BigMIND Home (by Zoolz) Review

BigMIND Home, a product from the same team behind Zoolz Backup, is a solid backup service that offers a good experience. The downsides are that it can be a bit slow sometimes as its backend is provided by Glacier and that it is rather pricey. Read our full review for the details.

By Aleksander HougenEditor
— Last Updated:
2020-08-05T09:26:48+00:00
(Editor)
Starts from $ 299 per month for 100 GB
Free plan available (All Plans)
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BigMIND Home is an online backup service offered by Zoolz that provides a pleasant user experience, good speeds and some interesting features that you don’t often see in this kind of service. Unfortunately, it’s on the expensive side of things and lacks private encryption. Keep reading our BigMIND Home review to learn everything you need to know about the service.

Besides offering you a great deal of control over the backup process, BigMIND Home boasts an easy-to-use interface and excellent customer support. It also has some novel features, including photo facial recognition powered by artificial intelligence and the ability to link services, such as Facebook and Google Drive.

Unfortunately this all comes at a hefty price, as BigMIND’s plans are all quite expensive, considering what you get. Furthermore, the lack of private encryption severely impacts security and privacy. If these are top concerns, then make sure to check out our list of the best online backup services to help in the search for alternatives.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Good photo management
  • Links to third-party services
  • Stream video directly from storage
  • Mobile backup

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No private encryption
  • Limited devices
  • Limited storage space
  • Inflexible mobile backup
  • No image-based backup
  • No courier recovery service

Alternatives for BigMIND Home (by Zoolz)

  1. 1
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    1-1000 GB
    $ 299
  2. 2
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Only on Ultimate Plan Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    5 TB - Unlimited GB
    $ 4999
  3. 3
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    5 GB - 12.5 TB
    $ 579
  4. 4
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    Unlimited GB
    $ 458
    Save 24 %
  5. 5
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Versioning
    • Private Encryption
    $ 139

Features

80 % – Good

BigMIND Home packs a decent number of features, even if some of the things we’d like to see are missing. Besides standard backup features, BigMIND Home also includes some less common functionality, including powerful photo management tools powered by AI, as well as integrations with cloud storage and other third-party services.

In terms of the backup features themselves, BigMIND Home supports both hybrid and mobile backups. On iOS, this means your photos, videos, calendars and contacts, while the Android app can also backup call logs, text messages and miscellaneous files.

Unfortunately, there’s no image-based backup (something you get with IDrive, for example) which means there’s no way to clone your entire system. Furthermore, there’s no server backup or courier recovery service, as these are restricted to BigMIND Business.

BigMIND Streaming Videos

One great feature we’d like to see included in more backup services is the ability to stream your videos directly from storage. Unfortunately, you can only do so in standard definition unless you opt for the most expensive subscription, which gives you access to high definition streaming as well.

BigMind-Video-Streaming

As we mentioned earlier, Zoolz BigMIND Home features impressive integration with other services. You can link your cloud storage accounts, like Dropbox or Google Drive, to create an extra level of redundancy for your files stored there. You can also link social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram, to backup everything you’ve saved or posted on those platforms.

BigMind-Linked-Services

The AI-powered photo management tools we mentioned at the start of this section is an interesting inclusion. If it worked, this would be a great way of organizing your photos because you’d be able to search through pictures based on people or objects. 

We attempted to upload several photos of people, and unfortunately BigMIND failed to identify most of the faces.

BigMind-Faces

The “objects” feature seems to work a bit better, and you can select from a list of categories to search for things such as “text” or “electronics,” which will prompt BigMIND to show you the photos containing one of these objects.

BigMind-Objects

When it comes to versioning — meaning the retention of changed and deleted files — BigMIND Home does alright. Deleted files are kept forever, but only the last 10 versions of a changed file will be kept on record. This is probably enough for most people, but it doesn’t quite hold up to the unlimited versioning of services like SpiderOak ONE.

BigMind-Trash

However, for business users BigMIND ditches this limitation and lets you set up unlimited versioning. It also provides a few other additional features, including cold storage, server backup and the ability to search your backed up files.

You also get advanced reporting functionality, which gives you a clear overview of any action taken by any of the users tied to your license. Finally, instead of having to manually create each user, business accounts have the ability to bulk create them via a CSV file, which is a godsend for businesses if they need to setup a large number of users at the same time.

BigMIND Home Features Overview

  • Backup

    • Backup Scheduler
    • Continuous Backup
    • Incremental Backup
    • Image-Based Backup
    • External Drive Backup
    • NAS Backup
    • Server Backup
    • Hybrid Backup
    • Mobile Device Backup
    • Unlimited Backup
    • Unlimited Devices
    • Speed Throttling
    • Block-Level File Copying
    • Multithreaded Backup
  • Restore

    • Courier Recovery Service
    • Browser Access
    • Mobile App Access
    • Versioning
    • Deleted File Retention
  • Security

    • Private Encryption
    • At-Rest Encryption
    • SSL In-Transit Encryption
    • AES 256-bit Encryption Protocol
    • Two-Factor Authentication
    • Hardened Data Centers
    • Proxy Server Settings
    • HIPPA Compliant
  • Support

    • 24/7 Support
    • Live Chat Support
    • Telephone Support
    • Email Support
    • User Forum
    • Knowledgebase
  • Misc

    • File Sharing
    • Device Sync
    • Free Trial

Pricing

50 % – Poor

Zoolz BigMIND Home’s pricing model is quite involved, with the various plans offering different features, support levels and number of devices. When it comes to how much storage space you get for your money, BigMIND Home definitely isn’t ideal, so if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck purely in terms of space, then you might want to search elsewhere.

First up is the free plan, which offers 1GB of storage for one user spread across three computers, two mobile devices and one external drive. Although we appreciate the free plan, 1GB isn’t going to be enough for even the most basic of backup plans, and you don’t get any customer support.

Next is the Personal plan, which for $35.88 per year offers 100GB of storage for one user on up to three computers, three mobile devices and unlimited external drives

The Family plan, meanwhile, will cost you $83.88 per year and includes 500GB of space for three separate users, nine computers, six mobile devices and unlimited external drives. Both of these plans receive what BigMIND calls “standard support.”

Finally, the Family Plus plan gets you 1TB of storage for five users, 15 computers and unlimited mobile devices and external drives for $12.99 per month or $155.88 per year. You also get access to high-definition streaming of video files from your storage (as opposed to the other plans that only offer standard-definition streaming) and premium support.

Free
  • Users: 1 Computers: 3 Mobile Devices: 3 External Drives: 1
  • 1 GB Storage
Personal
  • Users: 1 Computers: 3 Mobile Devices: 3 External Drives: unlimited
  • 100 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 2.99/ month
$35.88 billed every year
Family
  • Users: 3 Computers: 9 Mobile Devices: 6 External Drives: unlimited
  • 500 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 6.99/ month
$83.88 billed every year
Family Plus
  • Users: 5 Computers: 15 Mobile Devices: Unlimited External Drives: unlimited
  • 1000 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 12.99/ month
$155.88 billed every year
BigMIND Business Starter
  • 10 users/1 server
  • 100 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 12.50/ month
$150.00 billed every year
Save 17 %
BigMIND Business Standard
  • 100 users/10 servers
  • 250 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 23.33/ month
$280.00 billed every year
BigMIND Business Premium
  • 500 users/50 servers
  • 250 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 31.25/ month
$375.00 billed every year
Save 17 %
BigMIND Business Smart Archive
  • 500 users/50 servers Cold storage
  • 1000 GB Storage
1-year plan $ 33.33/ month
$400.00 billed every year
Save 17 %

It’s worth bearing in mind that both the Personal and Family plans require you to pay for an entire year, whereas the Family Plus plan can be billed monthly. There’s no trial available, which is a shame because the 1GB offered by the free plan might not be enough to adequately test out the service.

All in all this adds up to a pretty expensive service that doesn’t offer you a whole lot of space, compared to how much you’re paying. 

If you require a lot of storage, you’d be better off with one of the best unlimited online backup services, such as Backblaze, which offers all the space you could ever need for a lower price tag than all of BigMIND’s plans except the Personal one, which only offers a paltry 100GB of cloud storage.

BigMIND Business Pricing

BigMIND also offers four different business plans. These are called Starter, Standard, Premium and Smart Archive. Starter is the cheapest and includes 100GB of storage for 10 users and one server at a cost of $15 per month. Next up is the Standard plan which ups your quota to 250GB for 100 users and 10 servers, as well as an unlimited number of network and external drives.

This plan will cost you $20 per month but you can add extra storage for $8 per month per 100GB. You can also add SQL and mobile backups for $10 and $1 per month respectively for each device. These extras can also be added to the Premium plan, which costs $37.5 per month and increases your limits to 500 users and 50 servers.

Finally, the Smart Archive plan changes things up a bit by offering 1TB of cold storage for 50 servers and 500 users, which can be increased for $40 for each extra TB. This plan will run you $40 per month but you can’t add any mobile devices or SQL backups to it.

A discount is offered for all plans if you sign up for one or more years up-front. By signing up for 12 months you get 17 percent off, 20 percent for two years and 25 percent for three.

Ease of Use

100 % – Excellent

BigMIND Home features a very well-designed user interface that is easy to understand and use, like its cousin Zoolz Home. Although the mobile app leaves a bit to be desired, both the desktop client and web dashboard are excellent and easy to grasp.

BigMind-Intro-Setup

Once you download the desktop client, you’re immediately asked to select files for backup. You can do this through the “smart selection,” which is split into a bunch of categories: mail, music, desktop, videos, documents, bookmarks, Microsoft Office, financial files, pictures and eBooks and PDFs.

BigMind-Intro-Smart-Selection

For most of these categories, BigMIND Home simply scans your desktop and documents folder for certain file types. For some categories, though — including mail and Microsoft Office — it scans your entire device for these types of files.

BigMind-Intro-My-Computer

If you’d rather search your device and manually select folders, you can switch over to the “my computer” tab, where you’ll see the standard tree structure of your drive, letting you select exactly what files and folders you want to protect. Once you’ve chosen your files, you’re asked to set your schedule and other backup settings.

BigMind-Intro-Backup-Settings

The main panel of the desktop client tells you most of what you need to know. Your protection level is shown on top, which tells you whether any of your files need another backup run.

BigMind-Not-Protected

A bit further down you’ll see information about your next scheduled backup, your most recent upload and how many of your files are stored on BigMIND’s servers. Along the bottom of the window are three buttons: “data selection,” “settings” and “restore.” The first of these simply brings up the same dialogue for selecting files that you got when you first installed the client.

BigMind-Main-Panel

The “restore” button takes you to a pretty standard restore menu that presents a dropdown list of your devices and a main panel showing everything backed up from the selected device.

BigMind-Restore-Main-Menu

Finally, the “settings” menu is where most of the meat of the client is located. This is separated into seven categories: schedule, resource optimization, connection, hybrid+, advanced settings, mobile apps and preferences.

Backup Scheduling

Stating the obvious, in the “schedule” menu you can set up your backup schedule. You can choose between an hourly or daily schedule, but unfortunately there’s no option for a purely manual backup plan. Although a manual plan would be nice, at least BigMIND Home gives you plenty of options for your schedule, when compared to services like Backblaze.

BigMind-Settings-Schedule

The “resource optimization” menu lets you enable multithreading as well as set BigMIND Home to automatically pause uploads if you’re giving a presentation, watching a movie, playing a videogame or if your computer’s battery level is low.

BigMind-Settings-Resource

You can also enable throttling, either in general or at certain times of the day. If you have limited data on your connection or use an older computer with low processing power, these features are very useful because it saves you from having to manually pause or exit the application when you need resources for other tasks.

BigMind-Settings-Connection

The “connection” menu contains a link to your device’s proxy settings, as well as controls for whether or not you want uploads to run on certain types of networks. You can enable or disable backups over LAN, WiFi and mobile data, which is a nice thing to have if you’re concerned with data caps on your connection.

BigMind-Settings-Hybrid+

The “hybrid+” section is where you can enable hybrid backups. This means that whenever you backup to cloud, BigMIND Home will also save a copy of your files to a local destination, for example an external drive.

BigMind-Settings-Advanced-Settings

In the “advanced settings” menu, you can decide which file types BigMIND Home will utilize its VSS protocol and block-level algorithm. “VSS” is short for “volume shadow copy” service, which allows BigMIND to backup files while they are being used. You have to set this up manually because no file types are included in this field by default.

Updating Files

Meanwhile, a block-level algorithm essentially means that instead of re-uploading an entire file when a change occurs, BigMIND scans the file for changes and uploads only the parts (or “blocks”) that have changed. By default this applies to PST files (meaning Microsoft Outlook data files), but you can manually add other file types as well.

BigMind-Settings-Mobile-Apps

The “mobile apps” section of the settings is not very interesting, as all it does is give you a link to the download page for BigMIND’s iOS and Android applications.

BigMind-Preferences-Auto-Exclude

The final settings category — “preferences” — opens up a separate window with two tabs. In the first tab, you can turn on backup for hidden files and modify the exclusion list to ignore certain folders, regardless of whether or not they’re included in your data selection.

BigMind-Preferences-General

In the second tab — labelled “general” — you can enable advanced logging and change the cache drive, which is where BigMIND Home stores the files that are pending before they’re uploaded to the cloud.

BigMIND Web Client and Mobile Apps

Besides the desktop client, Zoolz BigMIND Home also offers an excellent browser-based dashboard that gives you a lot of control over your backed up data. 

The web client is divided into four areas, the first of which is the dashboard. Here you can see a lot of useful information about your account, including what devices are protected, your account information and graphs detailing what kinds of files you have stored and your upload traffic.

BigMind-Web-Dashboard

Next up is the “discover” tab, where you can browse through your devices and the files uploaded from them, as well as any external accounts you’ve linked to BigMIND Home, such as Dropbox or Instagram. This is also where you’ll find the AI-powered facial recognition feature mentioned earlier.

BigMind-Web-Discover

The third entry in the web client’s menu is for managing users. Unlike a lot of backup solutions, BigMIND Home lets you set up individual users that can’t access each others data, which is an excellent solution for families, in particular.

BigMind-Web-Users

Finally, the “reports” section lets you generate all sorts of reports about your usage, including bandwidth usage, billing history and device information.

BigMind-Web-Reports

Unfortunately, the mobile app is not quite as impressive as the desktop and web clients. Although you can use it to backup your mobile devices, it’s quite inflexible in terms of file selection.

BigMind-Settings-Mobile-Apps

Instead of letting you select individual files, you have to upload an entire category (such as photos or contacts), which is incredibly inconvenient, especially if you have a lot of photos or videos and don’t have the space (or need) to backup all of them.

BigMind-Mobile-Data-Selection

That said, you can use the mobile app to manage your backed up data, change account settings, make use of the AI photo features and stream video files saved to your cloud storage.

File Backup & Restoration

85 % – Very Good

Although certain backup features — such as disk-imaging and server backups — are missing from Zoolz BigMIND Home, it still performs well in this category. You’re given a great deal of control over the backup process, and BigMIND tells you exactly what’s happening while a download or upload is in progress.

Although you pick the files you want to backup manually, you can still set up filters to limit a file based on its location, size, file type or age. While the location filters aren’t too useful in a manual setup, the other ones are great to have because you can avoid accidentally uploading some huge files or something you haven’t worked with in years.

BigMind-File-Filters

When setting up your backup schedule, you can set BigMIND Home to perform a new upload on an interval (from every five minutes to every 24 hours) and also decide how often the program should perform a full scan of all your selected files. If backing up every day seems like overkill, you can also choose a specific day of the week to run your backups.

BigMind-Backup-In-Progress

While a backup is in progress, you’re given plenty of information about how it’s doing. The client tells you what files are currently being uploaded, as well as how much data (and how many files) has already been backed up.

BigMind-Pending-Files

For your uploads, you can switch between “turbo” and “smart” mode. “Turbo” mode gives the BigMIND Home client maximum priority for your network connection and processor, whereas “smart” mode looks at what else is being done on the computer and adjusts its resource consumption accordingly.

If you want even more control over the upload, you can enable multithreading and throttling in the settings, and also set BigMIND Home to upload files using a block-level algorithm. Although most cloud backup services do this by default, BigMIND requires you to enable it for individual file types, which is a bit of a pain.

Restoring a file is straightforward, as all you have to do is click the “restore” button in the main panel of the client. When you do, a new window will open, where you can select your device from a dropdown list. From here you can select an individual file or folder, or choose to restore everything backed up from the device.

BigMind-Restore-Options

Once you’ve chosen what you want to restore, the next page gives you a bunch of options. First, you can choose the location you want to download to, which you can pick manually, or have BigMIND Home restore the files to their original location.

BigMind-Restore-In-Progress

Speed

88 % – Very Good

Speed is a crucial element of a good cloud backup service, especially for your initial backup, which can often take a very long time, maybe even several days, depending on how much data you’re backing up. BigMIND does quite well in this category, especially in terms of download speed, although we would’ve liked to see a slightly faster upload.

To test BigMIND’s upload and download speed, we backed up and restored a 3.51GB folder filled with various file types. After doing this twice, we averaged the results. We used a connection with a download speed of 20Mbps and an upload speed of 10Mbps. Theoretically, this means that the upload should take about an hour and the download roughly 30 minutes.

That said, connections are rarely completely stable, and speeds will vary depending on network load and the amount of traffic going to BigMIND’s servers. Realistically, we’d like to see the upload finished in about three hours and the download in an hour and a half.

 First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
Upload time04:23:0003:40:0004:01:30
Download time00:41:0001:03:0000:52:00

As you can see, these results aren’t bad at all. The download speed in particular is excellent, but the upload could’ve been a bit quicker. We enabled multithreading for all of our tests, and enabled BigMIND’s “turbo” mode for the uploads, which gives the client maximum priority.

It’s worth noting that we performed our test from Asia, connecting to a data center in the eastern U.S., so if you’re located closer to one of BigMIND’s (or Amazon’s, as BigMIND utilizes AWS) data centers, your results should be better.

Security

75 % – Good

Whenever you store a file on the cloud, it’s important to be confident that it is secure from outside access or accidental loss. Zoolz BigMIND’s security is decent, featuring great — though not entirely private — encryption and solid data center security.

All your backed up data is protected using AES 256-bit encryption, both at-rest and in-transit. This is pretty much the best encryption you can ask for with your backup, as it would take years to crack with brute force, as we explain in our description of encryption

When your data is on its way to the servers, Zoolz BigMIND uses SSL to make sure it’s safe from man-in-the-middle attacks.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to create your own private key, which means that Zoolz has the power to decrypt any file or folder that it wishes. This is a big concern not just for security, but privacy as well, which we’ll touch on in the next section.

For its data centers, Zoolz BigMIND — like many other corporations — rents server space in Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) data centers.

Not only does this mean excellent physical security, but it also allows BigMIND to spread your data out among several data centers — similar to a RAID setup — to protect against accidental loss, such as in the event of a natural disaster or fire.

BigMind-Two-Factor-Authentication

Finally, BigMIND also lets you set up two-factor authentication. This means that you need to enter a one-time code delivered to you via text message in order to log in to the service, which provides an extra layer of security against hackers or other cybercriminals.

Privacy

65 % – Decent

As with security, BigMIND’s privacy is decent, but it has some serious flaws. The location of its data centers presents a bit of a risk in this regard, but this is a common issue for cloud backup services in general. More serious is the lack of private encryption, which gives Zoolz BigMIND the power to decrypt any file it wants.

Zoolz — the company behind BigMIND — is compliant with both HIPAA and GDPR, as well as a host of other privacy regulations. Although the company is headquartered in London, most of the data centers it uses to store your data are located in the U.S., by virtue of renting server space from AWS.

BigMind-Compliance

This is problematic because the U.S. has some of the worst online privacy laws out there, with notable and infamous examples including the Patriot Act and covert programs like PRISM.

This problem is made worse by the fact that there’s no way to set up your own private key. Regardless of Zoolz’ intentions, if the NSA were to strong-arm it into compliance, it would be able to see the contents of any file you have stored on the BigMIND servers, and you probably wouldn’t even find out that it happened.

BigMind-Privacy-Policy

Furthermore, BigMIND does store a bit of metadata on both you and your files, including your name, address, email and certain file metadata, such as file sizes, used storage capacity and file names. 

This isn’t uncommon, but it does leave the door open to this information being requested by the authorities. Other than that, though, Zoolz claims to never sell your information to anyone, and that it will only share the information internally or with trusted partners that help it provide its service.

Customer Service

90 % – Excellent

Despite not offering phone support, Zoolz provides excellent customer service for its users, including an email form, online chat and an extensive help center in the form of a wiki page.

If you have a problem with Zoolz BigMIND, you can start out by doing a search on the wiki page, which includes the most common problems and instructions on how to fix them. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, you’ll have to send an email request or contact the chat support.

BigMind-Zoolz-Wiki

When submitting an email request, you’re asked to provide quite a bit of information, including what Zoolz BigMIND product you’re using and what subscription you have. The latter is especially important if you’re a Family Plus member, as those users with this subscription plan receive priority support, meaning they’re bumped to the front of the queue.

BigMind-Email-Form

To test the responsiveness of Zoolz’ email support, we sent a request and received the initial response in just over 24 hours. This was without “premium support,” so if you opt for the Family Plus subscription, you can expect an even faster response time.

Although email support can help you with any issue, the chat is a bit more limited. Its primary purpose is for sales, but it can also assist with minor technical issues. Furthermore, the only way to use the chat for support purposes is to schedule an appointment, which is a bit of a hassle.

The Verdict

With that, we’ve reached the end of our review of Zoolz BigMIND Home. Although it’s an easy-to-use service packed with interesting functionality, it falls short in both security and privacy, mostly due to the lack of private encryption.

The high price per year is another concern, especially considering the limited cloud storage you get with your account. If getting the most bang for your buck is important to you, you’ll probably want to consider other services with a lower price tag per year or a higher storage allowance.

What did you think of our review of Zoolz BigMIND Home? Do you agree that the lack of private encryption and relatively high price per year is an issue, or do you think that these problems are an acceptable tradeoff for the novel and interesting features included in the product? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

BigMIND Home FAQ

  • What Is BigMIND?

    BigMIND is the name of two cloud backup solutions offered by Zoolz -- BigMIND Home and BigMIND Business -- intended for personal and professional use, respectively.

  • What Is Zoolz?

    Zoolz is a data storage company that offers a variety of different cloud storage solutions like backup and sync services.

  • What Is Zoolz Cold Storage?

    Cold storage allows you to store huge amounts of data indefinitely, though with some limitations placed on your access to said data. This is opposed to “hot storage,” where you can access your files instantly on demand but usually at a higher price per byte.

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2 thoughts on “BigMIND Home (by Zoolz)”

  1. Have tried to cancel subscription numerous times and still being charged. Impossible to cancel service. Scamming assholes!

    Reply
  2. They have canceled a lifetime backup and will not provide a refund nor services but want you to pay for the same service I have already bought. SCAMMERS!

    Reply
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