- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- 20 server locations
“Streamlined and simple app that covers basic VPN needs well”
Killswitch & zero logs plus OpenVPN equals online privacy
Simple mobile & desktop apps perfect for use on the move
Effective at unblocking websites and beating censorship
Phantom VPN is part of leading online security firm Avira’s popular suite of antivirus and security products. Phantom VPN is also available as a standalone product, either in its free data-capped form or full pro version. Now a multinational company, Avira was formed in Germany in 1986 and is best known for its market-leading free antivirus software. Phantom VPN is a typical Avira product in that it is clean and low-key, and gets on with the job in the background. Not only is bandwidth unlimited but a single subscription entitles you to use Avira Phantom VPN on an unlimited number of devices, which is fantastic value for money.
It delivers consistently above-average performance across its servers with more than enough speed for buffer-free HD video streams. The app is unobtrusive, very simple to use and as it’s based on the OpenVPN protocol, very secure and reliable. The choice of 20 server locations may not be the biggest around but most popular destinations are covered and the consistency of performance even over long distances means it’s less important to connect to the nearest server. Avira maintains its own DNS and VPN servers rather than renting them, which can give you extra piece of mind regarding your privacy. A 30-day money-back guarantee from this well-respected and established company means you can subscribe in confidence and make up your own mind about the product.
Avira Phantom is a solid performer, delivering some of the most consistent results we’ve seen in its speed tests. While there’s no danger of singeing your eyebrows, the speeds are absolutely good enough for streaming HD video without breaking a sweat. It’s really positive to see such strong results on distant servers as this reduces the negative impact of having a smaller global network.
We wouldn’t recommend it for gaming though as the latency is a little on the high side, although that won’t affect most users. While connection times on mobile are snappy, the desktop app drags its feet a bit in creating a connection.
|Max download speed||25.82 (BRA)||61.14 (UK)||46.57 (US)|
|Max upload speed||29.82 (US)||36.64 (FRA)||36.14 (US)|
|Average time to connect||11s||8s||13s|
|Tested and working with||Google-Gmail, Skype, Youtube, HBO, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Gaming, Torrenting, Facebook, Twitter, Google-Gmail, Kodi||Netflix, Facebook, BBC iPlayer, Torrenting, Twitter, Google-Gmail, Youtube, Kodi|
|SERVER LOCATION||Download Speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)|
Avira is strangely cagey about the number of servers and IP addresses it has, declining to confirm any details. All we can tell you is that there are 20 locations available, which firmly puts it well behind its rivals in terms of choice.
However, everything about Avira Phantom is aimed at the average user who doesn’t want to wade through a ton of options they will never use. Check the locations as you may well find your needs catered for, in which case who needs 100 other countries?
Individual customer support is limited to paying customers only, which means you can’t ask questions or get help while you are considering subscribing or if you are trying out the (data-capped) free plan. Email responses are quick and professional but suffered from what’s clearly company policy to not discuss the details of its server network. They were also padded out with irrelevant (if potentially helpful) general info. We much prefer it when support agents just respond to the issue in hand.
The knowledge base is rather thin, limited to a few simple FAQs but when a product is this simple, there’s a limit to the resources that can be created.
Avira Phantom is a very simple one-button VPN that’s near-identical on mobile and desktop. It looks good but is streamlined almost to a fault. Aside from a killswitch and the option to automatically secure untrusted Wi-Fi networks, there are no meaningful configuration options at all. It lacks any protocol settings or other tools for privacy or unblocking sites.
It may be a design choice to be uncluttered and accessible but we missed any kind of info about our connection, such as the protocol used or our new IP address. If we didn’t know that Phantom was based on OpenVPN, which Avira confirmed to us, we wouldn’t feel very confident of our security. It’s odd that they are not more up front about this positive feature – the only mention of OpenVPN anywhere on the Avira website is buried in the software update release notes.
Avira Phantom allows unlimited simultaneous connections, which is not only fantastic value but great for privacy as they don’t have to monitor this. However limited compatibility means you can only use Phantom on machines running Windows, MacOS, iOS or Android with no manual workarounds for other devices.
Although you wouldn’t know it from the app or the Avira website, Phantom is based on the industry-leading protocol OpenVPN. If you’re going to limit a VPN to a single protocol, that’s the one to choose as it’s fast and secure.
The killswitch is very welcome even if it’s a carrot used to tempt you to upgrade to a paid account. What Avira lacks in additional privacy tools, it makes up for in a privacy-focused approach. Connection metadata is purged after just 30 minutes while Avira also maintains its own DNS servers. This greatly reduces the impact of falling under the jurisdiction of EU data laws.
|Open VPN (Auto)|
|Open VPN (UDP/TCP)|
|Supports TCP Port 443|
|Supports SSH Tunnel|
|Supports SSL Tunnel|
|First party DNS servers|
|DNS Leak Blocking|
|Anonymous payment method|
|Tor over VPN server|