Everytime you hook up with a public Wi-Fi community, together with by way of your Android system, 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 checks, 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 usually are not 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 system. You want to use a VPN to guard your self from all such threats.
Once 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 isn’t leaking your actual IP handle. We additionally advocate utilizing a VPN alongside different privateness instruments, akin 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. A very good technique is to attempt to make your self as inconvenient a goal as potential.
Pricing and Platforms
As talked about, Norton Safe VPN is priced competitively. The subscription value is dependent upon what number of units you could apply it to concurrently. For $four.99 per thirty days, you get protection on a single gadget. To get help for 5 or 10 units concurrently, it is advisable to pay $7.99 per thirty 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 system), $79.99 (5 units), and $99.99 (10 units). Moreover, you may as well 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 30 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 so much for a VPN; take a look at our roundup of the most effective low cost VPNs for extra choices.
When you 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 provides the most effective 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 system and with particular servers.
Along with Android (model four.1 and later), Norton Safe VPN is out there 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 provides. The extra of every there can be found, the much less possible you’re to expertise vital slowdowns in your community efficiency on account 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 presents over 5,100 servers. Personal Web Entry, TorGuard, and CyberGhost all supply over three,000 servers. A couple of others, similar 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 may also be spun up on present hardware, thus probably inflating a VPN’s claimed server rely. Digital servers introduce potential privateness and safety considerations. As an example, your knowledge might cross 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 will not be carried out appropriately, your knowledge might 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 essential 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 acquire 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 gadget knowledge, together with gadget identify, sort, OS model, and language; combination bandwidth utilization; and short-term 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 gadget info), however most of those practices are normal fare for VPNs.
Norton is a division of Symantec, which is predicated in California. Thus, Norton falls underneath 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 might not have the ability to take action. Norton additionally says that subscriptions are its solely income.
Notice that the USA 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 must no less than 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, however it doesn’t make the outcomes public.
Palms 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 tackle with the VPN.
Oddly, you possibly can’t manually choose a server location till after your preliminary connection. Switching between areas is reasonably fast, however the server location listing 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 once 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 reminiscent of 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’ll be able to 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, obtainable servers, and gadget sort. Accordingly, our outcomes must be taken as a comparative snapshot of Android VPN efficiency fairly 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 with no 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 checks, 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. Word, 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 exams, 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 exams, 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 it is best to contemplate when selecting a VPN, so don’t low cost any VPNs solely due to subpar check outcomes. That stated, when 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 when you are 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 and not using a 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 any 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 possibly can 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 recognize 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.