Review: The best password managers for PCs, Macs, and mobile devices
6 local and cloud-based password managers make passwords stronger and online life easier for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone users
SplashID has been in the password manager business for years. Its product, SplashID Safe, has been particularly popular on mobile devices. Currently SplashID Safe supports access through the Web and client apps for Windows desktop, Windows 8, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry 10, and Windows Phone.
Where other password managers are either local or cloud-based, SplashID Safe supports either option. The SplashID cloud service allows you to synchronize your password vault over the Internet for $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year. For users who don't want to store their password vault in the cloud, SplashID is available in a version that supports manual synchronization over Wi-Fi (for a one-time cost of $29.99) or a no-sync version for $9.99.
For an additional $5 per user per month, families or businesses can leverage SplashID Safe Teams edition, which adds an admin panel that allows you to control who has access to each record, either by assigning a record to an individual user or a group of users. Note that the Windows 8 client is not currently supported in the Teams edition.
SplashID Safe has at least one feature we wish all the cloud-based services would implement: the ability to configure a login as local only, giving you the ability to prevent your most sensitive data from being stored on the Internet. The idea is that if you have certain login information or other sensitive data you don't trust to the Internet, you can prevent this information from being uploaded to SplashID's servers.
SplashID Safe lets users share login information by sending an email containing a link to retrieve the information. Links to shared information are secured with a password (which can be included in the email or shared using another method), are valid for only 24 hours, and expire after the first use.
Two-factor support in SplashID only provides an extra layer of security when registering a new device (not on each login), requiring you to enter a six-digit code sent via email. While a registered device paired with a password technically meets the definition of two-factor authentication (something you have and something you know), it's not quite up to par with services offering support for Google Authenticator or other two-factor methods. SplashID Safe offers a pattern unlock feature as an alternative to a master password, but I found this feature to be somewhat inconsistent.
It's always nice when a security product is backed by a brand synonymous with computer security, and Symantec's Norton Identity Safe certainly has that factor in its favor. Identity Safe has another plus: It's completely free. You have a number of free password managers to choose from, but none are cloud services operated by a software vendor with a level of trust built up over decades. Norton Identity Safe used to be part of a Norton security suite, but it's now a stand-alone service with a Web front end and clients for Windows, iOS, and Android.
RoboForm is a popular password manager and form filler, but it falls short of the leading contenders on a few counts. Though it offers synchronization across multiple platforms, there is no Web app, two-factor authentication, or sharing capability. Individual RoboForm desktop licenses can be purchased outright for Mac or PC at a price of $29.95, and a Windows portable version for USB storage is available for $39.95. RoboForm also offers subscription-based licensing for $19.95 per year, which provides synchronization and access through mobile apps on iOS, Android, Windows 8, and Windows Phone.