ZenMate is a VPN service provider based in Germany and is specifically designed for non-technical users. It boasts user-friendly interface and an easy-to-use software. This ZenMate review looks at the performance of the VPN service for its premium plans.
Besides offering the free service as a browser extension, ZenMate offers an affordable premium plan with AES 128 bit encryption and doesn’t claim to store users’ activity logs. But is it safe to use ZenMate service despite knowing that its country origin is amongst the 14-eyes countries? Continue reading our in-depth review to find out all the details.
- Easy to install and use
- Compatible with every platform and devices
- Encrypted with AES128
- No logs or traffic
- Unlimited bandwidth and turbo speed
- Affordable yearly pricing plan
- No live support
- Limited server location
Pricing and Plans
Even though ZenMate offers a free extension/plugin for web browsers, our ZenMate premium review is primarily concerned with its premium plan. Using the paid plan, your entire web activities are encrypted, while the free plan will only get the activities in your browser encrypted.The pricing plan offered by ZenMate is no different from other VPN providers designed in three tiers. The pricing tends to change as you increase the subscription time with the VPN provider.
- For a one year subscription, the product costs at $4.99/month
- For a six-month subscription, the product costs at $7.49/month
- For monthly subscription, the product costs at $8.99/month
It is great to see ZenMate have reduced their prices to a great margin. Its one-year subscription pricing plan stood at €6.49/month or $7.31, which was way more than the leading VPN providers in the industry.
If we were to assess the pricing previously, we would dare say the product is clearly over-priced. But considering the revised pricing plan, we believe it is a right match and the one which is worth it.
All major credit card options (VISA, MasterCard, American Express etc.) are available including UnionPay, Qiwi Wallet, and PayPal. However, we couldn’t locate BitCoin option, which means the company no longer supports BitCoin payments. It’s a shame to have been removed from the list. This would offer users an anonymous payment option, allowing anyone to sign up for the service without revealing personal information.
ZenMate Review: Server Count
Once you obtain a premium package, you can access to 29 different server locations, which is very low for a VPN service provider. Since ZenMate has recently started its premium services from being a browser extension, the performance seems very fair and it only will increase as the days prolong.
That said, the server list covers major locations and offers access to content from all over the globe. However, we would like to see more server options in the future.
For users who might want to contact ZenMate support staff on urgent basis can only contact through email. However, we found out that their responses were timely and covered all the aspects of the problem.Initially, it was difficult to locate how one would contact through email since it did not had a separate icon. We found out ‘Support through email’ inside FAQs, which we are sure a beginner wouldn’t have found the option with ease.
If ZenMate enhances their customer support with features such as forums or live chat, then it would be an excellent upgrade. It will allow users exchange information with other users and staff. It will further help ZenMate to improve their services on the basis of user’s recommendation.
Users can contact ZenMate customer support staff via social media as its available on Facebook and Twitter.
ZenMate Premium Review: Compatibility
ZenMate is accessible on many devices and platforms except for Linux as it doesn’t mention anywhere on its page.Users must remain certain that when using ZenMate as a browser extension, it will only encrypt browsing traffic, while other traffic will not be encrypted. However, the premium version of ZenMate covers the entire traffic from user’s device.
In the customer support section, it also covers ‘Tutorials’ where users are briefed with installation process for browser, mobile, and desktop. However, the process seems very descriptive with no images, which becomes difficult to follow the steps.
Despite these facts, downloading ZenMate software is an easy process which only involves two steps i.e. downloading the software and providing logging details. So, providing a tutorial or not, it can easily be accomplished by a beginner user.
Protocols and Encryption
From the technical aspect, the latest protocol TLS 1.2 (RFC 5246) is being used by ZenMate to protect users’ data. ZenMate further uses AES 128 bit encryption algorithm, instead of AES 256 bit, to encrypt user’s traffic. In our opinion, the encryption level isn’t the strongest as per industry standard.
Furhtmore, the lack of protocol options also play down ZenMate. The actual reason for this is not clear; perhaps its due to the cost or merely a preference of performance, we are not quite sure.
ZenMate vs Hola
Hola is a free web browser extension just like ZenMate, but has yet to offer a Premium Plan that could provide higher online security and privacy to its users. Hola is available in only 9 countries, whereas, ZenMate is present in 29 countries around the world.
The Premium Plan for ZenMate does not compromise or sell user information, in fact it does not store any logs or traffic. On the other hand, Hola sells your internet activity to third-parties and uses each user as a node in the overall network. Both these VPN services can be used by online users that do not have high requirements for online privacy.
ZenMate has mentioned on its website that ZenGuard GmbH is responsible for collection of any kind of data or it’s processing. This seems a bit doubtful from the users point of view as they’re trusting ZenMate with their information. The information is in fact managed by another party, which challenges the authority of ZenMate in accessing the data.
VPN users are still unknown to the facts about 14-eyes countries. These are the 14 countries that have made a special agreement that allows them to collect, analyze, and share intelligence amongst themselves.
The agreement restricts these countries to spy on each other as enemies, but rather they can help each other by spying onto their citizens. US is not allowed to spy on their own citizens, and considering that matter they can ask UK to spy on them, which makes citizens vulnerable.
Since ZenMate is located in Germany, which is a part of the agreement, it will have to compromise user’s data when it accounts for performing illegal activities.
For initial years, ZenMate has operated as web browser extension so that its users could access websites operating outside their country for free. We are certain that when a user does not pay for the product, that means ‘users’ are the product.
They might collect user’s information and browsing history and sell it to the third-party, therefore it doesn’t make ZenMate safe and secure for the paid services as well.
However, ZenMate has made it clear and evident that it does not collect, store, or process any user information. It further mentions that there are 5 different cases where this rule might not apply:
- When users contact with their customer support
- When subscribing to newsletter
- When providing information upon users request
- When users connect to a server to use ZenMate
- When users post a comment on forums and communities.
What does ZenMate do?
ZenMate provides protection and security to online users by letting them change their geographical location and to access the web from anywhere around the world.
What is ZenMate Used for?
ZenMate is used for accessing the web from any parts of the world that have geo-restrictions. ZenMate also offers protection and security to its users from external threats including cyber threats. It allows torrenting, visit the censored parts of the internet, using a public Wi-Fi, and allows expats to access online shops.
ZenMate Twitter Review
To some VPN users, ZenMate is easily the best VPN they have ever had the pleasure of using. This is because it helps them unblock Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and other channels so they can stream their favorite TV shows and movies outside their country region.
— Rednegade (@REDNEGADE_) April 20, 2017
Nick Tomaino, an investor at Runa Capital firmly believes that the first VPN product comes on his mind when thinking of privacy and security is ZenMate.
— Nick Tomaino (@NTmoney) October 5, 2016
ZenMate Review Reddit
One Reddit user have a conflicting belief when using ZenMate as he believes the service brought him a fine experience, but suggest the service is only good for Europeans who are trying to access websites in the US instead of the other way around.
ZenMate Video Review
In this video, BestVPN examines ZenMate VPN service including their unique selling proposition and discrepancies.