This German service, once best known for its free VPN apps, now focuses on providing a premium VPN service.
There are more fully-featured services out there, but not many (exceptions above!) provide as much bang for your buck as ZenMate VPN.
It offers servers in 35 countries, keeps no logs that can compromise its users’ privacy, and its Windows and Mac apps feature the all-important kill switches needed to keep your browsing safe.
P2P torrenting is a-go, all connections are secured using very robust IKEv2 or OpenVPN encryption, and you can connect up to 5 devices at the same time.
You have nothing to worry about as I have laid out the necessary tips on things you need to know about this VPN service before using it.
I hope you are ready to learn?
Now let’s dive in,
The post is a very direct and understandable one, check out the list of things I will be covering today. Click on any to reveal its content.
- About ZenMate (Overview)
- Compatible Devices
- Features of ZenMate
- Speed and Performance
- Price (Free or Paid version)
- Privacy and Security
- Pros and Cons
1. About ZenMate (Overview)
Established in 2014, ZenMate is a Berlin-based provider of secure VPN tunneling services. Initially, it was a free privacy extension for Chrome.
Fast-forwarding to three years, ZenMate has now jumped onto the freemium bandwagon.
It offers compatibility to popular devices and operating systems, while still providing plug-ins for Opera, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox browsers.
Sadly, ZenMate’s policy of maintaining complete logs of user activity is a complete deal-breaker.
Streaming – Does ZenMate Work with Netflix?
Given its unique streaming guarantee, my first test was to see if ZenMate could unblock some of the most popular streaming services. Unfortunately, it failed to unblock several of the most popular sites.
ZenMate now has dedicated streaming profiles with servers optimized for each platform, but it didn’t unblock all of them.
Netflix US: Yes, I could unblock Netflix US.
Hulu: Yes, I could unblock Hulu.
BBC iPlayer: Yes, I could unblock BBC iPlayer.
HBO GO: Yes, I could unblock HBO GO.
Amazon Prime Video: Yes, I could unblock Amazon Prime Video
2. Compatible Devices
ZenMate offers native apps for most major operating systems, including Windows, iOS, Mac OS, Android, and Fire TV.
Zenmate browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. These can be handy for browsing and streaming but bear in mind that browser extensions only encrypt the traffic that’s going through your web browser.
All other apps on your device, for example, media players and torrenting apps, will remain exposed. Use the native apps if you want protection beyond your web browser.
You can protect up to five devices at the same time with a single ZenMate account.
ZenMate is compatible with:
- Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and some Chromium-based browsers
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire Stick
Its OpenVPN support allows you to install it on various gaming consoles, smart TVs, and operating systems like Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu.
3. Features of ZenMate
ZenMate comes as a browser extension, desktop app for Windows and Mac, and as mobile apps for iOS and Android.
I strongly recommend that you try out the desktop version to get a good feel of the performance, as the browser extension isn’t really a VPN but an encrypted proxy.
From the usability perspective, ZenMate must be one of the most straightforward clients I’ve used. Download the file, and it’s up and running in a matter of seconds.
UI is dead-simple you have the selection of locations you can filter manually by entering the country in the search field.
The bad news is there is nothing you can tweak in ZenMate’s simplistic desktop app. Nor can you access any technical specs of the connection. On the bright side, ZenMate is available in many languages and slated toward beginners.
The Settings are basic you can enable a Kill Switch, DNS Leak Protection, and run ZenMate on system startup. Activation of Kill Switch requires elevating the app to the administrator level.
There’s a feature called EverSecure, which appears to force the app to reconnect whenever the connection is lost.
The app works seamlessly, and I experienced no crashes, freezes or problems disconnecting and changing servers.
On a side note, ZenMate’s weak point seems to be its nonexistent support. You can send them a ticket, only to get an automatic reply from a bot saying you should be able to get a reply from a human in one to five business days.
And then another one from a bot, encouraging you to fix the issue on your own by going through their FAQs, in case you hadn’t done so already.
Perhaps, it’s not a crucial turnoff, always and if you remember that the subscription auto-renews. Once you get automatically charged for the next billing period, there is no way to get a refund.
4. Speed and Performance
Speed is ZenMate VPN’s strong suit. As you can see from our testing, every server we looked at performed well, with only South Africa lagging behind the rest.
In fact, the speeds were so high that they raised suspicions regarding how traffic is handled on ZenMate VPN, but we’ll touch more on that in the “security” section.
|Location:||Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
Starting with the nearest server to where we did our testing in the U.S., we found that ping time was manageable and we lost so little of our download and upload speeds that the difference in performance wasn’t noticeable.
The same was true with the UK servers which were much farther from us at over 3,500 miles away.
Japan is even farther, measuring a whopping 6,800 miles away, and still retained a respectable level of performance.
Browsing was responsive and there was only a brief moment before pages began to load.
Once they began loading, they were loaded in about the same amount of time as they would take without a VPN connection.
Germany is roughly 4,200 miles away and offered similar performance to the UK with an almost negligible drop in performance.
Finally, South Africa was the only server to underperform. Granted, it’s the farthest server from where our testing was done at just over 8,000 miles away.
5. Price (Free or Paid version)
ZenMate offers two membership tiers. The limited free plan for Firefox, Opera, and Chrome browser extensions allows you to connect to up to four different locations at a maximum speed of 2 Mbps.
If you’d like more locations, higher speeds, or to use the desktop app, you have three subscription options.
You can sign on for one month, one year, or two years. The longer the plan, the better discount you’ll receive. The two-year plan works out to be the cheapest.
ZenMate accepts PayPal, credit cards, and UnionPay.
6. Privacy and Security
ZenMate VPN has a zero-logs policy and it’s based in Germany, which has strict data protection laws. Unfortunately, “zero-logs” doesn’t quite mean that.
On the website, ZenMate VPN records non-personal information regarding usage, including what browser you’re using and how much time you spend on the website.
Personal information is collected during the account creation process, including email address, name and, if you choose to get the Ultimate plan, payment information.
ZenMate VPN also uses what are called “tracking pixels” when it sends emails, which allows it to track the success rate of its emails by seeing whether you opened them.
7. Pros and Cons
- Easy to use
- Strong encryption
- Built-in kill switch
- A large number of servers
- Torrenting is allowed (with P2P)
- Unlocks Netflix and YouTube
- Questionable privacy and logging
- Limited customer support
ZenMate is packed with great features, and its app is one of the best I’ve used.
Its premium plans are well-priced, while its limited free plan provides adequate security and a choice of four servers.
You’ll enjoy a nice discount if you opt for its two-year plan. All of its paid subscriptions offer the same great features.
ZenMate was also extremely fast. Although I lost a little speed using the US server, my local server provided optimal speeds.
Its customer support really impressed me. Although I always favor a VPN that offers live chat, I received a full response to my email within 10 minutes.
If you’re looking to invest in a VPN for torrenting, browsing, and general security, ZenMate is a great choice.
This is where I will wrap up the post for today on ZenMate Review
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