Pay for a password manager? Trend Micro bets you will

All the major browsers come with free password managers, and the best independent alternatives are based on freemium models. But Trend Micro's new DirectPass charges for what others give away.

Trend Micro's password managing DirectPass offers something new for the category: a restricted, secure browser built in.

Trend Micro's password managing DirectPass offers something new for the category: a restricted, secure browser built in.

(Credit: Trend Micro)

DirectPass (download) is a new password manager from Trend Micro that promises a battery of features that could shoot it to the top of its class. The catch? It's not cheap.

Debuting yesterday, DirectPass has a lot key options that make a good password manager great. It's got password generation, a 256-bit AES encrypted form-filler, encrypted secure notes, browser integration via add-on, and one-click master password login. The master password include a hint option to help you remember it, but you best not forget it unless you want your passwords locked away permanently.

Like competitors, DirectPass syncs across platforms and devices, so you can use it on Windows, Android, and iOS. It has keystroke encryption always on by default, and it's got one feature the others don't: a built-in secure browser.

Built in-house, the secure browser is designed for performing financial transaction safely. It automatically turns off threat vectors like third-party plug-ins and DLLs.

DirectPass provides an unlimited trial that lets you use all of its features, but there's a catch: you only get to save five passwords. Upgrading to an unlimited number of passwords will set you back $14.95 for a one-year subscription, or $24.95 for a two-year subscription.

If you're not happy with your current password management solution, it's worth testing out simply because you can see what DirectPass does without hamstrings. But seeing as how competitors such as LastPass, RoboForm, and 1Password have nearly identical premium features, and for less, and provide a mighty useful set of features for free, I don't have high hopes for widespread adoption of DirectPass. Most likely, it'll appeal to current Trend Micro users. Everybody benefits when there are more options, but so far DirectPass strikes me as being a bit too narrow in its appeal.

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