Many VPNs offer tiered packages at different price points, and Germany’s ZenMate is no exception. Dubbed “Internet security at its best!” on the ZenMate website, their Premium package certainly looks like a strong contender – at least on the surface.
But as any VPN veteran knows, the devil is in the details (of packages like ZenMate Premium), so we need to know as much as we can about what the VPN provides before deciding to finalize any payments. And that’s exactly what this ZenMate Premium review will do. So let’s peer under the hood and find out whether this security tool is as high-end as the developers claim.
Introducing ZenMate Premium: What features does it include?
Starting with the basics, the ZenMate Premium package includes the following main features:
- A “100% no logs” policy
- Your choice of every single ZenMate server (out of almost 300)
- No speed restrictions
- The ability to use the VPN on 5 devices at the same time
- Full torrenting and P2P support
- No ads at any stage
- Personal customer assistance from the ZenMate team
- Smart locations – this allows you to create your own whitelist of preferred servers for specific sites. So if you know that a server delivers great speeds for Netflix, you can link the two together and connect automatically in the future.
- ZenMate operates a 14-day money back guarantee, so if the VPN doesn’t meet your needs, you can cancel any subscriptions fairly easily.
Paying for ZenMate VPN packages
If those features sound attractive, ZenMate offers a variety of ways to pay. Contract choices include 1 month, 6 months and 1 year long terms, with a sliding scale of per monthly payments the longer you sign up for.
So, for example, a month of ZenMate Premium would cost $9.99 per month, followed by $8.99 per month if you sign up for 6 months, and a much more reasonable $5.99 over a 1 year period.
Payment methods on offer include PayPal, Sofort, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Direct Debit. But you’ll notice what isn’t included on that list: ZenMate currently does not offer the ability to pay via cryptocurrencies, which means that anonymous payments are not part of the deal.
Users can also choose to add more than 5 devices to their ZenMate account. In this case, users can add either 2, 5 or 10 devices on top of their normal ration. Each addition comes with a small extra payment.
Comparing ZenMate Premium to the free ZenMate package
In theory, you don’t need to spend a penny to enjoy privacy and security from ZenMate. Alongside Premium, ZenMate also offers a completely free VPN which might be sufficient for some users.
The free version is severely lacking in features compared to Premium, but does come with the following:
- ZenMate apply their “100% no logs” policy for free and paid VPN customers
- Free users have a choice of 4 server locations
- Free users have a maximum speed of 2 MB/s
Well, maybe they aren’t so attractive when you compare them with what’s on offer with the paid VPN, but that still makes it a workable privacy tool. However, what users don’t always realize is that they can try ZenMate Premium free of charge before signing up for anything.
When users verify their ZenMate account, they automatically trigger a 7-day free Premium trial.
What this means is that everyone gets a taste of Premium, even if they don’t notice the differences. Although when the 7 days end and speeds drop down to 2 MB/s, you surely will.
How does ZenMate Premium differ from ZenMate Ultimate?
If you’re hunting a top of the range, unbeatable VPN service, there’s another good idea to think twice before you sign up for ZenMate’s Premium package.
Why? Because in a classic marketing move, the German VPN couples its “Premium” service with an even snazzier “Ultimate” version. And you thought your Premium VPN was impressive? Think again.
The Ultimate ZenMate service features everything that comes with ZenMate Premium, but has a few extras as well:
- ZenMate Ultimate accommodates OpenVPN, which delivers a higher level of security.
- Ultimate customers enjoy ZenMate’s “Streaming Guarantee.” Under this agreement, users nominate their favorite streaming service. If the speeds drop while using ZenMate, the VPN will grant them a discount on their next contract payment.
- Identity Shield – An extra service for Ultimate customers which informs them if their details are involved in data breaches anywhere on the web.
Naturally, all of this comes with a price tag, and ZenMate Ultimate costs around $2 per month more than its Premium little brother.
What about the ZenMate VPN itself?
The choice between Premium or Ultimate package would be completely meaningless if ZenMate’s core VPN was second-rate. So what does it bring to the table, and how does it compare to the competition?
Firstly, ZenMate Premium is available for a very wide range of devices, including Android and iOS phones, Macs and Windows PCs, as well as in-browser versions for Opera, Chrome and Firefox. So if you require a specialist VPN there should be a suitable download option.
The VPN uses 256-bit AES encryption (for desktop and smartphone versions) or 128-bit AES encryption for browsers. That’s totally acceptable by current standards.
Speeds are generally good, with most testers judging that ZenMate falls in the middle of the VPN league. ZenMate has a strong record when it comes to unblocking Netflix, they bundle in a handy kill switch, and their paid packages are popular with torrenters as well.
Conclusion: is the ZenMate Premium price tag worth paying?
Having said all of that, should you pay the ZenMate Premium price? It’s a tough call. While ZenMate delivers a professional, reliable service, it isn’t the only VPN around, and it isn’t the cheapest. But if you love to stream, features like Smart Locations are a great idea.
Then again, if you’re really serious about streaming, the Ultimate package carries a generous guarantee, and it’s not that much more expensive. But if you just want a lightweight VPN for browsing the web, the free version is perfectly acceptable.
So the verdict of this ZenMate Premium review? You could definitely do worse, and it’s a great option for streamers and torrenters.