Operating under the ZenGuard umbrella, ZenMate has certainly come a long way since its launch in 2013, from a simple proxy service to a full-blown VPN provider. It now offers plenty of options for different users, especially beginners. Can ZenMate provide the features and efficiency to match other heavyweight VPNs? Let’s get under the hood and find out!
“Made with love in the heart of Berlin - under strict data protection laws,” ZenMate takes pride in its location as a foothold to privacy and claims to keep “zero traffic logs”. However, we disapprove of how ZenMate handles users’ information. Even though it doesn’t keep records of your online activity, it does store some personal data, such as the server you’re connected to and timestamps alongside your IP address, for example. Considering this, ZenMate doesn’t live up to its claims in terms of privacy and logging policy and does in fact store some connection logs. If your privacy is important to you, you can always get one of the best proven no logging VPNs.
On the other hand, ZenMate’s security standards get our approval. This German provider uses AES 256-bit encryption with Perfect Forward Secrecy to secure its desktop and mobiles apps. However, its browser extensions rely on 128-bit encryption - but unlike other proxy plugins that only mask your IP address, ZenMate extensions are also encrypted to give you a safer browsing environment. Bear in mind that ZenMate for browsers only encrypts data passing through the browser, whereas data passing through any other program on your device will still be unencrypted. While we’re happy that ZenMate now supports OpenVPN protocol, it’s too bad it’s only available for the Ultimate subscription plan.
ZenMate’s apps are flavored with a suite of security tools, such as a kill switch, DNS leak protection as well as malware and tracking protection. Thanks to the “Ever Secure” feature, ZenMate users - particularly iOS and Android users - can be sure their VPN connection will keep running in the background as long as they’re connected, despite their default mobile system behavior which may result in sudden disconnections.
Let’s move on to performance. ZenMate has a relatively tight network of 300 servers across 30 countries, which isn’t bad. It offers unlimited bandwidth and server switching. It also supports P2P and torrenting within the boundaries of the law, but the VPN connection isn’t rock solid in terms of up-time. We faced several disconnections on various servers.
What about speed? Is ZenMate good enough for streaming, torrenting, and gaming? Unfortunately, ZenMate won’t make e-streamers and torrent fans very happy, as its speeds are very disappointing - unless you sign for the Ultimate plan, which has optimized servers for streaming. Overall, there are faster VPNs out there (tested by our experts) at cheaper prices. On the bright side, ZenMate works well for bypassing restrictions. You can easily access Netflix US, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. However, we weren't able to enjoy live streaming on BBC due to slow speeds, but it offers great speeds for Netflix. Moreover, if you need a VPN for China or Egypt, ZenMate isn't what you're looking for.
With up to 5 simultaneous connections, you can run ZenMate on multiple desktop or mobile devices at the same time. ZenMate supports popular platforms such as Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It also has browser extensions for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox.
While ZenMate has certainly evolved over the years, it’s more suitable for beginners on a budget than experienced users. ZenMate lacks steady and reliable performance. It doesn’t offer fast speed connections and lacks advanced security features like Double VPN or Split Tunneling, like top-ranked providers such as NordVPNand ExpressVPN. Customer support is another issue that needs to be improved as well. However, it would do just fine for newbie or casual use. If you want to expand your options or save on VPNs, spare yourself the research and get your hands on the best VPN deals.