VPN Reviews

ZenMate VPN Review – Privacy At Your Fingertips

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

ZenMate is a free privacy solution which is being used by over 12 million people. Established by the German company ZenGuard GmbH, the product won Germany’s Startup of the year award as well as Europas Award for Best Security/Privacy Startup of 2014. This Zenmate review will explore all the features offered by the service and reveal whether it is a good idea to use it.

Server Locations & Site Access – ZenMate has deployed its servers at strategic locations across America, Europe and Asia. Free subscribers get access to servers located at United States, United Kingdom, Romania, Germany and Hong Kong whereas Premium (paid) subscribers can access premium servers located at United States West, Switzerland, France, Canada and Singapore.

Depending on whether you subscribe to Free or Premium plan, you would be able to unblock On-Demand streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Videos, HBO Now, Netflix, Mio TV, Arte, Zattoo, Pandora, Global TV, WimpMusic, USA Network, iTV Player, Canal+, TVB, ABC Player, CBC, Hulu, Spotify, RTL, Direct 8, Lovefilm, Wilmaa, Rara, FOX, Much Music, HBO Go, Vudu, MTV, MyTV, Eurosport, CBS, Xfinity, City TV, CTV, Demand 5, Bravo, Sky Go, 4OD, CWTV, TNT, MLB, NBC, NHL and Vevo from any location.

The service can also help you to access Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Viber and Skype from restrictive corporate environments and countries (Middle East and Latin America). However, the company has explicitly mentioned on its website that the service may not work correctly in certain countries like China, Saudi Arabia and Iran which is indeed a big drawback. On the positive side, there are no restrictions on server switches which means you can access premium content from many different countries with your subscription.

VPN Speed & Bandwidth – ZenMate does not throttle speed or restrict bandwidth. The service even compresses data which means you can browse and download faster and save money on your data costs. Premium subscribers also get access to Smart Location and Turbo Speed features which deliver faster speeds and allow you to customize how the service connects to your favorite sites. The speed and bandwidth available (even for free users) are good enough to stream content, use VOIP, download huge files and play games over the internet.

Privacy Settings – ZenMate relies on industry grade TLS standard (with 128 bit AES encryption) to protect your online sessions. Whether you are at home or connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, the service will protect you from snooping, surveillance and hacking threats and protect your sensitive data (financial transactions and passwords) at all times. The service even routes all DNS queries through its network (by using a cached version of Google Public DNS) so there is no chance of DNS leaks.

The service is available as a browser extension, mobile app or a desktop client. Free users can only use the service via the browser plugin which means only their browsing sessions would be secured (all other applications won’t get the VPN protection). For those who are concerned about their privacy, I would recommend to switch to the premium version since a browser based privacy service can leak your real IP address through a variety of methods (for instance, WebRTC, Java, Flash etc.).

ZenMate doesn’t keep a record of your online sessions. Since the company is based in Germany, it needs to follow strong German laws related to data collection and protection. The company doesn’t record personally identifiable details while you are using the service nor does it hand over personal data of subscribers to third parties.

Supported Operating Systems – ZenMate offers browser plugins for Firefox, Chrome and Opera browsers running on Windows and Mac OS X operating systems. In addition, the service is also available as an app for Android and iOS devices. As mentioned earlier, desktop clients, which offer the ability to anonymize all types of traffic and not just the browsing sessions, are available only to Premium subscribers. Premium subscribers can also use the service on multiple devices and get additional protection via Malware Blocking and Tracking Protection features. It is also possible to manage devices and account from a single ZenMate Account Dashboard.

Customer Support – ZenMate provides customer support via email. The provider has even published a detailed FAQ section on its website that can help you to troubleshoot common errors.

Pricing Options – ZenMate Premium costs €8.99 per month for the monthly plan, €7.99 a month for the half-yearly plan and €6.49 a month for the yearly plan. You can try the service for a full 7 days before needing an upgrade. In addition, the company also offers a 14 day money back guarantee.

Final Verdict – On the whole, ZenMate delivers a fantastic service. The free version allows everyone to secure their browsing sessions while the Premium version comes with loads of advanced features. On the downside, the service doesn’t work in China and some Middle Eastern countries which is a big letdown for expats and travelers visiting these locations. As far as my final recommendation is concerned, I would definitely recommend that you test drive the service and upgrade to the Premium version if you are happy with the features on offer. For more information, please visit: www.zenmate.com.

July 11, 2015

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