Password Manager Review: RoboForm
For years, we've been told that robots are going to make everything easier in the future, but, what most people don't know, is that the future is now. Things that used to be done manually have been automated, requiring only occasional human attention.
Even though robots already assemble our cars, answer our emails, or pilot our aircraft, there remain a number of less challenging tasks that we persist doing ourselves, such as creating, changing, and entering passwords.
Enter RoboForm: The password manager seeks to lighten your burden by handling password management so that you only need to act as the robot's (occasional) supervisor. Below, we've taken a look at whether RoboForm will make your life easier, or drive you crazy.
What Is RoboForm?
RoboForm is a password manager developed by Siber Systems. The program´s desktop applications are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Chrome OS, with its mobile versions working on Android and iOS devices. Browser extensions are provided for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, as well as a host of less popular browsers.
Pros and Cons
Lots of possibilities for customizing/personalizing your user experience
Ability to modify data imports
Powerful autofill function
Highly functional mobile app
Possible to access data stored offline
Not possible to manually create login records within the app
Important functions (2FA and multi-device synchronization) reserved for paying customers
Underwhelming security center
Setting up RoboForm is child's play. After downloading the installation file from the service's website, all that separates you from using the program are a few clicks.
As with any password manager, you'll need to create a master password. Should all go according to plan, this is the last password you'll ever need to remember. RoboForm lets you know if your password is secure enough.
After completing the installation of the "RoboForm Editor" desktop app, you can install the service's browser extensions (for Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and/or Microsoft Edge). Should you be using a different browser, you will have to install it manually.
RoboForm simplifies data imports from browsers or other password managers, supporting programs like Dashlane, Sticky Password, or LastPass. With that said, the program is slightly more selective in terms of browsers, with imports only possible from Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Opera.
You'll also have to prune or clean imported data. During testing, the usernames for some entries were saved (incorrectly) as notes. However, fixing this is simple, since RoboForm gives its users a sizable degree of freedom in adding fields to their records.
We should also note that many other password managers also evidence difficulties when it comes to making sure that data imports are congruent.
After installation, you'll be taken directly to the RoboForm tutorials, which offer step-by-step guides for all kinds of subjects.
There isn't that much to complain about when it comes to setting up RoboForm: It's quickly installed, the first steps are intuitive, and the program walks you through how to get started, without patronizing or babying more experienced users. We noticed some issues with data imports, but that's fairly common to most of the password managers we reviewed.
Score: 4.3 / 5
User Interface & Ease of Use
Like most password managers, RoboForm's user interface is divided between a desktop application and a browser extension.
Similar to almost all of its competitors, RoboForm uses a three-column layout, lending the service's interface a nice structure as a result. To the left, you'll find the general categories, with folders in the middle, and accompanying individual records on the right.
Folder management is very similar to Windows Explorer, making it intuitive and very easy to get a hang of. You can create sub-folders in each category and move individual records around by dragging and dropping them, making it possible to easily manage your sensitive information exactly how you'd like.
The folder structure you create for logins also applies to other sub-folders such as those for bookmarks, contacts, and IDs. This consistency makes navigation between categories easy, however, you cannot adjust individual categories.
RoboForm's decision to not allow users to manually input usernames or passwords directly in the application is rather controversial since the service instead relies entirely on automatically saving such information when you visit webpages. We can't report any issues with this, except when logins occur over several pages. Still, we're uncertain over what arguments were made against integrating such functionality into the software since it seems to be a fairly common practice elsewhere.
Another of RoboForm's quirks is that the password generator cannot be accessed from the desktop app, but only through the browser extension. In our minds, there's no reason to limit this function to one of the service's two components.h
The browser extension gives users access to their vault, bookmarks, notes, and password generator, the last of which can be used to create secure passwords based on freely-customizable guidelines.
If you're trying to configure more complicated settings, you'll be redirected to the RoboForm Editor.
RoboForm's solution to multiple logins for the same page is rather clunky. Instead of providing users with the ability to select from different usernames using autofill, you'll see the website's name with a number following it (such as 'Reddit' and 'Reddit (1)', as can be seen below).
This makes it necessary to alter the name assigned to the registrations manually, which, while not requiring too much effort, could have easily been avoided.
RoboForm makes a noticeable effort to cater to both experienced hobbyists who enjoy tinkering, as well as those just starting out with a password manager and wanting the most expedient configuration possible. In our opinion, the results are good, however, we deducted a few points for the unnecessary complications in managing multiple logins for the same page, as well as the absence of the password generator from the desktop app.
Score: 4 / 5
Right off the bat: RoboForm has all of the features that a password manager should come with. Alongside passwords, you can also save secure notes, contacts, account information, and badges. The service also emphasizes personalization, meaning that you aren't tied to any predefined templates, but can instead create documents with as many individual fields as you'd like.
The RoboForm security dashboard is limited to the basics. Here, your general password security is tabulated (in a percentage), but the software doesn't offer extensive analytical tools for digging deeper into this. RoboForm only informs you if your passwords are poor and how many of them are used more than once.
To boost your security rating, you'll need to visit each site separately, since the service lacks a password changer comparable to that offered by LastPass or Dashlane.
Sharing & Sending
RoboForm allows you to share individual items or entire folders with other users. Just select the items you want to share and enter the email address of the person you want to share them with. You can even limit sharing to login only or grant recipients additional access rights.
Along with the sharing function, you can also send individual items to specific users.
All-in-all, RoboForm makes a good impression, scoring high thanks to its customization/personalization options and sharing feature. Since the program focuses on just the basics, the interface(s) don't feel overloaded. With that said, a more robust security center, and tools for automatically changing passwords would certainly be welcome additions.
Score: 4 / 5
Like most password managers, RoboForm uses AES 256, concealing your password with several thousand rounds of PBKDF2 and SHA256 hashing.
RoboForm also adheres to the Zero-Knowledge principle, meaning that only you have access to your master password: It isn't stored anywhere on the developer's servers. While boosting security, this also means that if you lose it, there's little that customer service can do to help.
2FA is available, but only for paying subscribers.
Score: 4.3 / 5
Contrary to other password managers, RoboForm's mobile app is not a simple 1:1 copy of the desktop app. Instead, the mobile app differs in both appearance and structure, which has advantages and disadvantages.
The mobile app definitely takes some getting used to, even after considerable experience with the desktop app. It doesn't have the same three-column structure as the desktop app, but, its tile layout isn't anything to scoff at.
You can unlock the app using a PIN or fingerprint if you don't want to enter the master password every time you log in, saving time, but also slightly decreasing your security.
The autofill and login functions worked well during testing, as can be seen below. We only encountered problems on some websites like Amazon, where login data needed to be copied manually.
RoboForm's mobile app is pretty good but does take a bit of getting used to since it functions differently than the desktop app. One noticeable drawback is that you can only synchronize your device with the desktop app if you're a paying subscriber.
Score: 4.7 / 5
Live support chat (Monday-Friday, 9 AM EST to 6 PM EST) is reserved for paying "Everywhere" subscribers.
Everyone else needs to settle for good old-fashioned email support tickets. The interface for filing these is well-designed, and it's possible to track and check your tickets through the Help Center.
During testing, we received an answer within 90 minutes, which is pretty fast.
Score: 4 / 5
RoboForm is available at two different rates for individual users (in addition to the free version). The "Everywhere" plan costs $1.99 per month, while "Family", covering up to five users, is available for $3.98 per month. Three or five-year subscriptions unlock discounts of 10% and 16%, respectively.
RoboForm Business is available in four packages based on the size of the user base. A 15% discount is offered if purchasing a three-year membership, while a five-year subscription generates a 25% discount.
|Price per Month||$0.00||$1.99||$3.98|
|Price per User||$0.00||$0.00||$0.00|
|Contract Period (month)||0||12||12|
|Number of Users||1||1||5|
|Number of Passwords||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
|Number of Devices||1||unlimited||unlimited|
|Sync Multiple Devices|
|Only Local Storage|
|Two Factor Auth|
RoboForm integrates nicely into your desktop and browser, working, as a good robot should, blissfully in the background. The service's tidy design embraces clarity rather than flash. At the same, this straightforwardness should not be confused with a lack of features. Many opportunities are offered for customizing the program, few of which (at least in our opinion) are likely to overwhelm beginners.
But RoboForm is far from perfect. Its designers could invest more into beefing up the Security Center, adding a password changer, and working out some of the autofill quirks that we uncovered.
Overall though, RoboForm is a robust password manager that convinces thanks to both its simplicity and range of settings/options.
Most of RoboForm's customers have rated the program highly, emphasizing its user-friendliness and high level of security.
RoboForm is one of the more affordable password managers available, however, some of its competitors offer important features like 2FA, without hiding them behind paywalls. Depending on how much you're willing to pay for a password manager, as well as your preferences and needs, some of the other services we reviewed might be more to your liking.
How We Test
RoboForm's desktop app was tested on a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10, while its browser extensions were evaluated in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. The mobile application was assessed on an Android device (version 8.1.0).