Acronis True Image 2017 review: Backup gets easier and faster

 Backups made easy

It almost seems as if entire portions of our work and personal lives reside on our smartphones, laptops and social media accounts in the form of documents, pictures, videos, and other data which is probably how remarkably convenient, and easy to access, everything is. However,  that also means that we’re more susceptible to having our lives disrupted when our devices fail, or simply when accidents happen.

The latest version of Acronis True Image 2017 comes equipped with a handful of new features expressly focused on the needs of the modern user  which means things like Facebook account backups and the ability to backup contacts, photos, and other data on your phone directly to your PC. Previously,

The new social media account backup feature is a nice touch. It allows you to back up things like posts on your timeline, liked pages, and most importantly, photos and videos. If you don’t want to back up your profile data, you can keep things leaner by just opting to back up your media library. More business-focused users may find the feature slightly superfluous, but given the number of people that use Facebook as their primary photo library, it’s probably quite a welcome feature.

Only Facebook is supported now, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Acronis eventually adds support for other popular platforms.

account backups

However, one thing to note is that the Facebook back up, and the option to back up to the cloud, is only available if you have a cloud subscription.

Fortunately, all these new features don’t mean additional clutter. Quite the reverse in fact, and True Image 2017 boasts a streamlined interface that requires almost no time to learn your way around. It retains the tabbed sidebar – including Dashboard, Tools, and Archive – from the previous version, but the individual menus have been tweaked to be more visual and intuitive.

For instance, clicking the dashboard icon displays just three simple icons for online dashboard, social network, and mobile device backup. The online dashboard lets you manage backups of all your devices and accounts, and you can even select individual files to recover. We particularly like the search feature that lets you locate the file you need quickly. There’s just one drawback – your search term will have to match a portion of the file name exactly, so things like underscores and dashes could get in the way of locating the right file.

There’s also a Tools tab, which offers options like disk cloning, rescue media builder, and various other tools to help you recover from hardware failures or data loss. Just as with the dashboard tab, hovering over each icon will load a helpful description of what it does, in case you’re unsure.

Acronis has made it easy to get started in True Image 2017. After installing and firing up the software, you’re immediately greeted by a screen that prompts you to back up your local PC. You can choose to back up the entire PC, or just certain folders and partitions. Similarly, you can back up your data to the Acronis Cloud, an external drive, or some other network location.

Furthermore, anyone who has lost a hard drive full of important data will be happy to know that the same options are available to external drives as well.

The icons on the sidebar could do with clearer labeling.

The icons on the sidebar could do with clearer labeling.

The menus are now more visual and intuitive than before.

The menus are now more visual and intuitive than before.

But all these features would be of little use if the software was bogged down by slow speeds. Thankfully, that’s not the case here, and Acronis has actually placed a strong emphasis on providing a speedy experience with this release. While last year’s version boosted backup speeds with support for parallel data streams, Acronis says 2017’s version ups the ante with a further 25 per cent performance increase.

We didn’t exactly parse the numbers, but it took about two hours to back up 65GB of data to Acronis Cloud. At default settings – that is, with the operation priority set to low to minimize the network impact on other applications – we averaged speeds of around 90Mbps. And because you can close the program and let it run in the background while you work, you won’t even notice the time go by.

For a new single computer license, Acronis offers a one-time purchase option priced at S$69.99, but this option doesn’t come with cloud storage. Another option is to go the subscription route: A 1-year subscription costs S$59.99, while a 2-year subscription is going for S$79.99. The benefits of a subscription include free upgrades to new versions, addition phone support (on top of email and chat support), and cloud backups. Upgrade options and 3 or 5 PC license options are also available.