Avira Phantom VPN review: When surfing the web, it’s easy to make sure no one is looking over your shoulder. But attackers can intercept your data without your knowledge, while advertisers and your ISP are indeed engaged in similar activities. With a VPN (a virtual private network), like the Avira Phantom VPN, you are protected against many network threats. This subscription VPN service is easy to use and affordable but leaves something desired in terms of performance and features.
Avira Phantom VPN review: Privacy and logging
Avira Phantom VPN makes a good start in the field of privacy with a free account that does not need to be registered. The service does its job to protect your traffic with support for the OpenVPN protocol, although your inability to change or modify it in any way (e.g., by choosing new ports) can be a problem for experts.
Avira’s free plan does not give you a kill switch, which means there is a small chance that your identity will be given away if the VPN connection is lost. However, this is not a problem if you upgrade, and the free and paid editions both give you competent DNS leak protection. We have checked the desktop and mobile clients with IPLeak, DNSLeakTest, and DoILeak and found no privacy leaks of any kind.
Avira has a small amount of no-logging detail in it. How small? This is what it says: If you use Avira Phantom VPN, we do not collect any data about the web pages you visit or the services you use on the Internet. The information we need for our billing system only tells us when someone was online and what data volume was used.
In other words, there is limited session logging (connection and disconnection times, data used), but the company does not record any data about what exactly you do online. We would like to see this in more detail, but it is generally still good news.
Avira Phantom VPN review: Performance
Avira makes no specific claims about its unblocking ability, so we put it to the test by looking at several popular sites. The results weren’t bad at all. Sure, Phantom VPN failed with Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer, but the US Streaming location did give us access to US Netflix content, US YouTube and Disney+, which is better than we see with some specialized providers.
Download speeds in the UK were slightly below average at 50-55Mbps on a 75Mbps test line. Top VPNs typically manage 10-15Mbps more. However, performance has always been instrumental, with a peak of 40Mbps for UK-US connections and even UK-Australia roundtrips averaging 17Mbps. We checked our results by re-running the tests from a European data center, but despite a 350Mbps connection, the downloads peaked at 70-90Mbps.
So Avira Phantom VPN is not going to break any speed record, but it was always acceptable, with every location we tried to give us more than enough performance for most tasks.
Avira Phantom VPN review: Pricing and plans
Whatever you think of Phantom VPN’s features, there is a clear advantage in his free account. By default, this has a crippling 500MB/month data cap (plus you get five extra free minutes after hitting the limit, before disconnecting), and you’re not able to choose a location – the app automatically connects to your nearest server. However, no registration or email address is required: all you have to do is download, install, and connect. Just register with your email address, and you’ll get 1 GB. You will still not be able to stream anything, but maybe while traveling, it may be enough for the occasional use of low bandwidth.
Upgrading to a paid account gives you unlimited data, a kill switch to reduce the chance of a data leak if the VPN connection fails, and technical support to make everything run smoothly. The service is priced at $10 and drops to $6.50 if you pay a year in advance, or up to $5.99 to cover Android and iOS devices only. Buy the service this way, and it looks expensive. Private Internet Access’ annual plan ‘only’ covers up to 5 devices (mobile or desktop), but it’s much cheaper for a significant $2.85 for the first term, $3.33 for renewal.
Avira’s best deal comes in its a complete bundle of every application and service it sells antivirus, internet security, password management, device cleanup, and more. You can buy it for $75 in the first year, so cheaper than the VPN alone, rising to a still decent $100 a year after that.
For $10, Avira offers much of what we are looking for in a VPN at a reasonable price. It allows unlimited devices per account, has no problem enabling P2P or BitTorrent on any server and provides a free version are all excellent temptations. The precise data logging policy is also reassuring. That said, the app needs a visual revision, and the server offerings are far from robust. If you have many devices or do a lot of torrenting, be sure to look at Avira. That’s it for our Avira Phantom VPN review.
Avira Phantom VPN secures web browsing from as many devices as you like, and allows you to torpedo to your heart's content, but it's light on features and probably won't please speed, conscious users.
- The free account doesn't require registration
- Reasonable performance
- Connect as many devices as you need
- Unblocks US Netflix, Disney+
- Free account limited to 500MB/ 1GB a month
- Can only be used with the official apps
- Few features
- Can't unblock BBC iPlayer, Amazon