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PandaPow VPN seems to live up to its name; small and unassuming but packs a punch. There’s support for all kinds of platforms and wifi routers, and if you’re not satisfied, there’s a 7-day money back guarantee for your troubles.
Based in Hong Kong, PandaPow VPN offers a product that works with the click of a button and lets you virtually “travel” to over fourteen countries.
There’s even an affiliate program, so you can earn as you pay – which is quite good, given that the service is overall a bit on the higher end of cost. However, as you’ll see over the course of this PandaPow VPN review, there might be some features that make it worth it.
It’s a product worth attention, especially for internet users located in particularly regressive regimes, such as China’s, due to its ability to get around these blacklists.
Security and privacy
PandaPow VPN has security credentials that users worldwide can rely on (except the absence of a kill switch feature), helping to unblock foreign streaming sites or encrypt all browsing activity itself, protecting you from vulnerability:
- 256-bit encryption protection, considered military-grade
- Proprietary SSL-based protocol
- OpenVPN protocol
- No DNS leaks
- No kill switch
You can also sideload the VPN to your device without the download of the actual software client, and use different protocols, such as PPTP, or L2TP/IPSec.
It’s usually a good sign that is a testament to the solid security of a VPN if it can get you around the firewalls of your organization or government-backed ISP regulations, such as PandaPow VPN can.
The absence of a kill switch, however, is a definite negative. Without a kill switch, you’re open to malicious attacks (accidental or intentional) and your IP address could be exposed if the connection drops.
Does PandaPow VPN keep logs?
PandaPow VPN boasts a “no-logging” policy right on the front page of their website. But is this remotely close to the truth.
Arguably, most VPNs might keep some sort of logs. “No-logging” usually refers to browsing activity and the names and details of websites visited, information sent and received, and data downloaded or transferred.
PandaPow VPN, then, only stores “connection logs:” information of how much bandwidth is used, speeds, et cetera. This is unlinked to other personal information used when signing up.
PandaPow VPN speed and performance
While the speed test for this PandaPow VPN revealed a sudden uptick in the ping (though the connection speed was fast), the difference between the download speed before and after connecting the VPN was minimal.
Simply put, we were able to stream high-definition video without buffering, just as we could before.
Interestingly, the upload speed actually shot up, meaning that our ISP was most likely throttling our speeds pre-VPN. A lot of users opt for VPNs for this very reason, since Internet Service Providers (or whoever’s controlling your wifi, such as your organization or university) might artificially restrict speeds.
The number of servers is well over 140, with the countries increasing steadily over the past few years. At the time of writing this PandaPow VPN review, the country count was 16.
Ease of use and multiplatform support
With three simultaneous connections allowed, PandaPow VPN has custom apps for:
There’s also a wifi router available, with the VPN pre-configured. Using the PandaPow VPN wifi Router means you’ll circumvent the question of service for Mac, service for PC, et cetera, since it’s easy to use the whole of the wifi with the VPN enabled.
The interface is slightly outdated-looking, looking more like a download client or setup page instead of the actual product, but perhaps some can see it as user-friendly and simple to navigate.
The Windows app looks better and more advanced as compared to the Mac interface, however, so some uniformity would be welcome. A cool thing, however, is that all the platforms run OpenVPN by default.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
This was perhaps the most surprising thing we stumbled upon during the writing of this PandaPow VPN review.
Users look towards VPNs, of course, since the content offered by libraries on streaming services varies from country to country – even software such as Kodi needs VPNs.
We were able to get around the geo-blocking on Netflix on every server we connected to on PandaPow VPN, including the US, the UK, and Japan.
PandaPow VPN helped us unblock not only the geo-restrictions Netflix US, but other streaming services from the United States such as Hulu, Roku, or even European countries like BBC iPlayer.
PandaPow VPN’s speeds are also good enough for streaming TV shows, with virtually no buffering at all. This is good for heavier services, such as Amazon Fire.
P2P and torrenting
A VPN is almost required for secure torrenting these days, with DMCA notices and legal action both against the services and the users that engage in torrent downloads or uploads.
You might already know it’s tough for users to even find a reliable site or service to get their torrents from, with so many of them going down or changing their domain names in the face of all this.
While PandaPow VPN supports P2P connections, it’s perhaps better to go with a VPN with a SOCKS5 proxy if your need is a VPN specifically for torrenting, for that added layer of security. Otherwise, PandaPow’s encryption is strong enough to obfuscate your IP address and make it unable to be traced back to your torrents.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
If you’ve skipped straight to this part of this PandaPow VPN review just to find out if it’s any good for China (and other countries with similar regressive attitudes towards online surveillance and censorship), then you’ll be pleased to know that PandaPow VPN can get you over that Great Firewall easily.
Most VPNs have a stealth mode to bypass Deep Packet Inspection, for example, since China’s government proactively blocks many VPNs straight-up, rendering your protection useless in itself.
Luckily, PandaPow VPN is not one of those ill-fated VPNs. The word-of-mouth surrounding PandaPow VPN in China itself is overwhelmingly positive and users can access the Internet freely, quickly, and easily.
PandaPow VPN’s customer support is reliable, and live support is available. You can access them via:
- Live chat
- Support tickets
- Installation guides
- Troubleshooting manuals
We found the options to be adequate, reliable, and speedy. However, it’s clear that the live chat isn’t, in fact, or at the very least, actually 24/7, and the times of its being up are left unspecified and unclear.
However, answers are abundant and easy-to-understand, replies are courteous and speedy, and the Installation or how-to guides and manuals are user-friendly and categorized appropriately.
This might be one area where PandaPow VPN is clearly lacking – its rates are far above the industry average considering what it provides. Although an argument can obviously be made for users with specific needs such as unblocking Netflix or using the Internet in China.
The payment plans are:
- Monthly, $9.00/month
- Tri-monthly, $8.00/month
- Yearly/annually, $7.00/month
Paying monthly or paying yearly doesn’t seem to bring that much of a change, but if you’ve chosen PandaPow as the VPN for you, the accumulation would be worth investing in the long-term plan. All plans have the same features (3 simultaneous connections and a 7-day money-back guarantee).
Customers can pay through SSL-secured methods such as PayPal, major credit cards, WeChat Pay, or AliPay.
PandaPow VPN is a surprising addition to the ever-growing list of VPNs which, while slightly expensive, is still reasonably priced and definitely worth it given the strong and unique security, ability to unblock Netflix and other streaming sites, and the fact that it works in places where other VPNs are banned. Payment options are also so varied that it seems very unlikely you’d run into a problem paying for it.