Dashlane Review

June 12, 2018

9:07 am

Rating

86%

Rating Description:

  • Ease of Set Up: 5 stars
  • Features: 5 stars
  • Performance: 5 stars
  • Help and Support: 4 stars
  • Value for Money: 4 stars

Pros

  • Dashlane can automatically change multiple passwords at once
  • Easy-to-understand security assessment of your password quality
  • Auto-saves online receipts

Cons

  • The free tier doesn’t back up your database to the cloud
  • Doesn’t support attachments
  • Pricier than competitors such as LastPass

An outstanding password manager

Dashlane is one of the best choices you can make for a password manager. In the past, it’s felt like something of a runner-up to the likes of LastPass, but multiple updates have seen Dashlane establish itself as one of the best password managers around. It has lots of features, a simple setup, and a largely effortless process for logging into your accounts securely.

In a world where you’re likely to have dozens of online accounts, and each should have a unique login, a password manager can be a lifesaver. If you’re looking for a great password manager that’s easy to use, then Dashlane keeps things secure and simple.

What Is Dashlane?

Dashlane is a great way to securely store your passwords, instead of keeping them all in your head. It’s also a good tool for creating new, strong passwords, and analyzing your current database of passwords for any that are too weak.

Dashlane is very well designed, and is a robust, straightforward password manager. But, for all that greatness, you’re going to have to pay more than you would with other options such as 1Password and LastPass – the free version of Dashlane is a touch limited.

Getting Started with Dashlane

It’s straightforward to get up and running with Dashlane – one of the reasons we rate this tool so highly.

Dashlane can give you a security scoreMaster Password Setup

Dashlane locks all your passwords behind a single master password. You only have to remember this to get at all the others.

It’s important to make sure you pick a strong master password to protect all your other accounts. Choose something that is strong, easy to remember, but hard to guess for malicious hackers.

Personal Details

Once the basic installation process is done, Dashlane asks you to add your personal information including your name, date of birth, and phone number. Dashlane uses this data to fill out the various online sign-up forms you come across. There doesn’t appear to be an option to skip this part of the process.

Auto Login

Dashlane is will log you into all your online accounts through an automated detection feature. The program walks you through this feature upon setup.

In practice, when you land on a sign-in form, instead of entering your details, click the Dashlane icon. Select the correct login account you want to use – it will show options if you have several accounts for one site – then, Dashlane takes care of the rest.

Dashlane: The Good

Some genuinely user-friendly features help distinguish Dashlane from its competitors.

Password strength analysis

Once you’re set up, one of the first things you should do is fire up the desktop application, and select Security Dashboard from the left-hand side.

Here, you’ll get a quick assessment of all the passwords in your Dashlane database. At the top is an overall assessment with highlights of any problems on popular sites.

If you have weak passwords, it will tell you so, and offer to change them for you. If you have duplicate passwords, they will also be noted, with the option to change them.

Below that main dashboard is a “detailed password analysis” section that shows all your weak and reused passwords. From here, you can go through them one by one and change the ones you want. You can also use Dashlane’s auto-change feature to automatically change passwords for supported sites; however, in this case Dashlane only auto-changes one password at a time.

Dashlane lets you store passwords for multiple online accountsAuto-change multiple passwords at once

If you want to change multiple supported sites at once, there’s a way to do that in another section of Dashlane.

Click on Passwords on the left, and, in the main portion of the window, you’ll see Password Changer at the top. Click that and a new window appears with all the various sites in your database that Dashlane’s auto-changing password feature supports.

You’ll see how strong your various passwords are using color codes and percentages, as well as any that have been recently changed.

To change multiple passwords at once, select their checkboxes or hit the top checkbox to change them all. If you have two-factor authentication active, Dashlane will even let you manage the secondary-code entry directly through Dashlane itself.

Secure notes

Similar to other password managers, Dashlane has a secure notes feature for entering generic information you want to keep secure. There are also preset templates for items such as software licenses, Wi-Fi passwords, or membership details.

Automatically Store Receipts

Interestingly, Dashlane has another section entirely for receipts. Instead of keeping them in the catch-all Secure Notes section, receipts are kept under Wallet > Receipts.

Here, you’ll see Dashlane’s automated detection in action again. When you buy items online, Dashlane will automatically stash your receipt. For cases where it doesn’t work (eg an unsupported site or service) there’s also an Add new button to manually input purchase information such as the amount, date, website, and so on.

Emergency Contact

Dashlane also has an emergency contact feature that lets you give nominated family members access to your password database within 48 hours upon request. The 48-hour waiting period gives you time to reject the request should it not be an authentic emergency.

You can also reduce the waiting period to none at all, 24 hours, or up to 60 days. If you don’t want your emergency contact(s) getting access to the entire treasure trove, you can give them access only to specific logins and notes.

Share Passwords Feature

Finally, there’s also a built-in sharing feature that lets you share specific passwords with other people. The default is to require sharing only among other Dashlane users, but there is also the (less secure) option for sharing outside of Dashlane as well.

Dashlane: The Not-So-Good

Dashlane is an outstanding password manager, but there are one or two quirks and flaws to be aware of – particularly if you opt for Dashlane Free.

App Before Extension

The whole point of a password manager is to access your passwords when you need them. Usually, that’s via the browser extension.

Dashlane rather flips the script on this – the desktop program is clearly the main interface, while the browser extension feels like an additional utility. If you run into trouble, you’ll have to open the desktop application instead of quickly clicking the extension icon.

One problem I experienced, for example, is a site where I have two logins: an initial one via a browser pop-up window and then a secondary one within the web app itself.

Dashlane was confused about how to handle this, and I had to open the desktop application to copy the correct password that I needed. It surprised me that I couldn’t simply copy a password from within the browser add-on. This is a perfectly common feature with other password managers.

No Attachments

A key feature for my own workflow that Dashlane doesn’t have is support for attachments. You can’t, for example, save a screenshot of a software license code, then attach it to a Dashlane entry.

Admittedly, attachments are a specialized user case, but, they are handy when you need them. You might also attach screenshots of security questions for a bank account, for example.

You can Store Credit Card Details in DashlaneThe Trouble with Dashlane Free

Dashlane offers a free tier, but with a major caveat. With the free option keep, your password database won’t be stored in the cloud but on a single device. That means if the device with all your stored passwords bites the dust you lose access to all your passwords.

That’s a massive risk.

If you really want to stick with the free option, then I’d strongly advise exporting your database to an external (and encrypted) thumb drive at least once a week and after every time you change any password.

Yes, manual backups are a pain, but if you want to stick to the free tier, it’s a sensible precaution.

If you don’t fancy paying for Dashlane’s, then opt for LastPass, which does encrypt your passwords in the cloud, even on a free account.

Dashlane Prices

Free Version

Dashlane has a free option, with some limitations. It lets you use Dashlane on a single device, with access to all the ‘on-device’ features of the paid-for tier. But, the free version doesn’t back up your password database to the cloud – it’s stored on the device only. Lose the device, and you risk losing your password database, unless you’ve created a manual backup.

Premium Version

Dashlane is a little pricier than some of its key rivals, including LastPass. However, the Premium version of Dashlane is undoubtedly superior to Dashlane Free.

If you get the Premium version for $40 per year, you can sync your Dashlane database via the cloud across multiple devices. You also get a few perks, such as VIP customer support, unlimited password sharing, and Yubikey authentication support.

Business users get the same feature set as Premium individual users for $48 per user per year. This professional version also sports smart spaces that divide work and personal passwords, administration console with customizable policies, group management for secure password sharing, and a wider range of two-factor authentication options.

Dashlane vs LastPass

While there are plenty of password managers out there, there’s little doubt to us that Dashlane and LastPass are two of the best.

If you choose to go for the premium version, LastPass is the cheaper of the two, but Dashlane has the edge when it comes to changing multiple passwords at once.

Read our Dashlane Vs LastPass guide to find the best password manager for you.

The Verdict

Dashlane is a great password manager. Its auto-changing password feature is fantastic and robust, and the auto-login feature is intuitive to use.

The drawbacks are minor enough that they won’t affect the majority of users. It doesn’t support attachments, and you can’t copy passwords from the browser extension. On top of that, it’s more expensive than other mainstream password managers.

Even so, we’d happily recommend Dashlane – go for the Premium plan for the best peace of mind, and step up your password security for good.

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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has worked as a technology industry reporter and critic for more than ten years. He’s written for PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, Yahoo, Lifewire, and The Huffington Post. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, security software, and browsers.

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