This is my first review for ReviewMe, first discussed around here a few weeks ago. The subject of the review pays me to review their product or service, though I’m under no obligation to provide a positive review. You can judge for yourself if this compromises me–it’s a question I’m eager to explore.
One other note: I’m using the rel=”nofollow” tag for ReviewMe companies, so that they’re not buying my link juice along with their review.
Backup Platinum is one of the many players in the world of backup software. Though the site claims that it’s a powerful solution for your business’, I’m guessing (based on their pricing, marketing material and feature set) their primary market is consumers.
I downloaded a 30-day trial version of their software from their site, and ran the bog-standard installation process. When you start the application for the first time, it pops up a step-by-step wizard to set up your first backup.
Being a former technical writer and occasional interface designer, I’m sensitive to interface language. The wizard is pretty shoddy in this regard. For example, the first pane of the wizard reads in part:
Backup Platinum works with data organized in items. To backup or restore your data, you need to create an item defining which files to operate with, where to transfer them, and when to update the content.
Not exactly crystal clear, eh? The online help is also lousy. It suffers the sadly common fate of probably being written by the developers. Like so much of software documentation, it explains what the product does as opposed to how it should be used. It also fails to use any numbered steps, which are a pretty important part of procedures.
In the next step of the wizard, you identify which folders or files you want to add to your new backup task. They use a non-standard interface (clicking the ‘add’ button drops down another menu) to enable this process and, unfortunately, don’t provide a drag-and-drop option.
Later in the wizard you can specify where you want to backup–LAN, another hard drive, CD/DVD or FTP. One feature I did dig is that you can specify if and how your backed up files are compressed. Then there’s the scheduling component, which is pretty standard to Windows. This came up in a conversation last night about calendaring, so I mention it in passing–you can’t schedule, say, ‘the second Tuesday of every month’. Not a big deal, certainly, but you never know how the user might want to work. I did like that you could schedule the backups to take place when you log on or off from your system.
The main window of the application makes good sense, with a FTP-type multi-pane view showing tasks, folders and a log. I created a non-scheduled task and wanted to run it immediately. I searched around for the standard ‘play’ button, in part because my task was currently assigned a ‘pause’ icon. I couldn’t find one, and eventually spotted the Backup command referenced by an ‘eject’ icon. That didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.
I’m focusing on the program’s interface because, let’s be honest, backup tools aren’t exactly complicated. They move files around when and where you want. In this respect, Backup Platinum performed admirably.
I’ve been using the free version of SyncBack (as per Lifehacker) for about a year now, and have been happy enough with it. On balance, Backup Platinum has a simpler, easier-to-use interface, but that’s not enough to make me switch.
In short, I don’t think Backup Platinum is worth US $67 when SyncBack (and other products, I’m sure) is available for free. If the former were even simpler to use, with a more graceful interface and better documentation, I’d recommend it for novice computer users.