Lastpass Review

 

LastPass Review 2020: Affordable Premium Manager Stores More Than Passwords

  • User Experience rating  4/5
  • Features rating 4/5
  • Pricing rating 5/5
  • Security rating 5/5
  • Support rating ⅗

TLDR 

With many features that may come in handy when users might least expect, LastPass is a well-rounded password manager that is available at a very convenient price. Its interface is simple and easy to use, even if some important features are a bit hidden. Its secure password generator and Security Challenge are excellent features to assist users in keeping their passwords unique and up to date. 

Introduction

LastPass has well-rounded support with compatibility for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS operating systems, as well as for Chrome, Firefox, Linux, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge browsers. Many users will likely be satisfied with the free version, but the paid Premium and Families options are quite affordable at $3 and $4 per month respectively. Additional paid features including up to 1GB of encrypted storage for secure documents and unlimited password sharing. Though the service does not include a money-back option, users do get a 30-day trial of the service to test out how the manager before committing its yearly charge. There are also MFA, Teams, Enterprise, Identity options for more professional use. In addition to password management, LastPass includes several options for users to securely store several different types of important data online. Though LastPass does not offer live support, its Help Center is extensive with many tutorials to anticipate any issues that may arise with the service. 

User Experience

The user experience on LastPass can be simple and challenging at the same time. The interface itself is rather simple and straight forward visually, with passwords, notes, addresses, payment cards, and bank accounts options listed on the left side menu. Users can select any of these options and begin inputting data into the password manager immediately. However, many users will likely already have several passwords saved elsewhere, such as on an old manager client or within their browser settings. 

This is where the manager can get challenging, as the import protocol isn’t immediately apparent. I had to tinker around the interface to find the import option and then a little more before figuring out how to successfully load my already stored data. 

Users can do so by accessing More Options at the bottom of the left side menu, Advanced, then Import. This will open a new window. I imported my saved passwords from my Chrome browser. While the Chrome Password Manager is now included among the options, I’m certain it wasn’t when I first imported, so I selected Generic CSV File. After downloading the file from my browser the upload was quick; however, LastPass bounced me back the login screen after I got a notification that I needed to access My Vault, which is the homepage of the service. 

This is likely a security measure, as it especially happened if I left my browser idle for a bit. When this first happened I was anxious that I would lose the data I’d uploaded and would have to repeat the process. But my passwords were all imported once I was safely logged in again.

I opted to register my account by first downloading the Android mobile app, but I didn’t start navigating the interface until I was on my Chrome browser. Other reviews, such as those from PCMag and SafetyDetectives recommend setting up your account on a browser as it will automatically prompt you to install the LastPass browser extension. I had to go to the Chrome app store to install it manually. I also noticed when I made changes to LastPass on my MacBook, I saw them automatically update in my Chrome browser on my Windows laptop. 

With everything running smoothly, I was able to easily log in to previously saved accounts that I imported. Going to a login page, my username and hidden password were already available. LastPass takes over other password managers you may have set up, such as Chrome Password Manager, with the brand’s three-dot icon showing up in the login field, indicating that is the manager in use. To test adding data to LastPass I logged in to an account I typically prefer to sign into manually at all times. LastPass sent a notification asking if I wanted to add this information to the manager and I accepted. When accessing the website again the login was smooth. 

  • Strengths
  • Syncs across different platforms and devices
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Automatic password updates
  • Secure password generator 
  • Weaknesses
  • Importing old passwords can disorganize any folders users have set up. 
  • Some features and settings can be hard to find. 
  • Support is limited for most accounts. 

Features

In addition to passwords, users can add other sensitive information to LastPass, including private notes, addresses, payment cards, and bank accounts. However, the usefulness of these options may be a tossup depending on the user. Unlike login information, this data may not have the same import options and may have to be added manually. This is where other a browser autofill option may override LastPass. Having added a Debit card to My Vault, I filled out the payment form on a food delivery order, and my browser auto-filled as usual when I placed my cursor in the card number area. Still, opening the LastPass browser extension to input card information wasn’t a challenge. Available cards will show in the dropdown menu on any webpage with a payment form. The main difference is that my browser requests manual input of the card’s security code as an authentication measure, while LastPass inserts those details automatically. 

Other options, such as storing bank account information may be beneficial to those using LastPass for more professional purposes. Addresses often autofill on a well-used computer or mobile device. Smartphones also increasingly have their own secure folders and apps that are commonly used for storing sensitive information. Still, it’s a plus to have these options available on LastPass for anyone who may want to use them. Adding secure notes may be one of the more practical options as this function is easily accessible from the extension bar. Users can select Add Item, then Secure Note to open a new window and construct their note. The note allows users to require the master password for access and to attach and upload other files. However, saving the note may require users to log in again.

It can be easy to miss the add item icon on the bottom right corner of the My Vault page. There are even more other data storage options hidden here, including driver licenses, passports, social security numbers, and Wi-Fi passwords. Again, the value of these options will depend on the user, but I imagine memberships and Wi-Fi passwords could be useful to many who have a number of different accounts that are accessed often but are not necessarily a high priority. 

LastPass includes a number of other features to help make the service a more well-rounded privacy option. The following features are located within Account Settings. 

  • Users can add multifactor authentication to their accounts for added security when logging in. Several protocols are supported, including LastPass Authenticator, Google Authenticator, and Microsoft Authenticator. Users can choose between free, premium, and enterprise multifactor authentication options. 
  • Users can add trusted devices to LastPass that will connect to various sites and apps automatically without having to go through the login page.
  • Users can control access and settings of smartphones using LastPass through the mobile app. I was able to see my Android device listed under this option and could edit settings or remove the device connection if I wanted. 
  • Users can set certain websites to bypass the LastPass protocol if they desire. They can set specific rules for certain websites to ensure the password manager works properly. They can also lookup alternate URLs that may be associated with the same website or company. 
  • Pricing
LastPass FreeLastPass PremiumLastPass Families
$01 User30-day free trial of Premium$3 per month (billed yearly)1 UserMulti-device password sharing1GB of encrypted file storage30-day free trial $4 per month (billed yearly)
6 Premium licenses30-day free trial 

LastPass is pretty affordable on all tiers for its most basics options. However, users should take into consideration that the service does not have a money-back option after the 30-day free trial has elapsed. 

There are also several business options that range between $3 and $8 per month per user.

Security

LastPass uses AES-256 encryption and SSL encryption to secure and communicate data. The service does not store any data on its own servers, making the master password the only method of accessing the manager. 

The Security Challenge can help users test the overall strength of their current passwords. It lists details on passwords that may have been compromised, lists websites that have weak passwords or reused passwords, and also lists passwords that haven’t been updated in some time. Users can select specific websites and use the Update Now option to automatically change their passwords. 

There is also an elaborate password generator available in the LastPass extension under Generate Secure Password. Users can set parameters for password length, uppercase, lowercase, numbers, symbols, easy to say, and easy to read, to generate a unique password. The generator is also automatically available when users are registering a new account or manually updating passwords outside the LastPass Vault. 

LastPass also includes a Sharing Center and Emergency Access options for connecting other users to your account. LastPass Premium allows one-to-one sharing with other members, letting those with an account email confirm the sharing of documents. LastPass Families enabled this among several users and also allows for the sharing of folders. There are also additional options for enterprise accounts. 

With Emergency Access, users can set contacts who are able to access their accounts if they are unable to on their own. Emergency Access users will have to set up an account of their own to accept a request, once this is done they will be able to request access to said account if ever necessary. LastPass has instated a short waiting period as a security confirmation, after which these users can log in and handle various login information. This feature is intended for dire scenarios, such as grave injury or death of the primary user; however, these privileges are easily relinquished by the original sender. 

Support

For a product with such elaborate features, LastPass falls a bit short in terms of support. The Help Center and Email support are the primary means of assistance for most users. Only LastPass Enterprise Admins can access phone support. The Help Center is located within More Options and within the user dropdown menu in the top right corner. 

The Help Center does a lot to flesh out how users can get the answers they need with a search bar, shortcuts to popular topics, and a chatbot. There are many detailed tutorials for a myriad of directorial and troubleshooting topics that seem to be set up to avoid having to contact anyone for assistance. I was only able to find a contact form after scrolling to the very bottom of a tutorial page. I also found an email address in another tutorial, but I had no confirmation as to if it was valid for my account level as the instructions catered more to an enterprise issue. 

Users can also browse the LastPass blog, free live training, troubleshooting forum for more assistance options. 

Fionna Agomuoh

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