Turbo VPN has been a household name in the virtual private network segment for numerous years now, but how well does it fare against other popular alternatives, exactly? In short – well enough, at least for a service that’s first and foremost a freemium solution for unblocking content.
Then again, this review was meant to test Turbo VPN as a full-fledged VPN, and it wouldn’t be fair to say it totally excelled on that front.
Turbo VPN Performance
We’ll mostly let the numbers from Ookla’s Speedtest speak for themselves here, but the takeaway is that Turbo VPN’s free tier is pretty much trash for anything but reading news online. Even image-heavy social media like Instagram might give it trouble as the bandwidth is absolutely horrendous.
To our surprise, not even the VIP variant of the service provided smooth sailing or anything close. Depending on whether the VPN server you’re connecting to is on the same continent or not, you might be looking at a performance drop of as much as 65%, according to our testing.
A best-case scenario has you losing some 30% of your throughput, which is still a lot, especially for a paid VPN connection. In most cases, that will still be enough to provide a seamless Netflix experience, but it’s far from the best bang for your buck.
Note that the premium-level speeds were taken on mobile because the desktop version of Turbo VPN is merely a barebones app with support for a handful of free servers.
One particularly curious performance-related issue we’d encountered with Turbo VPN manifested in the form of server connection times. Namely, they were excruciatingly long more often than not; we’re talking 30+ seconds long. Unless you’re looking for a nostalgic trip down the dial-up memory line, that’s a major flaw in our books.
Turbo VPN Privacy & Security
With a network of over 10,000 servers spanning 50 countries, Turbo VPN pretty much guarantees you’ll be able to go around any and all kinds of location-based content restrictions. End-to-end encryption is also part of the package, made in accordance with the latest security standards in the industry (read: 256-bit keys based on OpenVPN).
However, make no mistake about the main purpose of Turbo VPN, which isn’t security but simply obfuscating one’s traffic origin in order to circumvent simple content limitations.
Again, this is merely yet another reason to stay clear of it if you care about protecting your internet traffic data and (other) identifiable information from prying, data-hungry excuses for sustainable digital businesses.
Turbo VPN Warrant Canary
Surprise: Turbo VPN offers no warrant canary to speak of. Given its many other lax practices concerning user security and privacy, it would be absolutely naive to expect anything else. You can read up on our introduction to warrant canaries for details on why the lack of this transparency tool is a notable omission from any VPN provider’s portfolio, but again, in the case of Turbo VPN, its policies are already so full of holes that we’d be shocked if it actually kept an up-to-date version of anything resembling a warrant canary.
Turbo VPN Ease of Use
If there’s one thing freemium VPN services understand, it’s that intuitiveness is everything, and Turbo VPN is no different in this regard. The desktop app for Windows is super easy to use and navigate, even if the actual functionality behind it is somewhat lackluster; yes, we’re still complaining about long connection times.
We also have only good things to say about the Android implementation of the service, especially compared to countless shady VPN apps that can be found on the Google Play Store. Make no mistake: that’s a pretty low bar to set, but the fact remains Turbo VPN cleared it by delivering a comprehensive package that’s easy to navigate.
Turbo VPN Pricing
Turbo VPN is far from the only player in the segment primarily focused on the free tier of its service but it’s somewhat unique in the sense that getting the company to accept your money is a surprisingly convoluted process. Finding an option to upgrade to a VIP Account is a challenge in and of itself, while the prices themselves are nothing to write home about.
Still, to save you the trouble, you need to download either the Android or iOS Turbo VPN app in order to sign up for a VIP Account. That’s largely due to the fact desktops are merely an afterthought for the company.
More specifically, a no-commitment monthly subscription will set you back $14.99 every 30 days, with the company quite obviously designing its offerings to push you into a longer contract; a year-long one equates to just over $3.50 a month, for example.
Making matters even worse here is the fact there’s only a three-day money-back guarantee, a far cry from an industry standard of 30. If you’re brave enough to take the free tier on a ride, you can also expect ads of various types in all of your content, which is how Turbo VPN is paying for the bandwidth you’re using, as per its official FAQ.
In that sense, Turbo VPN VIP is like a slightly better version of Hola VPN Plus, but if you’ve read our review of the latter, you’d know that’s not a massive commendation. If anything, the service is overpriced for what it is – a mobile-first solution that’s been primarily devised as an unblocker, not a robust virtual private network tailored toward privacy-conscious individuals.
Turbo VPN VIP Review Summary
Turbo VPN isn’t a bad option for someone looking for a mobile-first VPN primarily for the purpose of unblocking various forms of content but it fails to meet a number of basic requirements when it comes to privacy. That makes it something to avoid if you’re anything but the most casual prospective VPN user, as nice as its Android and iOS apps may look.
BSN’s Turbo 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.
The overall score doesn’t represent an average of all individual ratings but a weighted average which values Performance as 33%, Privacy & Security as 33%, Ease of Use as 12%, and Pricing as 22% of the final figure. It’s meant to standardize our reviews by giving more weight to the attributes we value the most in VPNs (speed, privacy, and security) without completely disregarding the rest. Naturally, much like any other review out there, the starting points/ratings are still inherently subjective to a particular reviewer’s experience.