Everytime you hook up with a public Wi-Fi community, together with by way of your Android gadget, you need to use a digital personal community, or VPN, to guard your privateness. Norton Safe VPN (previously Norton WiFi Privateness) is an attractively and flexibly priced and easy Android VPN, and it does block advertisements, nevertheless it doesn’t impress in any other case. Given Norton Safe VPN’s poor performances in our exams, underwhelming server providing, and bare-bones Android app, different VPN providers merely strike a greater stability between worth and options.
What Is a VPN?
Most public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe. Malicious customers can watch your community visitors and probably intercept your personal knowledge. A layer of safety on your mobile connection can also be worthwhile. 3G and LTE infrastructures are encrypted, however 2G has lengthy since been compromised. A talented-enough particular person might block connections to the previous two cell networks, after which pressure your telephone to hook up with the unsecured 2G bands utilizing a cell jammer and femtocell gadget. You must use a VPN to guard your self from all such threats.
Whenever you hook up with a VPN community, your knowledge is encrypted and tunneled to a server managed by the VPN firm. Within the course of, your visitors is obfuscated and your public-facing IP tackle modifications to that of the server you chose. In easier phrases, a VPN makes your web exercise virtually uninterpretable and untraceable.
Nonetheless, a VPN, like each different sort of safety software program, is topic to failures and poor implementations. On the very least, you must confirm that your VPN just isn’t leaking your actual IP tackle. We additionally advocate utilizing a VPN alongside different privateness instruments, similar to a Tor browser or the EFF’s Privateness Badger extension. There’s no such factor as an ideal safety system, however a VPN is a wonderful first line of protection towards potential network-based privateness intrusions. An excellent technique is to attempt to make your self as inconvenient a goal as attainable.
Pricing and Platforms
As talked about, Norton Safe VPN is priced competitively. The subscription value is determined by what number of units you have to apply it to concurrently. For $four.99 per thirty days, you get protection on a single system. To get help for 5 or 10 units concurrently, you might want to pay $7.99 per 30 days and $9.99 per thirty days respectively. As with most VPNs, it can save you some cash by paying on an annual foundation. The costs per yr are $49.99 (one gadget), $79.99 (5 units), and $99.99 (10 units). Moreover, you can even get Norton Safe VPN at a reduction when you bundle it with different Norton merchandise.
All three worth plans are decrease than the present class common of the highest Android VPNs we’ve examined. NordVPN is likely one of the costliest choices, at $11.95 per thirty days for 5 licenses. Different providers are available less expensive; Personal Web Entry, for instance is simply $6.95 per 30 days for a similar variety of licenses. Most VPNs don’t construction pricing across the variety of simultaneous connections you should use, and lots of supply extra connections with the bottom pricing tiers. For instance, IPVanish and CyberGhost permit for as much as 10 and 7 simultaneous connections, respectively. In any case, Norton Safe VPN proves that you simply don’t have to pay rather a lot for a VPN; take a look at our roundup of the perfect low cost VPNs for extra choices.
For those who don’t need to pay any month-to-month subscription prices, our roundup of the most effective free VPNs might curiosity you. ProtonVPN at present presents the perfect free service as a result of it doesn’t restrict the quantity of knowledge you should use. It does, nevertheless, prohibit you to utilizing it on a single gadget and with particular servers.
Along with Android (model four.1 and later), Norton Safe VPN is obtainable for Home windows, macOS, and iOS. Many different VPNs supply Linux shoppers, in addition to shoppers for different platforms, together with streaming sticks and recreation consoles, so Norton’s choices are restricted by comparability. Notably, Norton Safe VPN does embrace the power to dam advert trackers.
Servers and Server Places
One of many main methods we consider a VPN service is predicated on the variety of servers and server places it presents. The extra of every there can be found, the much less doubtless you’re to expertise vital slowdowns in your community efficiency as a result of overburdened servers or vital geographic distance.
On the time of publishing, Norton Safe VPN maintains round 1,500 servers, which doesn’t examine favorably with our prime Android VPNs. For comparability, NordVPN provides over 5,100 servers. Personal Web Entry, TorGuard, and CyberGhost all supply over three,000 servers. A number of others, akin to TunnelBear, ProtonVPN, and IPVanish supply fewer.
Norton Safe VPN maintains servers in 29 nations, which can also be on the low finish. For comparability, NordVPN covers 62 nations and ExpressVPN covers 94 nations. A number of others cowl as many or fewer nations than Norton does. ProtonVPN and TunnelBear for instance supply servers in solely 27 and 20 nations, respectively.
You additionally ought to know whether or not your VPN supplier makes use of digital servers. Digital servers are software-defined servers that may be configured to seem as if situated someplace aside from the place they’re bodily situated. A number of digital servers can be spun up on present hardware, thus probably inflating a VPN’s claimed server rely. Digital servers introduce potential privateness and safety considerations. For example, your knowledge might move by way of bodily nodes in nations aside from those you meant to hook up with, leaving a path of your metadata within the course of. These nations might not have as strict consumer privateness protections.
Moreover, in case your VPN’s protocols or encryption aren’t carried out appropriately, your knowledge could possibly be inadvertently uncovered in these less-protective nations. Norton says that 1,200 of its 1,500 servers are digital. That stated, all the digital servers are situated within the nation they declare, which addresses our primary concern about this follow.
Privateness Coverage and Safety
Norton Safe VPN’s privateness coverage is clearly defined on the Norton Privateness Discover web page. Up entrance, Norton explains that its Safe VPN is a no-logs VPN, which signifies that it doesn’t gather any info or knowledge about your actions on the community. The service additionally doesn’t retailer your originating IP handle. This can be a good follow.
Norton Safe VPN does acquire some info, together with “subscriber info and cellular system knowledge, together with gadget identify, sort, OS model, and language; combination bandwidth utilization; and momentary utilization knowledge to help with debugging an issue with the service.” We would like that Norton Safe VPN gather even much less info than the famous (notably the system info), however most of those practices are commonplace fare for VPNs.
Norton is a division of Symantec, which is predicated in California. Thus, Norton falls beneath the authorized jurisdiction of the US. Norton says that if it have been to obtain an order from regulation enforcement handy over consumer actions, it will not give you the option to take action. Norton additionally says that subscriptions are its solely income.
Notice that america is a member of the 14 Eyes alliance. We aren’t utterly assured in our information of worldwide treaties to guage a VPN based mostly on this reality alone, however you need to a minimum of concentrate on this reality.
It’s more and more widespread for VPN corporations to bear third-party code audits to uncover any vulnerabilities. TunnelBear’s outcomes are public, and NordVPN and AnchorFree Hotspot Defend have additionally accomplished this course of. Norton additionally says it has undergone third-party evaluations, nevertheless it doesn’t make the outcomes public.
Arms On With Norton Safe VPN
We downloaded the newest model of Norton Safe VPN on a Google Pixel operating Android 9. We had no points downloading the app and logging in to our check account. We didn’t encounter any points with the app crashing or the VPN disconnecting. As a VPN is such an essential protecting barrier between you and privateness threats, this is a vital consideration. The app’s format is useful, although a bit uninteresting from a design standpoint.
You primarily navigate Norton’s Safe VPN app by way of the 4 icons on the underside bar of the display: Safe VPN, Areas, Advert Tracker, and WiFi Safety. The primary Safe VPN web page is fairly easy. In the midst of the web page, you get a round Flip On VPN button. Under that, the app exhibits your connection standing. When you provoke the connection, the connection button expands to point out your chosen VPN server location, your public-facing location, and IP handle with the VPN.
Oddly, you’ll be able to’t manually choose a server location till after your preliminary connection. Switching between areas is reasonably fast, however the server location record could be very primary. For instance, you can’t view or choose particular person servers; choices are restricted to the area (nation) degree. There’s additionally no indication of server latency, which is disappointing.
The final two sections supply the one vital choices for the app. Right here, you possibly can toggle the Block Advert Tracker choice and configure the VPN to activate routinely if you hook up with an unsecured community. Each of those choices are enabled by default, and you must depart them enabled. These two settings don’t essentially warrant a everlasting spot on the underside navigation bar, and we’d slightly they be organized right into a devoted settings part, alongside lacking choices similar to connection protocol configuration, split-tunneling, and superior startup settings.
From anyplace within the app, you possibly can hit the increase menu icon within the upper-left nook to entry some further assets. From this menu, you possibly can add units to your account, entry the Assist part, or go to the FAQs. Norton’s app doesn’t embrace a hyperlink to its privateness coverage, which is one thing we’d wish to see.
How Quick Is Norton Safe VPN?
Utilizing a VPN often has an impact in your web connection velocity, however its extent is dependent upon a number of elements, together with geographic location, out there servers, and system sort. Accordingly, our outcomes must be taken as a comparative snapshot of Android VPN efficiency moderately than the ultimate phrase. If community velocity is your prime concern, our roundup of the quickest VPNs will curiosity you.
See How We Check VPNs
To check the velocity of Android VPNs, we run Ookla’s web velocity check app a number of occasions to determine a baseline community efficiency with the VPN turned off. (Ookla’s Speedtest.internet is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s writer.) Subsequent, we let the VPN hook up with the closest server (or change it to the closest US-based one), and rerun the checks. We calculate the median of every class of outcomes and examine the % change between the values recorded with and and not using a VPN connection. For every check, we use the obtain (Mbps), add (Mbps), and latency (ms) outcomes.
Norton Safe VPN turned in outcomes that have been next-to-last or final in all our exams, which doesn’t bode nicely for its efficiency. The VPN elevated latency by 1,675 %, decreased obtain and add speeds by 82.6 and 91.three %, respectively. Notice, nevertheless, that apart from the latency outcomes, none of those numbers is outlandishly out of line with the competitors.
For comparability, NordVPN, Personal Web Entry, and Tiger VPN led the latency checks, solely growing ping by 20 %. Speedify VPN took the highest spot in our obtain exams, solely slowing down our connection by three.four %. NordVPN turned in the perfect outcomes for our add checks, solely reducing speeds by 22.6 %.
Word that though some proportion modifications might seem extra extreme than others, the real-world distinction might not really feel fairly so drastic. Velocity is only one of many elements you need to think about when selecting a VPN, so don’t low cost any VPNs solely due to subpar check outcomes. That stated, in case you want a VPN for gaming or different duties that completely require low latency, then these outcomes ought to issue into your selection extra closely—latency particularly could also be a problem.
Does Norton Safe VPN Work With Netflix?
Some video streaming providers, together with Netflix, don’t work while you’re related to a VPN. The rationale for this incompatibility might differ. For instance, some licensing agreements might prohibit content material to sure geographic places. For those who use a VPN or proxy, it might be troublesome for a video streaming service to find out your precise location. Part four.three of Netflix’s Phrases of Use explains the restrictions.
To check Netflix compatibility, we put in the newest model of the Netflix app and Norton Safe VPN on a Nexus 5X operating Android eight.1, since we skilled playback points with our check Google Pixel on Android 9, even with no VPN enabled. Norton Safe VPN didn’t trigger any issues with our streaming of Netflix.
Nevertheless, even when your VPN and streaming service mixture presently works, there isn’t a assure that issues will keep suitable sooner or later. Many video streaming providers proceed to seek out new methods to detect and block VPN utilization. In fact, you might all the time disable a VPN when utilizing sure streaming providers or create an exception for it in case your VPN presents split-tunneling options, however know that your visitors will not be encrypted.
Protected However Sluggish
Norton Safe VPN is a low-cost VPN that struggles to face out within the crowded subject of Android VPNs. Whereas we respect the pliability of its pricing and its capability to dam advertisements, it carried out poorly in our velocity exams and doesn’t supply as many servers and server places as the highest choices within the class. Moreover, its Android app lacks most of the superior choices and pleasant touches of prime rivals. Our Editors’ Decisions for Android VPNs are NordVPN, Personal Web Entry, and TunnelBear. These providers excel with their function units, worth, and user-friendly interfaces.