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LastPass Premium Password Manager (for Android) Review
LastPass Password Manager for Android gives mobile convenience to LastPass Premium account holders, but it’s still pretty unintuitive and isn’t enugh incentive to upgrade to a Premium account.
(3 out of 5)
- Supports logins to other apps
- Syncs quickly with desktop browser account.
- Doesn’t prompt you to save passwords or login information
- Primitive built-in browser, no Flash support.
It’s hard to believe something as utilitarian as a password manager has its diehard fans, but LastPass, our Editors’ Choice winner for both free and premium ($1/month, direct) password managers, enjoys something of a cult following. Converts like myself swear by this tool—a Web service that securely stores passwords and login information, and automatically fills them in for you as you browse online.
LastPass Password Manager Premium (for Android) is only available to Premium subscribers, and lets you access your vault of saved logins and other login data on the go. It works with a built in browser based on the stock Android browser. However, the app is pretty unintuitive—if this app is your only incentive to upgrade to Premium, you’ll want to reconsider. You can also give it a test drive for 14 days.
As a LastPass n00b, I had a rather difficult time getting started. When I first opened the app I saw a plain white page with an input box and the word “search” at the top. It turns out the search box was for searching saved logins and forms, but this assumes you’ve already set up LastPass. I found this odd—usually an app has a wizard or at least a step-by-step manual, especially for a relatively unintuitive service.
Finally I took the advice of a LastPass spokesperson and logged into my LastPass account through my desktop browser to get things started. Because this is a cloud-based service, LastPass quickly syncs your account information across both platforms.
LastPass centers on your Vault—a list of saved logins, notes, and other login details. You can add new information any time by filling in templates (called “Form Fill” profiles) and organize them into folders like you would with bookmarks.
The app does include some gems from the desktop-based service. Secure Notes lets you securely store alphanumeric notes—like a Social Security Number—and access them later through your Vault interface. You can enter templates with common login information, like your name and address and auto-complete this information when you encounter such a template. You’ll also find a password generator that creates strong passwords for new online accounts.
A neat, mobile-only feature is the ability to use LastPass to log into your apps. Simply tap an input field to open the virtual keyboard, and then tap the LastPass icon (an asterisk). This auto-fills data for you.
The LastPass Browser Experience
When you use LastPass in a desktop browser, the service prompts you to save any new logins or accounts with LastPass. Furthermore, you’ll find simple dropdown menus in your toolbar that make it even faster to grab data from various saved forms to complete online forms.
No such luxuries in the app. LastPass for Android lacks all the convenient prompts of its desktop sibling, and you’re forced to use an impossibly clunky built-in browser to experience LastPass’ auto-filling and login saving.
The LastPass browser is only accessible from within the password-protected app. It’s tedious to use unless you’re working in a tablet that’s hooked up to a keyboard (in other words, a laptop). You tap into your Vault to launch saved websites with saved login information. You tap a couple times to enter a new website, and tap again to fill out a form that saves your login information.
Auto-filling only worked sporadically. The browser doesn’t support Flash or geolocation services. Furthermore some mobile sites, like banking sites, don’t even let you auto-fill information. I couldn’t use this with my Chase account, for instance. It’s just the way banks code their mobile websites, and you’ll encounter the same problem in your stock browser. The safest workaround is to download your bank’s app and use LastPass to log in.
Lastly, LastPass forces you to log in every time you want to use the app, and hence, the browser. I understand the security reasons behind this, and I know it’s just one extra tap, or more if you didn’t save your master password, but on a mobile device these extra taps feels like running extra miles. LastPass also offered a free plugin for third-party browsers like Dolphin HD and Firefox Mobile, although they’re as tedious to use as the browser.
Needs Another Pass
LastPass for Android is a decent app for the security conscious, and you can’t beat free, but at the moment it’s far too unintuitive for the average user. This isn’t reason enough to upgrade to Premium—yet. It isn’t intuitive, and it lacks the awesome bells and whistles that make the desktop-based service an Editors’ Choice for both free and paid password managers. LastPass will need to rethink its mobile app before it loses out to young, innovative players like Dashlane. mSecure Password Manager ($19.95/year, 2 stars) also offers an Android app for an additional $9.99, though I haven’t yet tested it. RoboForm, 1Password. KeyPass, and others also provide mobile password managers.
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By Sara Yin, PCMag