ZenMate VPN Review
ZenMate VPN - Full Review
When you connect to the internet via a VPN, your data is protected as it travels through a an encrypted ‘tunnel’, preventing third parties from being able to view it. This has become increasingly important in recent years, with hackers and ISPs intent on finding out about your online activity.
Unless you’re an expert, it can be difficult to know which VPN to choose – there are hundreds of competing services available, all promising that their product is the best. We’ve tested out a host of VPNs to see how they fare, and today we’re looking at ZenMate VPN.
While a VPN is essential for keeping your information private and secure, there is one downside – the circuitous route that the encryption process takes to connect you to the internet leads to slower speeds. Some VPNs deal with this issue better than others, and ZenMate promises “lightning speeds” – sadly, it did not live up to this claim.
Our internet base speed stood at a touch under 100mbps before testing, but when we connected to the VPN it dropped to an average of 55mbps – a 45% drop. If your base speed is good then this may not cause you any problems but, if not, you are likely to experience some issues when playing games online or streaming HD video.
With a base of 3,800 servers spanning 78 countries, ZenMate’s service ensure you should have no trouble finding a reliable, quick connection. While most of these servers are located in Europe and North America, there are plenty elsewhere in the world too – so if you like to watch foreign TV shows, ZenMate can provide access to a wide range of content libraries on streaming apps (see Streaming below for more details).
The primary purpose of a VPN for most people is its ability to keep your information secure, and ZenMate boasts a number of features to this end. An automatic kill switch function means you are safe from the possibility of data leaks if your VPN disconnects, while the service uses AES-256 encryption to hide your activity.
ZenMate operates a no-logging policy, which means the company does not record, log or store any of your information – adding an extra later of protection in the event that the company is hacked, or your ISP requests your details.
During testing we detected no data leaks whatsoever, so you can be confident that ZenMate is a VPN you can trust.
If you’re ever been abroad tried to log into Netflix only to be confronted with the ‘Whoops, something went wrong…’ screen, you’ll know how frustrating geo-blocking software can be.
Major streaming apps vary their content library from region to region, meaning you can only access some shows in certain location – but some VPNs are able to bypass geo-restrictions by routing their connection through a server in the country where the content is available.
When we tested it, ZenMate was reasonably good at finding a way around these restrictions. Connecting to a different Netflix content library was hit and miss –it worked roughly half of the time we tried – but we were able to consistently access additional content libraries for Amazon Prime and Disney Plus.
Torrenting remains a controversial subject – there are calls to ban it because it is often used to transfer copyrighted material – and ZenMate used to ban P2P software outright on its servers. However, they have changes approach in recent years and now allow unlimited P2P traffic on their paid packages.
The low speeds mentioned above does make torrenting a little more complicated – large files will take far longer to download than they do without the VPN – but overall ZenMate is a perfectly decent product if you’re a regular torrent user.
While the loss of speed caused by connecting to a VPN isn’t necessarily a barrier to playing games online, the increase in ping can cause problems. The results we saw during testing did not reflect well upon ZenMate in this regard, with a big increase in latency that is likely to mean that your gaming sessions will be affected by significant lag.
Although online gaming might be difficult when connected to a ZenMate server, this VPN may improve your offline gaming experience; many games have staggered release dates and are available to download in some places earlier than others – by connecting to a server located in a country where the game has been released, you should be able to access it even if it hasn’t been released in your country yet.
ZenMate has a wide-ranging and flexible pricing structure designed to suit all needs. There’s a reasonably good free option which provides high-level security but only has four servers and a 2mbps download speed limit – perfectly good if you just require a VPN for web browsing, but little use if you want to stream HD video or play games online – as well as two separate paid options.
The Pro plan costs $5.99 per month (or as little as $1.99 per month if you sign up for a one year subscription) and is specifically for web browsers and has no limit on download speeds.
The Ultimate plan costs $10.99 per month ($4.49 per month for a year or $1.64 per month for three years) and allows you to connect unlimited devices simultaneously as well as offering P2P support, on top of everything the pro plan includes.
ZenMate offers a range of options if you just want to test the product out. As well as the free plan, there is a seven-day free unlimited trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee if you use the service for a little longer but decide it’s not for you.
Is ZenMate Free?
ZenMate offers a free plan with four server locations and a download speed limit of 2mbps.
Is ZenMate any good?
It offers excellent security and a wide server base, but poor download speeds mean it is of limited use if you are a data-intensive user.
How do I enable ZenMate in Chrome?
Enabling ZenMate in Chrome is easy – simply click on the ZenMate VPN Extension in your browser, check ‘Automatically Connect’ and then pick a location.
How do I sign up for ZenMate?
To sign up for ZenMate, go to the pricing section of their website, choose your package and confirm your details.
Is ZenMate secure?
ZenMate has a range of security measures and operates a no-logging policy, so your personal details and online activity will be kept safe.
ZenMate’s range of price plans make it an attractive proposition whatever your situation, and it has a sizeable server base and impressive security features. However there are major question marks over the speeds it is capable of reaching; if your data usage is relatively low then it could be a good choice, but if you regularly use streaming apps or you’re an online gamer, there are better choices available.