Zenmate

Unbiased Review and Comparison of May 2018

Visit Zenmate Website
Total Score: 7.3
Reat it!(4553)
  • Poor(132)
  • Average(322)
  • Good(97)
  • Great(5445)
  • Excellent(577)

Highlights

blueOKicon Easy to use
blueOKicon Features excellent browser extensions
blueOKicon Can be used for major streaming services

Our ratings for Zenmate

  • Privacy
    7.0
  • Speed
    8.0
  • Location
    7.1
  • Usability
    7.0
  • Support
    6.0
  • Value
    7.1

Recommended for

  • Privacy
    Additional tools such as the Killswitch and the DNS leak blocking tool which are very efficient. Also comes with strong ad blockers
  • Travel
    Since browser extensions are lightweight, hopping online privately is exceptionally easy.
  • Access
    Despite the lack of advanced tools, unblocking websites is simple.

Summary

ZenMate comes with its fair share of benefits and drawbacks. While it is easy to use and provides the basic protection, it doesn't have a consistent performance and lacks efficient customer support. However, it does have commendable speed as well as basic privacy.

Zenmate plans for April 2018

  • 1 Month
    $8.99
    per month
    blueOKiconConnect 5 devices simultaneously
    blueOKixcon30-days money back guarantee
    blueOKiconConnection to more than 30 countries
    VIEW PLAN
    SAVE
    0%
  • 2 Years
    $2.99
    per month
    blueOKiconSimultaneously connect 5 devices
    blueOKicon30-day money-back guarantee
    blueOKiconConnect to more than 30 countries
    VIEW PLAN
    SAVE
    67%
  • 15 Months
    $3.33
    per month
    blueOKicon3 months free
    blueOKicon30-day money-back guarantee
    blueOKiconConnect to more than 30 countries
    VIEW PLAN
    SAVE
    63%
1 Month
$8.99
per month
blueOKiconConnect 5 devices simultaneouslyh
blueOKicon30-days money back guarantee
blueOKiconConnection to more than 30 countries
VIEW PLAN
SAVE
0%
2 Years
$2.99
per month
blueOKiconSimultaneously connect 5 devices
blueOKicon30-day money-back guarantee
blueOKiconConnect to more than 30 countries
VIEW PLAN
SAVE
67%
15 Months
$3.33
blueOKicon3 months free
blueOKicon30-day money-back guarantee
blueOKiconConnect to more than 30 countries
VIEW PLAN
SAVE
63%

ZenMate Overview

Launched in 2013, ZenMate was developed in German, which means it is subject to the data regulations set by the EU. It is a simple, and therefore, an easy to use VPN available for both mobile and desktop and offers basic privacy and protection. The VPN was initially developed as a browser extension and is more suitable for Opera, Firefox, and Chrome than it is for operating systems like Android, Mac, Windows, or iOS. Regardless, with a subscription, you get access to all the different platforms.
While the VPN doesn't have consistent performance, it is well-known for its speed. Meanwhile, the performance on privacy has mixed reviews; while the logging policies are favorable for many, they are overshadowed by the lack of a VPN protocol, OpenVPN. Moreover, some advanced features are also lacking like first-party DNS servers.
Furthermore, the server network isn't very impressive; however, it does have the locations that users will need. The interface is also quite attractive; however, it would have been better if there were more features on the desktop. The customer support was also pretty average; there is useful information on the website; however, it is vague, leaving the customer with questions. A live chat option is also missing, and the email response isn't helpful either.
  • About ZenMate

    Parent Company: ZenGuard GmbH
    Country of Incorporation: Germany
    Founded: 2013
    Maximum Connections: 5
    Refund Policy: 30 days (restricted to 10GB bandwidth)
    Platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows
  • Pros

    blueOKiconOne-button VPN; simple to use
    blueOKiconTemporary and limited connection for metadata logging
    blueOKiconInnovative features incorporated in the browser extensions
  • Cons

    lessInsufficient customer support
    lessLack of transparency and limited settings on protocols
    lessSubpar speed tests performance for desktop applications

Privacy

In terms of privacy, ZenMate is quite impressive. There is hardly any logging of connection meta-data and, the IP addresses are stored on the servers temporarily to prevent against attacks. Moreover, in a recent update, DNS leak protection and VPN killswitch have also been introduced.
On the other hand, however, there is lack of information regarding the time period for which the data is stored. Meanwhile, the volume of data used on limited plans is recorded. Due to this lack of transparency, many people are wary since it is a German product, and is subject to the data retention laws set by the EU.
You will also not find a lot of information about the protocols and the encryption used. On extensive research, it was found that the OpenVPN protocol, preferred by many, isn't present in ZenMate. In other words, with ZenMate, you only get highly basic privacy.
SWIPE FOR MORE
FeatureZenMateExpressVPN NordVPN
Open VPN (Auto)
question
Is the selection between Open VPN, UDP or TCP automatic?
less blueOKicon less
Open VPN (UDP/TCP)
question
Can you manually choose between Open VPN, UDP or TCP?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
PPTP
question
Does this app have PPTP VPN protocol?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
SSTP
question
Does this app have SSTP VPN protocol?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
L2TP/IPSec
question
Does this app have L2TP/IPSec protocol?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
IKEv2
question
Does this app have IKEv2 protocol?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Supports TCP Port 443
question
Does the VPN support secure TCP Port 443 which is used on secure HTTPS traffic?
less blueOKicon less
Supports Multihop
question
This technology passes your internet traffic through multiple servers to make you harder to track
less less blueOKicon
Permits P2P
question
Is this VPN compatible with P2P and other torrenting applications?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Strongest encryption
question
What is the highest level of encryption that this VPN service have?
AES - 256AES - 256AES - 256
First party DNS servers
question
Does the VPN service pass your traffic through their own DNS servers or use third party ones?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
DNS Leak Blocking
question
Does the VPN service include tech that blocks DNS leaks?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Killswitch
question
In the event of the VPN losing its connection, does the VPN cut off all internet traffic?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Accepts cryptocurrency
question
Does this VPN accept subscription payment with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
Accepts Paypal
question
Does this VPN accept PayPal payments for its subscription?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Activity logging
question
Are your online activity logs and browsing history being saved or used by the VPN?
less less less
Connection logging
question
Are your connection logs being kept and monitored by this VPN?
blueOKicon blueOKicon less
Tor over VPN server
question
Is this VPN have features that have been tailored to work with the TOR browser?
less less blueOKicon

What does this table mean?

This is a more technical side to VPN, and if you don't know the basics of VPN providers, then it is not much of an issue.
The main thing to know is that the first seven rows are security protocols and you would want to have the maximum number of ticks in these seven as they provide you with options in case you run into connection or streaming issues.
Generally, a higher number of ticks means more security and privacy. However, for logging, the case is opposite, and you would want to have the maximum number of crosses.
Score: 7.0

Speed & Performance

On the European servers, ZenMate resulted in excellent speeds; however, this rating would've been more if ZenMate also offered VPN connection using the current best protocol; OpenVPN. Since OpenVPN is used for as many speed tests as possible, so comparing ZenMate with other VPN services that provide the protocol is an unfair comparison. Moreover, ZenMate has been found to be quite inconsistent, not only from one day to the next but also from one server location to the other.
For instance, in the initial tests, the maximum download speed shown by Euro servers was 15Mbps. However, the next day, the speed was up to six times more. Meanwhile, the network in North America was consistently poor and also failed to provide watchable video streams. The same was the case for Australia, Israel, and Hong Kong.
The ping time also came out to be below average, so gamers need to search elsewhere. On the positive side, the browser extensions are not only more consistent but also performed at above 80% of the average connection speed. However, there were some technical issues which are discussed in depth in the ease of use section.
SWIPE FOR MORE
FeatureZenMateNortonStrongVPN
Avg global DL speed
question
This is a rolling average of the download speed accummulated over all the server locations we have tested
85.52 (DE)65.23 (DE)76.72 (FR)
Avg global UL speed
question
This is a rolling average of the upload speed accummulated over all the server locations we have tested
87.72 (UK)86.24 (NL)90.83 (NL)
Ping time
question
This refers to the shortest latency recorded in our tests. Shorter ping times indicate higher performance
13ms4ms2ms
Unlimited bandwidth
question
This indicates if the VPN has a cap on the bandwidth usage
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Average time to connect
question
This measures how long it takes to connect with a server location.
2s19s12s

What does this table mean?

For many users, another critical factor when choosing a VPN is speed. Of course, running a VPN, regardless of which it is, comes with a speed cost. However, the higher speed the VPN has, the closer you will be to the maximum speed your network has.
Ping time shows the time it takes to receive data and is as essential as upload/download speed, particularly for streaming. To have the smoothest streaming experience, look for high download width coupled with low ping time.
Of course, short connection times are ideal, and a reliable and stable connection is crucial for activities like streaming where privacy is essential.
SWIPE FOR MORE
Server LocationDownload Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)
australiaAustralia7.6254.73
GermanyGermany85.7382.61
UKUK72.7287.25
USAUSA17.2527.12
SingaporeSingapore8.327.61
NetherlandsNetherlands24.2660.23
FranceFrance66.3464.73
CanadaCanada20.3235.63
JapanJapan12.836.34

How we get these VPN speed data?

blueOKicon We constantly work on testing the performance of our featured VPN providers so that you are provided with only the latest information.
blueOKicon For ZenMate, we used the speed test tool provided by Ookla on our fibre-optic line in London as well as through our paid-for VPN subscriptions.
blueOKicon The base download speed, without VPN, is approximately 80Mbps, while upload speed is 90Mbps and ping is 3ms. The results are from London to the countries listed on the left.
blueOKicon With these tests, you can get an idea of the variation in connection speeds. Remember, a faster connection and closeness to the server means faster speeds.
Score: 8.0

Locations

With only 29 locations, the server networks of ZenMate has to be one of the smallest. So, if you live outside of the main Anglo nations or the major European countries, then you won't really find a local option.
With that said, hardly anyone needs to be connected to unique locations. So, if you are only interested in popular countries like western Europe, the UK, the US, and Australia, you're good with ZenMate. Note that famous locations like Brazil and Mexico are also not listed in the table. Make sure you check out the official ZenMate website to see if you can find what you are looking for.
Of course, one big drawback of a small network is that there is a high chance of it being congested, so, getting lost in the crowd becomes harder.
SWIPE FOR MORE
FeatureZenMateExpressVPNNordVPN
Server locations
question
This is the total number of server locations the VPN has available
2914861
Servers
question
This is the total number of servers the VPN has available
292,000+3,500+
IP address
question
This the total amount of unique IP addresses the VPN has available
3,000+20,000+3,500+
Dynamic server switching
question
This indicates whether or not the VPN has a feature that automatically switches you to a faster server within the same server location
less less blueOKicon

What does this table mean?

More server locations mean that it is more likely that the user density will be lower and consequently your connection will be faster. So the higher servers and server locations, the better. Your privacy is protected more if there are more IP addresses to choose from as it makes it harder for you to be tracked.
Dynamic server switching adds to that difficulty as it switches you to the best servers available automatically making you even harder to track.
Score: 7.1

Usability

  • What we like

    blueOKiconServers are easy to switch
    blueOKiconOne-button, simple interface
    blueOKiconExtensions come with smart locations feature
  • What we like less

    lessExtensions are slightly buggy
    lessLack of features and settings for the desktop app
    lessNo transparency regarding the connection details
As stated earlier, ZenMate was initially a browser extension, and the difference is pretty clear when the newer VPN mobile app and the desktop version is compared with the full-featured extensions for Opera, Firefox, and Chrome. Out of all the versions, the most basic is the desktop app and doesn't include a lot of features except for an option for selecting the server location and a connect button. Similarly, it also lacks in terms of compatibility with a number of devices. For example, there is no router or Linux installation.
If you are looking for a click-and-forget VPN, then ZenMate is an ideal choice. However, we would like to see more settings for tweaking, and greater transparency regarding the details of our connections like the new IP address and the VPN protocol being used would also be a plus. Also know that for Windows, the VPN is a system tray app, so, it only appears when you search and click the icon.
We found the browser extensions much preferable since they come with ad-tracking and malware blockers along with a feature with which you can set varying smart locations for particular websites. The extensions are also highly reliable for accessing streaming services.
Despite all the positives, the extensions are also far from perfect since there were some bugs and so we had to reinstall the extension on Chrome. There were also conflicts when we accidentally tried to run both the things at the same time. It must be mentioned that browser extensions only encrypt the activity of the browser, so other app connections are left unsecured.
We also experienced conflicts when accidentally running both at the same time. Importantly, don't forget that browser extensions only encrypt that browser's activity, leaving others apps connections unsecured.
SWIPE FOR MORE
Device/OS/BrowserZenMateExpressVPN NordVPN
WindowsWindows blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
WindowsMac blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
LinuxLinux less blueOKicon Manual
iOSiOS blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
AndroidAndroid blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
RouterRouter less blueOKicon Manual
Games consolesGames consoles less Manual less
Fire TV StickFire TV Stick less blueOKicon Manual
Chrome extensionChrome extension blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Games consolesFirefox extension blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Games consolesSafari (for mac) extension less blueOKicon blueOKicon

What does this table mean?

Use this list to find out if the VPN will work with your operating system or device. If you are an iPad or iPhone user, see iOS while most other tablets and phone users should look for Android. A tick next to the device or OS means that the VPN provider's software can be installed on that device or OS.
Devices or OS marked as manual can also be used for connecting to the VPN; however, that is a more involved process. Instead of installing the app, you'll have to configure your device with manual settings provided by the VPN provider.
Score: 7.0

Customer Support

There is a satisfying amount of general information available on the ZenMate website about the privacy in the Academy section. There is sufficient coverage on almost every topic including net neutrality, Wi-Fi safety, and even Edward Snowden. Despite the basic presentation, the information is quite commendable. Moreover, the troubleshooting FAQs are quite helpful as well as well-organized; however, they can be improved by putting in videos and images.
On the other hand, the website is missing a lot of necessary information about the server network. Similarly, it also doesn't mention a lot of technical specifications. Furthermore, while ZenMate takes pride in providing quality support, the email response is next to nonexistent, and the live chat option is missing too. In principle, the idea having a bot answer your questions is fine; however, the execution of this idea was very poor and only resulted in irrelevant answers. The only result was a lack of human response to our question. Our ticket was deleted too!
SWIPE FOR MORE
FeatureZenMateExpressVPNNordVPN
Support quality 
question
This is a measure of the overall quality of the VPN's customer service
2.3109.2
24/7 support
question
Does this VPN offer round the clock support?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
Live chat
question
Does this VPN have representatives available for live chat?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon
Knowledge base
question
Are there detailed how-to videos and tutorial available online or within the VPN apps?
blueOKicon blueOKicon blueOKicon
Video tutorials
question
Does this VPN have tutorial videos available to show users how to use the software?
less blueOKicon blueOKicon

What does this table mean?

While many people have no problems with using a VPN, it is always good to know that there is someone you can turn to if you do have a problem.
In such instances, comprehensive tutorials, preferably in the form of videos are quite helpful.
Similarly, referring to the 24/7 live chat option on the provider's website can also save time while also providing you with the ideal solution.
Score: 6.0

Value for money

  • What we like

    blueOKiconWorks with majority of the streaming websites
    blueOKiconWhen it works fast, the speed is commendable
    blueOKiconBrowser extensions add value
  • What we like less

    blueOKiconLack of consistency in performance
    blueOKiconSmall server network
    blueOKiconLack of settings can be frustrating
Score: 7.1
Table of Content
Privacy Speed Locations Usability Support Value
VISIT SITE