks like:
It shows some similar stats – device usage, activity stream and traffic, plus a handful of colourful graphs to help you visualise what’s going on. And a handy search bar at the top of the page.
So, after we did our backup and had a good play around with it, what did we think about it?
7 Things We Loved About Zoolz BigMIND Home
So, there was definitely plenty of things we liked.
1. It’s Secure
When it comes to keeping precious personal files safe, the words ‘Military-Grade 256-AES Encryption’ could not sound sweeter.
That’s the same level of AES that would take a supercomputer longer than the age of our universe to crack (which, um, we’ll settle for).
If you’re worried about Zoolz employees or key thieves decrypting your files, you can always enable private, end-to-end encryption when you set it up. This’ll ensure you’re the only one controlling your encryption key.
Just remember to set a password you won’t forget, since Zoolz can’t help to reset it!
Other security measures worthy of mention:
- Files in transit can be protected with SSL protocol.
- Two-factor authentication can be activated.
- Audit features that track all account activity and catch suspicious activity.
2. It’s Built On Amazon Web Service Technology
BigMIND Home doesn’t actually use its own data centers. Instead, it relies on Amazon S3 Glacier, a leading cloud infrastructure service.
How does this benefit you? Well, for one, it leverages off the build of one of the world’s largest internet companies.
Meaning, you benefit from a global network with excellent server coverage. Meaning faster transfers wherever you are.
They also review their data centers each year to check security protocols are up to scratch. I mean, if Amazon Web Services (AWS) is good enough for NASA and Netflix, we dare say it’ll do.
3. Top-Notch User Experience
There’s no denying it – BigMIND Home really knows how to keep a house tidy.
First off, it can preserve your file system structure. It’s a common feature for cloud backup services, but it’s always great NOT needing to squeeze everything into a sync folder (though you do also have a Cloud Drive folder, if you want it!).
The moment that you upload content, BigMIND gets to work organising it in an easy-to-find way.
They really go the extra mile in making searching and accessing your content easy.
Everytime you upload a file, all metadata is extracted and organised for future searching. Any photographer can easily search their images by date taken, tags, file size and even the dominant colour in the image.
But you know what’s even cooler?
It offers AI-powered photo analysis. It tries to detect what’s shown in any images.
From ‘football’ to ‘salads’, this enables you to search your photo gallery by content and pull up results in seconds.
It’s an awesome tool for those of us who don’t bother to title images with relevant descriptions (alright, hands up).
You can also upload an image and ask AI to describe what they think it shows. We probably had a bit too much fun testing this out with sample images.
In general, we were really impressed! The tech often got pretty specific with what it was describing.
In fact, it took us quite some serious upload testing until it got something really wrong.
This AI photo analysis also extends to facial recognition, which makes it perfect for personal photo albums as you search your gallery by names. The feature also ‘learns’ every time you confirm potential matches.
Sure, it’s not the only cloud service that offers some sort of AI-based organization of images and clips (*cough*, Google Photos), but it’s really hard not to love their colourful interface, and multi-layered search functions.
Take their ‘Discover’ window. It’s easy on the eyes and really intuitive to navigate in all the ways we mentioned above.
Yup – it definitely makes life much, much easier.
4. Easy File Sharing
File sharing is also super easy. You simply generate a link that you pass to your recipient. Share it in an email, paste it into a WhatsApp message, you do you.
BigMIND Home also gives you pretty awesome permissions control when you’re sharing files. Set password protection, expiry dates, or set shared data to be view-only. You can even configure notifications when your file is downloaded.
5. Fantastic Mobile App That Lets You Back Up Mobile Data
You know what’s better than having your data safe and accessible? Having ALL your data safe and accessible.
Many of us have our lives stuffed into our handphones, often more so than our computers. So, having an option to protect all that data is a great.
Plus, it’s a pretty rare feature in cloud backups, so credit where credit is due!
The BigMind app lets you not only backup mobile photos and videos, but also your contacts, messages, and calendar too. It can even wipe images from your device once they’re safely backed up – just imagine all that space you’d save!
The app is sleek and easy to use, with the same Discover feature that lets you filter files by date, type, faces or even emojis. Kids these days.
You can also set backup reminders, or make sure they only happen when you’re connected to WiFi.
6. Stream Video Without Buffering
Okay, ready for one of their coolest features? BigMIND lets you stream your 4K and HD videos from the cloud, seamlessly and without interruption. As though you’re simply watching them off Netflix.
In their words (which we like to read like a battlecry): they ‘SAY NO TO BUFFERING!’
Well, assuming you’re on a good internet connection.
You’ll be able to access both your audio and video directly from the cloud, on any device – anytime, anywhere. You can also securely share these files to your friends and family, so they can ‘stream’ it on any of their devices.
That said, only the most expensive plan lets you stream in HD. But either way, we think this feature is pretty unique.
7. It Offers Hybrid Backup
If you’re a fan of local drive backups, you’re in luck.
BigMIND comes with this super useful thing called Hybrid backup, which allows you to transfer your data to BOTH the cloud and a local storage device.
Why would you do this? Well, keeping local copies and accessing data from local drives, is often much faster than downloading data from the cloud.
And even better news – whilst BigMIND home restricts your cloud storage space, it does permit backup on unlimited external and network drives. And restoring from that local drive later on, is as simple as ticking a checkbox. Easy!
What We Didn’t Love About Zoolz BigMIND Home?
Of course, as with any review, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Here are a couple of drawbacks we also noticed.
1. Pretty Average Speed
We know, we know. We mentioned earlier that leveraging on Amazon’s global network was an advantage.
But, at the end of the day, Zoolz’s syncing speeds are unfortunately still behind a lot of other cloud storage services on the market.
The reason? Amazon S3 Glacier. It’s really good at providing cold storage at low prices. After all, it was engineered for data archival and it’s perfect for long term backups. But it performs poorer on the syncing and sharing front.
In other words, it’s a little slow when it comes to retrieving your data.
Now, BigMIND Home definitely make some effort to combat this. For example:
- Turbo Mode
- Multi-Threaded Backup
- Block-Level File Copying
Gives you greater control on upload & download speed.
Makes fast backup the highest priority on your computer.
Allows multiple backups to be taken at once.
Only send & update parts of a file that are changed to the server, rather than replacing the entire file.
2. Limited File Versions
A huge advantage of cloud storage is the ability to bring old versions of deleted, corrupted, or messed up files back to life. It’s just something we expect by now.
The extent to which the file can go back depends on the service. Some, like Sync, can hold indefinite older versions of a file. Dropbox holds old versions of files for up to 30 – 180 days, depending on your plan.
So we were a little disappointed to see BigMIND Home only keeps up to 10 previous file versions. If it’s a file that’s being shared between many collaborators, 10 versions might just not make the cut to be useful.
3. A Little Pricey, With No Proper Free Version
The first thing we couldn’t help but notice is there’s no real free option for BigMIND Home that’s truly viable. You’ll get all of 1GB upon sign up. Hardly enough for one movie!
Compare that to Sync’s 5GB free storage that exponentially grows, or Dropbox’s 2GB free. Though that said, BigMIND Home does offer a free 14-day trial option, where you’ll get 5GB of hot storage to play with.
In terms of pricing, it really depends on what you need. The cheapest package costs a small $2.99 a month (for annual payment), and gets you a small 100GB of storage. It’s the perfect option for users who just don’t need much storage space, but like the idea of the cloud. After all, why pay for something you don’t need?
But if a lot of space is your #1 priority, then BigMIND Home’s prices may seem hard to justify.
Plans go up all the way to $12.99 / month for 1TB on the Family Plus plan. Considering you can get more TB for half the price on providers like pCloud, this may not be the best-priced solution if you’re looking strictly at cost-per-GB.
Your priorities in a cloud storage provider are really what determines how much value-for-money you’ll get out of BigMIND Home.
4. Smaller Storage Provision Than Most Cloud Provider
As we’ve said BigMIND Home can accommodate 1TB storage maximum. That’s easily a fraction of a harddrive!
Many other cloud providers offer an unlimited backup plan, but not BigMIND Home. We can see this being a problem for those who simply deal with large amounts of data, and who simply cannot work to this scale.
That said, thankfully all paid plans allow you to back up to unlimited external drives. If you’re willing to do this, or if 1TB is plenty roomy for your needs, then this shouldn’t be an issue.
5. Limited Support
Whilst support is supposedly 24/7, this doesn’t really make sense to us, since all questions have to be submitted as a ticket. We couldn’t find any live chat support.
They did list two phone numbers on their site, however they appear to be only to their sales teams. Which means if you did have an urgent issue, you may have to wait a little.
6. Confusing Plans
Here’s our last critique, which was clear before we even downloaded the app.
Zoolz’s offering is very confusing! They seemed to offer plans within plans within plans.
Zoolz’s parent company, Genie9, offers a portfolio of awesome cloud storage products, each with a slightly different specialty. During research on their various plans, we found ourselves kept getting sucked into new product pages and Zoolz variations we’d never seen before.
Each of their products comes with a myriad of versions and customizable features.
I mean, sure, we love options. But we can definitely see how it could be overwhelming for a cloud user to make the right choice.
Zoolz’s Plan & Pricing
If you think BigMIND Home might work for you, you’ll have are three paid plans to choose from: Personal, Family and Family Plus. There’s also a 1GB free option.
Each can back up a different number of devices, but the largest storage space you can get is 1TB between 5 users.
That said – we think it’s worth introducing two of Zoolz’s other products. All of these leverage the same 256-AES encryption, hybrid backup, customizable backup, file filtering, and speed limit management.
This here is the business equivalent of the BigMIND Home, with an emphasis on features that corporations would probably find useful, as well as more customization.
Extra features in this include:
- Cold storage to preserve your data on a long term basis.
- Search your content in a range of languages.
- Customizable file versioning.
- Optical character reading to change image text into searchable data.
This is the more conventional cloud backup with a greater focus on long term, lifetime storage. It’s like a slower and steadier version of BigMIND Home.
Your files are duplicated among multiple servers across the globe, for extra security. So you can rest assured that your files will be kept safe in the long term. However, this does mean that file retrievals are much slower – typically requiring 3 – 5 hours.
You have two plans to pick from here:
The Family sharing plan are a great option for just that – family sharing.
It’s a great option to backing up all photos to one safe location that multiple people can access, all for the price of under $40 for a whole year. It also comes with a handy feature that generates photo previews of all your camera photos, which allows for easy viewing.
Zoolz BigMIND Home VS pCloud
It just wouldn’t feel fair to end this review without looking at a competitor. And when it comes to personal cloud storage – it’s always pCloud that comes to mind.
Here are the three main battlegrounds:
As we’ve mentioned, BigMIND Home isn’t the most economic option if you’re looking at price-per-GB. Their biggest 1TB plan costs 12.99 /mo.
What you’re really paying for is the brains behind it; the technology and user-friendly interface. And since it does have small packages, it’s perfect for those who don’t want too much storage space, and don’t want to pay for it.
On the other side is pCloud. Their largest plan is at 2TB, which comes in at almost half the price at $7.99 /mo. It’s an attractive offer, even before you look at their lifetime plan.
For a lump sum of $175 (for 500GB) you’ll get a lifetime subscription. We crunched some numbers and worked out that that would save you $64.40 in just 5 years. Sure, their end-to-end encryption comes at an additional fee, but overall, pCloud is more affordable for anyone looking for long term solutions.
Since we heard BigMIND Home was relying on Amazon S3 Glacier, our expectations for speed weren’t too high.
Sure enough, we couldn’t help but notice some delays on file upload and retrieval. Files like documents seemed to require more processing on their side, and we had to wait a few minutes before we could actually click and preview the contents of those documents.
pCloud on the other hand, really pride themselves on speed as a USP. They do this via their global network of collocated proxy servers (that means your files are uploaded to the server closest to you).
They even released a video uploading a 1.2GB file, and found they were a proud 4 minutes, 40 seconds faster than Dropbox.
Again, it really depends if lightning speed is a priority to you. But as pCloud themselves say, the faster your cloud service, the more it feels like an actual hard drive.
Ease of File Access
pCloud also has a media player plugin installed in its system for easy organising and playback of videos, pictures and music. And previews aren’t something that should be taken for granted – some cloud storage providers (e.g. Sync) omit it entirely.
However, on this front, we really have to sing the praises of Zoolz. Their mobile app backs up all types of data, and their entire interface is extremely easy on the eyes. Plus, their combo of AI tech and filters to organise your content is superior to most cloud storage providers we’ve seen.
But most of all, their no-buffering of 4K or HD video streaming is pretty amazing. You’re able to stream any of your content from the cloud – anytime, anywhere. That’s no small feat.
Verdict: What Do We Think About Zoolz BigMIND Home?
So, what are our final thoughts?
Well, the world of cloud storage is definitely a competitive one. Some compete through security, some through speed. And others, like BigMIND Home, excel in the user experience.
At the end of the day, BigMIND Home’s value for money will largely depend on what you use it for.
Perhaps it’s not equipped with the storage capacity and real-time speeds that businesses need. But we have to say, as a personal solution for a standard cloud user, BigMIND Home is a pretty dang awesome option.
If you’re dealing heavily with a lot of images, audio files and videos and could do with some help from an organisational mastermind, BigMIND Home could be perfect for you.