A VPN allows you to gain access to content that would otherwise not be available in your country. Relying on a VPN for mobile traffic is also a good way to remain anonymous. Which VPN apps are worth using? There are plenty of free VPN services as well as paid ones, and finding the right one can be challenging.
I put six different VPN services through a series of tests to determine which ones are worth using. I used Speedtest and the speedof.me HTML5 to test six of the most popular all-in-one VPN apps available on Android. I also used Android's built-in VPN tool, which is easy to use once you make a few tweaks.
Why Should You Use A VPN?
A Virtual Private Network or VPN funnels Internet traffic via a remote server. Your real IP address remains hidden and it looks like traffic is coming from a different location. The data you send and receive is encrypted as it goes through the remote server, which makes your activities more private. You can use an unsecured Wi-Fi network and the VPN service will still give you access to a private connection.
You can use a VPN service to make it look like you are in a different location and access services like the BBC and other geo-restricted service providers. You should know that Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services are blocking VPNs and that there are a few security issues associated with using VPNs. Providers like Hola VPN encountered security issues and the VPN service you choose to use will have access to all your browsing information and to the data you share online.
Increased latency can be an issue since using a VPN means data goes through another "hop". A fast and reliable VPN should not have a noticeably slower speed but you might notice a delay if you use a free mobile VPN for video calling or similar activities. Speed varies a lot from one service to another, which is why I compared speed when testing different VPNs. You can check out the best VPN services for mobiles or alternatively read our quick oversight below.
The TunnelBear app has a really cute design and I also liked their bear mascot. I thought the VPN performance was solid. TunnelBear doesn't have any ads and the app is a more pleasant experience than some freemium VPNs. There are different services from around the world.
Data is limited on the free tier. Users get 500MB each month and can get more if they tweet about TunnelBear. Getting unlimited data costs $4 per month. You will need an account to use this service.
This is a well-designed service with a convenient interface and a viking mascot. I think VPN services like using mascots? Opera VPN was one of the best services for speed but I had a few connection issues. There are a few ads that did not distract me when browsing. This was a good experience since there is no paid tier.
Opera VPN blocks Torrents and only offers five service locations to choose from. It's still a good option for a free and fast service.
The Betternet app has a few design flaws like the full-screen navigation drawer and some full-screen pop-ups when the app is launched. The ads are not intrusive during navigation. Speed was not great. The two tests I did showed speed under a megabit. The free version does not let you manually change your server location. Switching to a faster server is not an option if you get abad one like I did.
The paid version costs $12 per month which is more expensive than other services. The speeds are faster, there are more servers to choose from and no ad. I think I would still pass on this deal.
Turbo VPN does not really offer "turbo" speed but it still measures up to other Android VPN apps. I thought the app was clean and easy to use and liked the rabbit mascot. I didn't like the full-screen ads.
Turbo VPN only offers five server locations. This is pretty good for a free VPN service but the ads are really a drawback, especially when comparing this service to Opera VPN.
This is the fastest VPN service I tested. Some of the ads can be annoying but this is nothing compared to Turbo VPN. The free version offered only a few server locations but the app was a good experience.
The premium service offered by Hotspot Shield costs $12 per month, which is pretty expensive. However, this license includes VPN services on Windows and Mac. Unless you need a desktop VPN service as well, the cost is not justified.