This lightweight password manager from the TunnelBear VPN folks is furry good.

I abhor fluff in apps, but make an exception for RememBear – at least in the sense of bear coats. This password manager is primarily an exercise in minimalism, but adds the odd furry character to humanise (bearise?) proceedings.

This is good, given that password management is the kind of crushingly tedious subject that makes people’s eyes glaze over approximately one nanosecond after you bring it up. However, password management is also vitally important in an age where everyone’s personal details are being pilfered.

Barely a month goes by without a major company admitting its user login details have been compromised. So it pays to protect yourself by using the likes of RememBear to remember passwords on your behalf, and create new/replacement passwords with a level of complexity that’d take several lifetimes to crack.

REDUCE THE BEARDEN

Getting started with RememBear is simple. You create a master password to keep prying eyes out of your vault. This should be complex (a string of unrelated longish words, say), and noted down somewhere in obfuscated form. (Without the master password, you’ll be forever locked out of your RememBear account.) For subsequent logins on mobile, you use your thumb or mug for authentication, assuming your phone has such capabilities.

Adding new items is straightforward too. You choose between a login and payment card, and add salient details to clearly labelled fields. The password generator for logins is particularly nice, with options for defining the password’s construction (size; symbols; characters) and a furry visualisation of its strength. A meek sheep? Not good. A roaring bear. RAWWRRR!

Subsequent integration with mobile browsers is variable. Chrome on Android has the bear pop up at the side of the display when you’re trying to login somewhere, and you do an awkward copy/paste dance to input details. iOS is more streamlined, using a Share sheet button.

With RememBear’s own integrated browser, almost the reverse is true. On iOS, you get a single-site job you’re not going to want to use regularly. Android’s RememBear Browser, though, is rather smarter, with multiple tabs.

THE BEAR NECESSITIES

During testing, the app felt solid, but there’s also no getting away from a slight whiff of 1.0. RememBear feels fresh, but also a touch stark, lacking features found in its rivals. I suspect most people can do without a section for server logins, or secure notes, but here there’s not even a favourites tab. Got hundreds of logins? Good luck finding one unless you manually search or permanently sort your list by usage.

That all said, the more I used it, the more I felt like RememBear mostly got things right. Like sister app TunnelBear VPN, RememBear focusses on what’s important, and offers a streamlined, friendly user experience. It lacks cruft – and I half wish it would stay frozen in this form, because there’s a sense too many extra features could wreck this app’s elegance.

Today, at least, it does its job ably. For power users, that might still not be enough, and it’s unlikely happy 1Password users (say) will switch just to occasionally be amused by a bear. But for a newcomer, RememBear is a furry good start to password management.

RememBear is available for Android and iOS. The app is also available for Mac and Windows, and browser extensions exist for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.



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