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Avira Phantom Review

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated
Our Score7.0
User Rating
 40% 
(1 User Review)

Fast, reliable VPN with well-designed apps and decent local speeds.

What we like
  • Consistent, reliable speeds - 35Mbps global average
  • P2P and torrenting permitted on many servers
  • Simple, streamlined apps. Supported on most major platforms
  • Connect securely to 25 countries

Avira Phantom offers consistent, reliable performance on local connections and covers basic VPN needs very well. Connecting to nearby servers will produce speeds that are more than fast enough for general browsing and HD streaming. Recent streaming crackdowns on VPN providers mean that Netflix and BBC iPlayer are completely blocked. Custom apps are available for most major platforms but lack configurable settings and can be unresponsive at times, and routers aren’t supported.

Avira offers strong encryption and enough privacy features for most, such as a VPN kill switch and integrated DNS leak protection. Its minimal logging policy means that even if a third-party requested your information, Avira would have nothing personally identifiable to show them. Customer support is fairly basic and lacks a live chat feature.

Pricing & Deals

Avira Phantom only offers two different pricing plans – they both offer the same features but the longer you sign up for, the less you pay each month.

A single month is the most expensive option at $10 and is reduced by 35% to a reasonable $6.50 if you commit to a 12-month plan.

Avira Phantom Coupon

Avira Phantom Pricing & Deals

Best Value Deal
12 Months
US$6.50/mo
Save 38%
Billed $78.00 every 12 months
1 Month
US$10.00/mo
Billed $10.00 every month
Get Avira Phantom30-day money-back guarantee

Avira offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for those who aren’t satisfied with their purchase. This is a genuine ‘no questions asked’ guarantee with no restrictions or fair usage policies, simply contact cleverbridge (Avira’s billing partner) and they will process your refund. It should be noted that Avira will only refund products that have been purchased direct from their online shop and not through third parties.

If you don’t want to commit to a paid plan right away, Avira also offers a free trial that you can use for as long as you like. This does give you an idea of what the service is like, but you are limited to a monthly data limit of 500MB and miss out on some key privacy features. We love that you don’t have to provide any personal details to access the free service, however Avira offers to double your monthly data allowance if you provide your email address.

Payment Options

Avira doesn’t offer a very large range of payment options in comparison to top-tier VPN providers. They do accept most major credit and debit cards as well as PayPal, but there is no option to pay using cryptocurrencies or through international methods.

Speed & Reliability

Avira Phantom is pretty average when it comes to speed, but connecting locally you can be sure to expect buffer-free HD streaming and speedy file downloads. Unfortunately, international speeds aren’t as solid as they used to be, but strong uploads mean it’s a decent option for P2P users. However, it’s still unclear whether or not torrenting is permitted on all servers. Latency is average, but keen gamers may find it a little laggy.

Avira boasts pretty speedy performance on local connections, reaching almost 70Mbps in the Netherlands and averaging at around 46Mbps throughout the rest of Europe (we test from London). Connecting out to the US East Coast you can expect speeds of 35Mbps, more than ample for streaming across a couple of devices at once. Performance dropped considerably on more distant servers, but that’s to be expected and won’t affect most.

We found latency to be fairly average, the lowest coming in at 9ms on same-country connections. While this will be good enough for most,  some providers boast super low ping times of less than 1ms, so keen gamers may want to look elsewhere.

Connection times on mobile are pretty snappy, but the desktop app can sometimes drag its feet a bit in creating a connection, sometimes coming in at over 30 seconds. We found performance to be very reliable with very little fluctuation in speeds and negligible to no connection drops.

Avira’s uploads are more impressive than its downloads with local speeds reaching an impressive 82Mbps, which torrenters will love. However, it’s worth noting that Avira’s torrenting policy is unclear.

Overall, Avira’s performance will be more than good enough for most, especially if connecting locally. Admittedly it doesn’t provide the same ridiculously fast speeds as top-tier providers, but you can expect good enough speeds for streaming and downloading with no issues. Performance on more distance servers isn’t as reliable as it once was, which may be an issue for some considering its small server network.

To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.

Features

Server Locations

Globe with a blue flag25Countries
Image of a city landscape36Cities
Image of a pink marker-IP Addresses

Avira has a very limited number of server locations when compared to top-tier VPN providers. In fact, at just 25 countries it’s one of the smallest networks we’ve seen. Should you only need to connect to a number of specific locations then this may not affect you, but if you do require more choice, there are several other providers that do offer more.

Avira is strangely cagey about the number of individual servers and IP addresses it maintains, and declined to tell us any specific details. All we know is that worldwide there are 36 locations available, but it’s impossible to know how many servers there are in each country. Judging by the total amount of locations on offer, it’s unlikely that Avira will be able to compete with other providers in terms of total number of servers.

We were pleasantly surprised to see a choice of 12 US cities in a network this size. However, we would have traded in some of these options for a dash more variety across the other countries, all of which are limited to just one server location.

Aside from the US, other notable locations include Australia, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Singapore and the UK. It’s nice to see a choice of a couple of different countries in Asia and South and Central America, however Africa is sadly lacking with no servers at all.

Platforms & Devices

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid

Avira offers the usual range of custom apps for various devices including Microsoft Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Unfortunately unlike many other providers, it is not compatible with any routers, meaning you have to download the software onto each of your devices. Thankfully Avira allows you to use it on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.

Usually providers will offer a range of manual setup guides on their website, however this is not the case with Avira who do not offer any. This means that you’re limited to using the software exclusively on the major platforms listed above, unless you’re willing to try and test out some manual workarounds, which won’t be the case for most.

Browser Extensions

Chrome LogoChrome

Avira has recently introduced a browser extension for Google Chrome. Unlike the proxy versions offered by many other providers, this is a true VPN extension that uses the same level of encryption (AES-256) as the desktop client, meaning all your browser traffic is encrypted and therefore protected from prying eyes. This is very easy to use and can be installed in a matter of seconds if you already have the main app set up.

Unfortunately the Chrome extension can’t be used as a substitute for the desktop app as it doesn’t offer any of the advanced privacy features such as the VPN kill switch. It’s great for masking your IP and ensuring that your ISP can’t see what you’re doing online, however we’d recommend running it alongside the full VPN software for the highest possible level of security.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

It would be incredibly difficult to try and use Avira Phantom on any of your consoles or streaming devices considering the software cannot be installed on any type of router. If your Smart TV runs on an Android operating system then you could try downloading Avira’s Android app and running it on the device, however that isn’t what it’s designed to do and it therefore isn’t guaranteed to work.

Your only other option would be to piggyback off a VPN connection from another device running the Avira app, such as a laptop or smartphone, and see if that works. Again, the software isn’t designed to be able to do this so the free trial could come in handy here to do some testing. The lack of dedicated solutions for consoles and streaming services makes it clear that this isn’t Avira’s top priority.

Streaming & Torrenting

If you’re looking for quick, one-click access to major streaming services, Avira isn’t the one for you.

Up until recently we were able to access Netflix through the LA server, but this has now fallen victim to the service’s harsh blocks. One of our top choices for accessing Netflix is SaferVPN, thanks to optimized streaming servers. BBC iPlayer has recently cracked down on VPN users and Avira’s UK server is currently blocked, so they suggest downloading the free trial to check that your favorite streaming sites will be available.

It’s difficult to determine whether or not Avira is a good choice for torrenters as it’s very vague about which servers support P2P sharing. All we know is that it depends on the laws of the country in which the server is located, but Avira is yet to provide a definitive list, so we wouldn’t recommend it to keen Kodi fans or heavy torrenters.

Encryption & Security

While Avira doesn’t offer quite as many advanced features as top-tier VPN providers, it’s still pretty secure. All the apps run on OpenVPN except for iOS devices (and MacOS when downloaded from the App Store), which use IKEv2 instead. OpenVPN is our preferred protocol as it offers the best balance between performance and privacy. Encryption is via the ‘unhackable’ AES-256.

We love the VPN kill switch, which blocks web traffic should the VPN connection drop for any reason. Unfortunately this is only available on the paid version and not the free trial. Avira also operates its own secure DNS servers to prevent your traffic from being routed through third-party servers, which could potentially expose your true IP address to your ISP. Protection against DNS leaks is another useful feature that isn’t offered by every other provider.

Avira may be lacking in a few of the more powerful features offered by the some of the more privacy-focused providers, such as Astrill, but everyday users looking for a good level of protection need look no further.

Protocol
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
Encryption
  • AES-256
Security
  • DNS Leak Blocking
  • First-party DNS
  • VPN Kill Switch
Advanced features

    Bypassing Censorship

    Following China’s recent VPN crackdown, we wouldn’t recommend Avira Phantom to people who are mainly going to be connecting out from that country.

    Due to the fact that Avira offers no obfuscation tools, it’s hardly surprising that it’s blocked in China. Usually censors can tell the difference between standard web traffic and VPN traffic, therefore unless you use additional obfuscation methods such as SSL tunneling or Obfsproxy, you’ll find it difficult to get connected. There are other providers out there, such as PrivateVPN, that offer a much more reliable service for use in the country.

    Even in other high-censorship countries Avira wouldn’t be one of our top choices due to its lack of advanced privacy features, making it difficult to overcome government blocks. A small server network means you could also potentially suffer from slow speeds.

    Privacy

    Logging Policy

    Avira collects the minimum amount of information to ensure that the service operates as well as it possibly can. There is no link to the policy on the product’s homepage, but we eventually found it after doing some digging.

    The policy states that it does not track your browsing activity, your originating IP address, the virtual locations you connect to, or any information that could link you to a specific action, such as downloading a file or visiting a particular site. Avira does track the amount of data that you consume and whether you are a free or paid user. The company’s general privacy policy also states that its billing system tells it when a user is online, but there is no indication as to whether a detailed timestamp is collected or for how long. The policy states that the length of time collected information is stored for ‘depends on legal requirements’. While this is vague, the fact that no personally-identifiable information is logged means that it’s not too much of a worry.

    You can also choose to send Avira your diagnostic data to help with product improvements, however this is totally optional and can be switched off in the settings menu of the app.

    Jurisdiction

    Avira operates under the jurisdiction of Germany, which falls under EU data retention laws and is part of the 14 Eyes international intelligence-sharing alliance, both potential red flags for privacy. However, its minimal logging policy goes a long way in mitigating this.

    Avira also states in its privacy policy that it will comply with data requests from public authorities, but it can’t hand over any personally-identifiable information as it doesn’t store any.

    Ease of Use

    Avira is a very simple one-button VPN that’s almost identical on both desktop and mobile. The main screen of the desktop app is a little too streamlined for our liking, with only an on/off button and your current virtual location. We would have appreciated seeing a little more information about our connection, such as our new IP address or the protocol used. We also found the desktop app to be quite unresponsive at times and connecting to certain servers took a couple of tries, which became frustrating.

    The simplistic design becomes more of a problem when it comes to anything beyond the home screen. Aside from a VPN kill switch and the option to automatically secure untrusted WiFi networks, there are no advanced settings at all, putting Avira well behind its rivals in terms of configurable options.

    The software also lacks any protocol settings, and even fails to inform you what protocol you are using. 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 seems strange that they are not upfront about such a positive feature.

    If you’re looking for a VPN with uncluttered and accessible software, Avira is a great choice. However if you like having lots of advanced features to choose from, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

    Getting Started

    Installation and set-up is incredibly simple and only takes a couple of minutes, making it easy even if you’ve never downloaded a VPN before. The general process is to download the relevant software from Avira’s website and then follow the sequence of installation prompts to get the app up and running. Once you’ve done this, either enter your login credentials or sign up for an account, and you’re ready to go.

    The only major downside to Avira’s installation process is the lack of additional support anywhere on the website. Thankfully it’s so easy that you shouldn’t get too stuck, but we missed the step-by-step guides that are usually offered by most other providers, just in case you do encounter any issues.

    • Installing software
    • How to use the app

    Customer Support

    Unfortunately individual customer support is limited to paying customers only, meaning you can’t get personalized help before you sign up, or if you’re just trying out the free plan. Considering the size and global nature of the company, we were surprised that Avira doesn’t offer any form of live chat support. Thankfully email responses are quick and professional, although clearly it’s company policy not to reveal too many details about their server network.

    The knowledge base on the website is pretty limited, with the main feature being a list of a few simple FAQs. However we have to admit that when a product is this simple, there’s a limit to the amount of resources that can be created. Avira has recently introduced a handful of video tutorials to the site, which are very helpful and informative.

    The Bottom Line

    What we like
    • Solid, reliable performance - speeds of up to 69Mbps
    • Incredibly easy to use. Simple set up on most major platforms
    • Connect securely to 25 countries
    • Generous 30-day money-back guarantee
    What we like less
    • Limited customer support
    • Very small server network
    • Subject to EU data retention laws
    • Apps lack configuration options
    • No access to Netflix or BBC iPlayer

    Avira Phantom is a secure, reliable VPN aimed at the average user who doesn’t want to wade through a ton of options they’ll never use. In terms of pricing it’s pretty cheap even on a monthly contract and you can try out the (data-capped) free plan for as long as you like before you commit to a subscription. Access to Netflix and iPlayer is now completely blocked following a long drawn out game of cat-and-mouse.

    Avira offers quick, consistent speeds on local connections, however long-distance connections aren’t as solid as they once were, which may be a problem for some considering the limited number of server locations. Privacy-wise it’s nothing spectacular, but features a high enough level of encryption to ensure your personal information is protected.

    The software looks great and is generally user-friendly but lacking in configurable options when compared to top-tier providers and can be unresponsive at times. Apps are available for most major platforms but unfortunately there are no manual workarounds for other devices, including routers. If you want a ton of advanced privacy settings then you’ll have to look elsewhere, as Avira is aimed primarily at users seeking a simpler, more streamlined experience.


    Avira Phantom User Reviews

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    1.  40% 

      Nope.

      I bought the Avira VPN along with the anti-virus and I'm disappointed, it's just too glitchy and has reverted to the free version many times. It's just been a real pain in the ass and I won't touch it once my year's subscription is up. There is even censorship, it blocks a controversial website at least from the Uk server.

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