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Hands on with Google's new Titan Security Keys - and why they still have their place

These keys can store up to 250 unique passkeys, which means they provide the best of the best in terms of security and convenience.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Google's updated Titan security keys.

Google's updated Titan Security Keys.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • Google's updated Titan security keys are available now with prices starting at $30.
  • Updated keys all feature NFC and can store up to 250 passkeys.
  • The USB-C key is quite bulky, as is the USB-A to USB-C adapter that comes with the USB-A key.

While passkeys are all the rage right now, a smartphone or other device-based solution isn't for everyone, which means there's still a place for physical security keys.

Google's response is to announce an update to its Titan line of security keys, bringing them up to date by adding some much-needed features.

Also: What are passkeys? Experience the life-changing magic of going passwordless

If you're new to security keys, you should think of them as an additional line of defense for your online life. A hacker might have compromised your password, but without access to your physical security key, their ill-gotten gain is valueless.

View at Store.google

There are two new Titan keys in the line -- coming in USB-A and USB-C flavors. Both are FIDO2 compatible, which means the devices are compatible with the broadest number of websites and online services, and both have enough built-in storage to store up to 250 unique passkeys. 

Google Titan Security Keys tech specs

USB-A/NFC Security Key

  • Length: 1.7 inches (43.9mm)
  • Width: 0.8 inches (20.8mm)
  • Height: 0.1 inches (3.1mm)
  • Color: White
  • Materials: ABS, Calcium carbonate
  • For use with computers that have USB-A or USB-C ports. Will also work with most Android and iOS devices that support USB or NFC.

USB-C/NFC Security Key

  • Length: 2.0 inches (50.9mm)
  • Width: 0.7 inches (18.5mm)
  • Height: 0.3 inches (7.0mm)
  • Color: White
  • Materials: Polycarbonate + Zinc Alloy
  • For use with newer computers that have USB-C ports. Will also work with most Android and iOS devices that support USB or NFC.
Rear of Google Titan security keys -- USB-C on the left, USB-A on the right.

Rear of Google Titan Security Keys -- USB-C on the left, USB-A on the right.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Also, the USB-A version comes with a USB-A to USB-C adapter.

Also: The best security keys to protect yourself and your business

That adapter means the key can be used on modern devices, which makes it a future-proof purchase.   

Google Titan USB-C security key.

The USB-C Google Titan Security Key.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The USB-C Titan key is quite a chunky affair, having a bit of heft and thickness to it, coming in at 0.3 inches (7.0mm) thick. 

Built from polycarbonate and a zinc alloy, this key looks like it's capable of surviving a hard life on a keyring full of keys.

hickest security key I own.

The USB-C Google Titan Security Key is the chunkiest and thickest security key I own.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The USB-A Titan key is a more traditional, flat-style security key, made of ABS and coming in at only 0.1 inches (3.1mm) thick.

USB-A Titan security key.

The USB-A Google Titan Security Key.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This key also comes with a chunky USB-A to USB-C adapter, so it can be used on devices no matter what port they use.

Chunky USB-A to USB-C adapter.

The chunky USB-A to USB-C adapter.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The new Google Titan Security Keys are priced at $30 for the USB-A/NFC version, and $35 for the USB-C/NFC version. 

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