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1Password review: Pretty close to perfect

Password management made secure and easy.
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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

Let me make this as simple as possible for you -- everyone should be using a password manager. 

What is a password manager? It's an app, or, more commonly these days, a combination of online service and app, that safely and securely stores your passwords, and also makes them available on all your devices.

For some people, this might be the one built into the browser or operating system, or a separate standalone app (and for some, it's a physical notebook, which I don't approve of, but think is far better than nothing).

For me, a good password manager is one that you can install on all your devices, so you get access to your passwords no matter what device you are using. This not only makes accessing your passwords easy, but also means that you're less likely to break the two Prime Directives of passwords -- using weak passwords or reusing passwords.

There are many password management apps and services out there but one of the biggest names in the field is 1Password.

What is it that sets 1Password apart from the rest?

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Packed with great features
  • Emergency Kit helps prevent account lockouts
Cons
  • No free plan

There are a few features that I really like about 1Password. 

  • Security breach alerts -- These let you know if your passwords have been leaked in the wild.
  • Phishing protection -- This protects you against websites that might try to steal your passwords. 
  • 1Password will only pass password details to browsers that have been signed by an identified developer -- this means that hackers can't use use a modified browser to steal your data.
  • Emergency Kit account recovery feature -- This prevents you getting locked out of your account.
  • App and U2F key-based multi-factor authentication -- An added layer of protection to prevent unauthorised access.
  • Clipboard clearing feature -- This prevents leaking your password from the clipboard data.
  • Keylogger protection -- This prevents hackers from using a keylogger to grab your data.
  • User consent required to pass password data to the browser -- This leaves you in complete control.
  • Built-in digital wallet -- Securely stores your bank card detail or ID cards.
  • 1 GB document storage -- A safe and secure way to store all your important documents.

As far as the apps are concerned, 1Password works across a whole range of platforms -- Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS, and there's also an extension for the Google Chrome browser.

I've tested the apps on offer across most platforms (all except Chrome OS and Linux), and it's a very smooth, easy to use, yet secure experience. The experience differs a bit from platform to platform, but I found it to be a good experience all round, and it syncs between all devices effortlessly.

One of my favorite 1Password features is the Emergency Kit. This is a PDF that contains your account email, your Secret Key, and a place for you to write down your master password. You can save this digitally, or choose to print it out and store it somewhere safe, but either way, it offers peace of mind in case you lose some valuable bit of data and can't gain access to your passwords.

All in all, it's hard to fault 1Password. It works. It's easy to put passwords in, it's easy to get them out, and everything is stored securely using AES 256-bit encryption. There's also the ability to protect access to your account using both app and U2F key-based multi-factor authentication, something that I consider to be an absolute must these days.

As for pricing, 1Password has something to suit almost all budgets (except totally free, the best offer is a 14-day trial).

An individual plan starts at $2.99 a month, with a 5-license family plan costing $4.99 a month. On the business side, a single license starts at $7.99 a month, with a 10-license teams starter pack costing $19.95. Note that business plans come with additional features such as 5GB of document storage space, usage reports, VIP support, and more.

Apart from wishing it offered a free limited plan for those who don't have the means to pay, this service is pretty close to perfect. I like the broad range of additional services that are offered beyond password management, the core password management experience is solid, and the apps to use on the various platform are well made, reliable, and easy to use.

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