Blur: Online protection for all your data (review)

Blur for Android Review

Think for a moment about how many accounts you have in different websites. Each of these services have, at least, your name, email address and password. It’s even worse when you are dealing with e-commerce, where you also have to relinquish credit card information and phone numbers. In a world where you are constantly giving away your data to third-parties without real knowledge of their security standards, there’s a real need for solutions like Blur, a freemium service that aims to better control the data you are giving away, while halting pesky side effects of this information sharing, such as telemarketers and spam email.

Highlights:

  • Interface does not adhere to Material Design. Not even to Holo.
  • Setup is not as straightforward as it should be.
  • Features worked exactly as advertised.
  • Premium subscription starts at $39.99/year without using the 24-hour discount.

Setup

Blur Android Review Setup
The warning Android gives you when setting up Blur.

Upon opening Blur for the first time, the app automatically redirects you to the accessibility settings in order to turn its service on. Even worse, when turning it on, Android shows a dialog in which it warns that Blur will be able to observe your actions, retrieve window content and enhance web accessibility. For a less tech-savvy user, or someone who is not completely sure about what the app does yet, this can be a little daunting, and something that should be introduced later.

After completing the accessibility setup, you need to create an account. At least you are able to do a small tour through the app’s features before deciding if it’s worth the hassle. When you finally create an account and believe you will finally see the main screen, Blur suggests you to go Premium. For an app you haven’t even used yet. It’s worth noting that the app offers a lifetime subscription, something few apps offer and subject of much debate in recent months.

Usage

If you are expecting to see Material Design in this app, you are out of luck. In fact, the app doesn’t feel at home in Android at all. The menu is composed of entries for Accounts, Wallet, Masking, Generate Passwords, Tracking and Premium Offer. At the top right corner, there’s a hamburger-style button, but it curiously leads to the app’s settings. The app sometimes displays erratic behavior when pressing the back button. It doesn’t remember its position in the navigation and returns to the app’s settings or to the profile screen, even if I haven’t accessed them.

Blur's main screen
Blur’s main screen

The Accounts option works like password managers such as Lastpass or Dashlane. It lets you store passwords for websites in order to create stronger passwords and not having to remember them. If you touch the password, you can access the websites directly, although it doesn’t auto-fill the login credentials.

However, the auto-fill in apps works exactly as advertised. When the app detects a login screen through the previously mentioned accessibility service, a popup appears. You can then click on the account and the app fills your data.

Generate Password is self-explanatory. You have the option of creating passwords while choosing from three levels of security: password with letters only, password with letters and numbers, and password with all types of characters. When displaying your newly generated password, you can touch it in order to copy it to the clipboard, and the app automatically creates an account for you.

Masking and Wallet let you create email addresses, phone numbers and credit cards that can be used when you are not interested in giving away your real information when setting up accounts in web pages or services. I tested masking my email, and the feature works just as expected. When you get an email through a masked address, the email displays a box at the top indicating information about it, and you can also block the sender through it. Masking phone numbers and cards requires a premium subscription, though.

Blur Premium
Blur Premium with the 24-hour discount.

Finally, the Tracking section shows instructions for turning off location services and opting out of interest-based ads. Also, you can schedule a calendar reminder to check out your settings.

Conclusion

With a respectable set of features, Blur aims to be your service of choice when it comes to online protection. With a premium subscription starting at $39.99/year ($19.99/year if you purchase it in the first 24 hours after creating your account), you also get the benefits of creating masked phone numbers and credit cards, sync between devices, secure backups and priority support.

In an era in which you give away such a big amount of information, and hope no bad people get hold of it, Blur is certainly worth checking out if you are looking to have a more secure and enjoyable online experience.

Download from the Play Store.

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