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BSN’s Avira Phantom VPN Review: The German

Dominik

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Avira VPN Review

As one of Germany’s largest software companies, Avira is a well-established name across numerous service categories, virtual private networks included. But how well does the Avira Phantom VPN fare in today’s fiercely competitive market? That’s what this review aimed to find out.


Avira Phantom VPN Review
4.07 BSN Score
Pros
Fantastic pricing even without a multi-year commitment. Clean design. Punches way above its weight in terms of performance.
Cons
Throttles torrenting traffic. A bit rough around the edges when it comes to features and execution.
Summary
If torrenting isn’t among the top two reasons pushing you toward a paid VPN subscription, Avira Phantom is a service that’s worth taking for a spin as it may very well end up saving you a decent pile of cash in the long run.
Performance4
Privacy & Security4.5
Ease of Use3.5
Pricing4

Avira Phantom VPN Performance

As is the case with even the best VPN providers, the number one factor determining how Avira Phantom VPN will perform on your end is the physical proximity between yourself and its closest server cluster. Every other consideration is a distant second. In the vast majority of cases, this VPN will do your Internet connection justice by not getting in its way. Which is

Any VPN performing on par with Avira would be a perfectly capable cog in most torrenting setups you can think of. Unfortunately, Avira isn’t big on peer-to-peer sharing and doesn’t even try to hide the fact it heavily throttles all such traffic. The actual data handicap depends on your tracker of choice and even time of day, based on our testing. But regardless of how much connection throttling you can tolerate, Avira was quite obviously designed to dissuade you from using it to facilitate torrenting. So, if P2P sharing is among your top motivations to invest in a tunneling service in the first place, there’s no shortage of excellent VPNs for torrenting who will gladly take your money and grant you unrestricted access to their infrastructure.

Avira Phantom VPN Privacy & Security

Avira Phantom VPN is at its strongest when viewed through the prism of privacy and security – arguably the most crucial aspects of any such software. It doesn’t keep logs, it doesn’t build data profiles of any sort, and it even lets you turn off diagnostic data, which is a rarity among apps even when looking at a privacy-focused category such as VPNs. For clarity, we’re talking about info such as last login time and account type (free or premium) which Avira Phantom leverages to figure out how many Netizens re even using it on any basis.

Regarding auxiliary features, there aren’t that many here, but it’s not like you’re short on options for adblockers, password managers, and whatever else it is that VPN providers are bundling with their core services these days. And while this kind of vanilla experience isn’t something you’d expect from a versatile software company such as Avira, it’s not that we’re complaining – it’s a refreshing change to use an app that assumes you understood its value proposition even before installing it.

Avira Phantom VPN Warrant Canary

Avira builds on its strong privacy foundations with some truly transparent reporting practices. Including a universal warrant canary. As it doesn’t keep any user logs, it doesn’t have anything to give up even if confronted by authorities. The company itself is based out of Tettnang, Germany, which won’t be enough to put the minds of the most paranoid among us that search for the best country for VPN anonymity, but it’s not that far off, either.

Avira Phantom VPN Ease of Use

From a design perspective, Avira Phantom VPN is as straightforward as software gets. Launch it, click the big “Connect” button, wait until it says “connected” and enjoy your new secure line to the Internet. Engineering-wise, however, it does leave something to be desired. Particularly when it doesn’t even ask to get added to your default Windows firewall whitelist. Consequently sending you on a 10-minute troubleshooting endeavor before you even started using it.

I won’t rule out the possibility that this annoyance had a system-specific cause, but out of countless VPN services I’ve reviewed in recent times, Avira Phantom was the only one that wasn’t happy with its default installation settings. Like, whose fault is that?

Avira Phantom VPN Pricing

At $5,95 per month, Avira is definitely on the more affordable end of VPN solutions. Best of all, it doesn’t require you to purchase 20 years’ worth of its services before it’s willing to treat you to its best pricing tier. This is a pretty clever way to stand out in today’s ultra-competitive, but also extremely pushy VPN market.

The fact that its free version doesn’t cripple functionality but simply caps your data at 500MB (1GB with a registered account) is also praiseworthy, even though it’s hardly unique. Still, overengineering trial versions of your app is rarely a good first impression and many VPN providers fall into that trap instead of just letting their product speak for itself.

On a less stellar note, while it does have a 30-day refund policy like many of its rivals, Avira isn’t exactly in the no-questions-asked boat. It just outsourced the dirty work to payment processing company Cleverbridge. So, while you can definitely get your money back without a particular reason within that period, expect Cleverbridge to give you a run-around.

Avira Phantom VPN Review Summary

To conclude our Avira Phantom VPN review, we have to say that Avira isn’t the most versatile tunneling service of its kind but it does way more than enough to stand out once its extremely affordable pricing is factored in. If torrenting isn’t among the top two reasons pushing you toward a paid VPN subscription, Avira Phantom is a service that’s worth taking for a spin as it may very well end up saving you a decent pile of cash in the long run.

 


Editor’s Note

BSN’s Avira Phantom VPN Review has been written by Dominik Bosnjak, a long-time VPN-user-turned-advocate who spends more time scrutinizing VPN Providers on a daily basis than he’d like to admit. When he isn’t writing VPN Guides and covering general Tech News, he’s probably spending time with his dog, video games, or both. Fun fact: the Shih Tzu in question is the only remaining creature in Dominik’s life who hasn’t told him they’re sick of him talking about Best VPN practices and government-sponsored erosion of digital privacy which made using the Internet less convenient over the years. He occasionally dabbles in video editing, Wall Street memes, and demonstrating a remarkable lack of guitar-playing ability.

If you want more tidbit-sized rants about any of those things, you can find him on Twitter @dddominikk.

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