Dashlane review: This password manager makes you smarter about security

Password auditing keeps you on your toes.

Of all the password managers we’ve reviewed, Dashlane has come closest to stealing LastPass’s crown. Easy to use and rich with features, it meets all our requirements for a top-tier password manager. But Dashlane goes beyond just managing your login credentials, providing insights for how to think smarter about security.

Dashlane’s strength has long been its elegant interface, which displays your accounts as tiles—indeed, LastPass recently adopted this style—but version 4 adds the option of showing them as a list as well. Each tile has its own fly-out menu from which you can edit your account info, securely share your login credentials, and view your password history.

As with LastPass, Dashlane includes a password changer, which you can open from the top of the password list. Unlike LastPass, which requires you to open a specific website entry to auto-change its password, Dashlane’s tool lists all of your saved websites and you can change as many passwords as you want at once by selecting the checkbox next to each entry. Dashlane’s password changer also supports 500 sites, soundly trumping LastPass’s 80.

dashlane password changer PCWorld

Dashlane's password changer lets you strengthen multiple passwords at once.

One of Dashlane’s most attractive features is its security dashboard. At the top, it gives you an overall security rating based on the cumulative strength of your passwords, and offers suggestions for improving it by upgrading specific passwords. For example, I could get a total 6 percent rating bump by updating my Skype and LinkedIn passwords. A Detailed Password Analysis panel provides a closer look at each of your passwords, which you can sort by website, password, strength, or safety level. Clicking an info button reveals the reasons behind its rating so you can take action to improve it.

Dashlane also supports auto-login, form autofill, secure notes, and secure sharing with emergency contacts. The desktop client is free to use on any single device, but to sync your password you’ll need Dashlane Premium for $40 per year. (You'll first need to download the standard version and then upgrade.) The paid plan also gives you two-factor authentication and unlimited password sharing, among other perks.

dashlane vault PCWorld

Dashlane will evaluate and rate your passwords and tell you how to make them stronger.

Bottom line

At this point Dashlane’s capabilities have caught up with LastPass, so the only significant differentiator is how much you have to spend to unlock each tool’s full capabilities. At more than three times the cost of LastPass, Dashlane’s premium may be the deciding factor for many. But if the extra expense isn’t a concern, Dashlane is a top-shelf password manager.

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Michael Ansaldo

PC World (US online)
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