Yubico YubiKey C Bio FIDO Edition Review: Fast, Smart, and Secure

Rating: 9.5/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $85
Both the USB-C and USB-A versions of the YubiKey Bio Series security keys on a tablet next to a laptop
Kevin Bonnett

It’s hard to argue with security that’s fast and easy to use, and that’s precisely what Yubico’s YubiKey C Bio FIDO Edition security key offers. It offers all the safety measures of a traditional security key and adds on a fingerprint reader for simple top-notch security, and we love it.

Here's What We Like

  • Super fast
  • Accurate fingerprint reader
  • Easy enough for anyone to use

And What We Don't

  • Kinda pricey
  • Could have a more compact form factor

Although physical security keys might not be for everyone, Yubico’s new YubiKey C Bio makes an excellent case for getting one. Why? With the addition of a biometric authentication layer, this key is far more secure than an entry-level security key (or, god forbid, a 2FA text code or the simple password you told your browser to remember for you) and a great way to protect your information and accounts whether it’s for work or just at home.

And, hey, it helps that the YubiKey C Bio is super fast and easy to use, too. Yubico’s powerful hardware security for all of your precious information in a single intuitive device? Heck yes. We can’t recommend this convenient little gadget enough.

Features and Compatibility

Yubico sent me both the USB-A and USB-C versions of the FIDO Edition keys, but I only tested the YubiKey C Bio. Both have support for FIDO2/WebAuthn and FIDO U2F, giving you secure passwordless multi-factor authentication. They’ll work on platforms supporting WebAuthn—like Windows macOS, Chrome OS, and Linux—as well as across Chromium-based browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

The security key is compatible with a wide variety of services like Google, Microsoft, Coinbase, 1Password,  Twitter, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox Business, Facebook,  Ebay, GitLab, Oracle,  Shopify, and a ton more. It’s worth noting that the key does not work with Windows Hello to unlock your computer, however.

The USB-C key plugged into a laptop, top-down shot
Kevin Bonnett

While it is designed for desktop and workstation applications and built for business, you can absolutely still use it to protect your personal information. It may well be too pricey or overkill for the average user, but personally, I don’t think it ever hurts to have extra security. It’s definitely a great option for those who will use it professionally, though, for cloud-first environments or hybrid cloud- and on-premise environments (and no matter whether you’re a privileged user, or part of a remote workforce or mobile-restricted environment).

Setup and Backups

Getting the YubiKey C Bio set up was painless for the most part. It took literally just one or two minutes to plug in the key to my Windows laptop and enroll my fingerprints on it. And don’t worry if you aren’t a Windows user—you also have the option to set up the key using Linux (Ubuntu 18.04 or later), macOS (Catalina or Big Sur), or Chrome OS (93 or later).

All you’ll need to do is simply plug in the key to your computer, and a prompt will automatically pop up and walk you through the fingerprint enrollment process. It does allow you to enroll multiple fingerprints, and I recommend adding at least two prints, whether that’s one from each hand (you never know when you’ll need to securely access your Twitter account while you’re in the middle of making dinner or painting your masterpiece, after all) or one fingerprint each from you and your spouse.

Yubico does recommend getting a backup key, as well, since it’s always possible to lose your primary key if you aren’t careful. If you just have one computer you use at home, this is likely overkill. However, if you use several devices and are constantly taking them with you on the go or using them on multiple public networks, I support Yubico in its recommendation to pick up a backup. Yeah, that’s another $85 or so, but that’s really not a high price to pay for security for those who genuinely need it. It’s also available in a USB-A form.

Regardless, setting up the key was super easy and didn’t take long, which I really appreciated. The process is incredibly streamlined, too, which makes it a super approachable device for those who aren’t super tech-savvy.

Daily Use

The USB-C key plugged in to a tablet trying to access Twitter
Kevin Bonnett

Just as setting up the YubiKey C Bio was a cinch, so too was actually using it each day. The fast-to-read fingerprint sensor never took a long time to detect and verify my fingerprint. It’s also highly intuitive, as it has blinking LED lights that let me know when it is reading my print and once it has successfully verified it. This is a small touch that I appreciated having, so I always knew what the gadget was doing.

The key is the standard YubiKey size, too. It doesn’t take up much room in my bag or desk or wherever. It was slightly annoying to have hanging off the side of my laptop as I moved around with it, as I imagine people might do in an in-person office; however, if you’ll be keeping your laptop at your desk or using it on a desktop tower, it’s totally fine (you may want to pick up a USB hub to make it easier on your desktop, though). Overall, the C Bio always worked quickly, never had any issues, and did a good job keeping all of my information safe.


Final Thoughts

The YubiKey C Bio makes security exactly what it should be: secure, easy, and fast. It’s more secure than a traditional security key, thanks to the onboard fingerprint reader that’s nigh impossible to fool, but still incredibly easy to use no matter who you are. While I wish it was just a pinch smaller, I’m sure that’s something that Yubico will implement in future versions as the technology improves. This is an outstanding gadget that anyone who cares about security should pick up.

Rating: 9.5/10
Price: $85

Here’s What We Like

  • Super fast
  • Accurate fingerprint reader
  • Easy enough for anyone to use

And What We Don't

  • Kinda pricey
  • Could have a more compact form factor

Suzanne Humphries Suzanne Humphries
Suzanne Humphries is the Commerce Editor for Review Geek. She has over six years of experience across multiple publications researching and testing products, as well as writing and editing news, reviews, and how-to articles covering software, hardware, entertainment, networking, electronics, gaming, apps, security, finance, and small business. Read Full Bio »

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