Dashlane (for Android)
Passwords are terrible and people are terrible at passwords. This unhappy relationship has led to a serious security situation, but there is help in the form of password managers like Dashlane for the PC. Sometimes you want to take your passwords with you, however, and that’s why Dashlane has an excellent Android appthat will let you manage just about every aspect of your passwords’ life, and death, from your phone.
Life in the Dashlane
Dashlane is available as a free download from Google Play, and you can continue using it for free for as long as you want. However, if you want to sync your passwords among devices, you’ll have to shell out for a paid account, which runs $39.99 a year. That’s more than three times as much as a LastPass Premium account. It’s also worth noting that LastPass lets you sync your passwords among any number of devices of one type (tablets, phones, desktops) for free. Dashlane also has desktop clients for Windows and Mac. There’s also Dashlane for iPhone if you’re of the Apple persuasion.
I had no trouble installing Dashlane on my Nexus 5, and it even plays nice with the new Marshmallow Android operating system, especially after a recent update. Because this is a review of the Android app, I won’t touch on some of the other features available in Dashlane. For those, see our review of the Dashlane desktop experience.
When you start with Dashlane, your password archive is empty. But Dashlane soon sets you to work. The app prompts you to enter passwords for all the apps you already have installed on your Android device. That’s really smart. Dashlane also has ready-made entries for popular websites and services such as Twitter and Google, which you can quickly fill in with your information. When you’re done, Dashlane prompts you to link the app with the desktop version, to quickly import your existing passwords. That’s a great feature.
I’m impressed with Dashlane’s appearance, which uses bold blocks of color and material design buttons. It looks very clean, and feels very Android in the best possible ways.
The main dashboard of Dashlane gives you quick access to your passwords and all of your notes, IDs, credit cards, and other entries. I like this approach more than that of our Android password manager Editors’ Choice LastPass, which makes you dig through menus to get at anything other than passwords.
Dashlane keeps your passwords close at hand, but sometimes you need to create a new one on the go. For that, Dashlane includes a handy password generator. This powerful tool includes options for the length of your password, and whether or not the password should include numbers, letters, symbols, or be pronounceable. Unfortunately, you can only copy the generated password; the LastPass Android app lets you save newly generated passwords as new entries or as updates to existing entries.
One thing I really like about Dashlane’s password entries is that the app automatically rates your password quality and whether or not it’s duplicated. That makes finding weak, recycled passwords a snap.
Most of us probably use apps more than Web browsers on our phones, and Dashlane has you covered here, as well. Whenever a password field appears in an app, a large Dashlane button descends from the top of the screen. Tap it, select the entry, and Dashlane fills in your credentials. It’s great, but it doesn’t include a search feature. If your credentials are mislabeled or Dashlane can’t identify the app, you’re out of luck. LastPass for Android does include a search feature.
In addition to passwords, Dashlane keeps other important information close at hand in secure notes. The app also supports autofill profiles for IDs, Social Security number, and other information that you often need, but also need to safeguard. Dashlane also has a Payments section for storing your credit and debit card information. Notably, you can chose a color for the entry, and have Dashlane display your bank’s logo.
Dashlane includes a built-in browser that really shows off its powers. Here, you can access both your autofill profiles and login credentials wherever you see the tiny blue impala icons. Any field with a grey impala is one that Dashlane doesn’t have information for. If you enter something, like when you create a new profile on a website, Dashlane offers to save it in a new record for you. The built-in browser makes using Dashlane almost as easy as the desktop version. It’s excellent.
Unfortunately, Dashlane does not work with Chrome for either passwords or webforms. A representative for the company tells me this is because Google does not allow mobile Chrome plugins and that the company didn’t wish to compromise security by working around the restriction. LastPass’s Android offering was a little more proactive: It can fill in passwords, but not form fills, in Chrome.
One of my favorite LastPass features on Android is called Copy Notifications, which puts tappable entries into your notification tray. When you tap the password or username notification, it copies the appropriate information for pasting in any app. It’s very handy, and works universally throughout Android. Dashlane does not have an equivalent feature.
Sadly missing from Dashlane for Android is the password changer tool, which is available in the iPhone version of the app. Tap it, and it automatically changes the password at supported sites. Those are, unfortunately, few and far between and don’t include critical sites like Twitter and Facebook, but it is full of potential.
Sharing passwords is, generally, a really bad idea. But if you have a shared bank account with your spouse, you may have to share a login. For situations like these, Dashlane has a simple sharing feature. From your phone, you can share passwords with other individuals, and see who is sharing passwords with you. I really like that Dashlane lets you manage this feature from the app, but I wish Dashlane let you share the login without revealing the password the way LastPass does. When you share logins with Dashlane, the recipient can see and even change the entry. You can select to share a password through Dashlane with Limited Rights, but this only prevents the recipient from sharing it with someone else.
Dashlane understands that when you die, your passwords aren’t going to do you much good. So it includes a tool to bequeath all or some of your passwords in the event of your death or incapacitation. Select the passwords you wish to share, nominate a trusted individual to receive your passwords, and indicate a waiting period. When your trusted person requests access, you have that many days to respond before Dashlane releases the information. It’s a clever fail-safe system.
A Strong Showing
Dashlane covers all the bases as a password manager. With it, you can create and replay passwords and personal information into any field with the built-in browser, and into any app with its ever-present impala button. Dashlane goes further than most password managers by including a mechanism to bequeath your passwords, and the developers deserve praise for producing a security app that looks great and is a joy to use.
Dashlane is excellent on Android, but it does charge a premium for its experience, and requires a premium account to sync passwords with other devices. It also lacks an easy mechanism to turn generated passwords into new entries. LastPass remains our Editors’ Choice for Android password managers.