Friday, March 12, 2021

NordPass password manager review

NordPass – from the same people who brought you NordVPN – is a professional-looking, polished, comprehensive password manager for individuals and (at a push) businesses. It comes packed with features and a slick interface that just about anybody can make use of.

In our NordPass review we'll guide you through all of the features you need to know about, and cover pricing plans and security options as well. In a market that's increasingly competitive, is NordPass the right password manager for you? Read on to get the details.

NordPass features

All the basics of a password manager are present and correct in NordPass – the password syncing and the password saving and the autofilling of passwords whenever you hit a login box. NordPass works across Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android, and in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Safari and Brave in terms of browsers. It can go just about anywhere you go, basically.

If you can't think up a strong password yourself, then NordPass will suggest one for you. Besides passwords, you can save secure notes, credit card details, personal information and whatever other bits of data you need to store safely. We're also happy to see that two-factor authentication (2FA) is supported for logging into your accounts, which is pretty much a must these days.

You can sort passwords into folders, you can securely share passwords with other people, and you can import passwords from other sources as well – as long as those other sources are either Chrome, Firefox or a CSV file (based on our experiences, this is a quick and painless process). NordPass can even import passwords from scanned documents and images by recognizing the text embedded in them.

The customer support is fairly standard – you get round-the-clock email support, but there's no one to call if you get into trouble (fairly standard for a service like this). The various online options are good though, including a very well laid out help center that you can get at through the NordPass website, and which should answer most of the basic questions you've got.

(editor note added on 07/10/2020: NordPass has introduced two new security features. The first one is a Data Breach Scanner which, as its name implies "scans the web to see if the user’s data has been compromised in any breaches". The other one is called Password health, which "helps users identify vulnerable passwords", something that Google also offers to all Google account users).

NordPass

(Image credit: Future)

NordPass interface

Everything about the NordPass interface is smooth and elegant, from the initial sign-up page to the apps you're going to be installing as you get the software set up – it's actually one of the most polished experiences we've seen lately. Everything is built to be user-friendly and accessible, and from the interface perspective it's a password manager that will suit users at all levels of technical know-how.

Speaking of simplicity, the process of signing up for the service and getting the various apps installed couldn't be much easier. The software does a really good job of hiding itself away in the background and only popping up discreetly when needed, and we had no complaints in terms of getting our passwords synced across multiple devices (it only takes a second or two usually).

Effortless is a good way of describing the overall NordPass experience, and it soon starts to feel like a native feature on whatever platform you happen to be using it on. The little helpful touches spread throughout were much appreciated, including the way you can customize generated passwords (by their length or by turning off characters that can be misread as something else, for example).

When it comes to managing your account, logging in and accessing your settings, passwords, and other stored information is very straightforward. It would be nice to have a few more organizational tools – like tags for particular groups of data as well as just folders – but overall the apps are easy to get around and make it clear where to find everything.

NordPass

(Image credit: Future)

NordPass security

As you would expect from a developer that also offers a VPN, NordPass has a tight security setup. For a start it deploys a zero knowledge approach, with end-to-end encryption for your password backups and data syncing – that means not even the NordPass team can see the data that you've got saved (and it also means that if you forget your master password and the backup recovery code you'll need to reset your account and start again from scratch).

The increasingly well-respected XChaCha20 encryption algorithm is used, which is also a favorite of companies like Google and Cloudflare: it goes up to 256-bit encryption and is seen (by some at least) as a more futureproofed solution than the AES-256 encryption commonly used elsewhere. Biometric security can be added where supported – FaceID on an iPhone, for example – and it's good to see that two-factor authentication is supported for your NordPass account as well as the accounts you're storing passwords for.

NordPass pricing

There is a free tier with NordPass, which isn't always a given with password managers – that gets you storage for an unlimited number of passwords, and the ability to sync those passwords across multiple devices. The main restriction is that you can only have one device active at any one time (so when you log in on your laptop, you get signed out on your phone), and there's no trusted contact functionality for password sharing.

Premium accounts start from $2.50/£1.92 a month (though you do have to sign up for two years at once to get that price), and that means you can use NordPass with six different devices simultaneously. You get access to the trusted contacts and secure sharing features too. Family plans, where multiple users can be managed, start at $3.99/£3.07 a month. Dedicated business accounts are also available, if you contact NordPass directly.

NordPass

(Image credit: Future)

NordPass verdict

We're impressed with what we've seen of NordPass during our testing, and we think it's a great choice for individuals and small-to-mid-sized companies. It balances an aesthetically pleasing design with some useful features and advanced security protection, and it holds up well when you compare it against anything else on the market.

Pricing is competitive, as long as you're willing to sign up for two years in one go, and it's nice to see a free tier available (as well as a free trial of the premium features). On the downside, it doesn't have quite the level of business and team management features that you get with competitors such as LastPass and RoboForm, and more advanced tools like Wi-Fi syncing and Dark Web scanning would be welcome too.

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