Avira Phantom VPN Review – Easy To Use But Is It Safe?
Not everyone can be the phantom of the opera, but no one can become more than a phantom on the Internet. Is Avira the best choice for this role? Well, while the trend seems to be that old-school cybersecurity companies can only create horrible VPNs, Avira is actually a mid-range for the higher end of the market.
Our crew breaks it down in this Avira Phantom VPN review.
Avira Phantom VPN focuses on security as the main strength. Features include:
- Solid AES-256 data encryption with SHA-512 authentication
- Decent choice of tunneling protocols: OpenVPN for Windows, L2TP/IPSec for macOS, IKEv2 for iOS
- Kill Switch (Pro version)
- Supports IPv6
- Private DNS Servers
This covers the basics and makes the service secure enough for the vast majority of people.
We ran some leak tests on Avira Phantom VPN and found no IPv6 leaks, DNS leaks, or WebRTC leaks. Meanwhile, a kill switch protects against IP address leakage due to VPN connections being interrupted.
Avira Phantom VPN lacks some of the more advanced security features of the hottest names on the market. Some examples are multiple hops, Tor integration, or stealth protocol. However, we wouldn’t consider that against the service – it’s clearly not aimed at the most demanding users out there.
Does Avira Phantom VPN keep logs?
Short answer: little, but not enough to worry about
However, we would like to point out that we are legally obligated to store certain data for longer periods of time (for example, retention periods for accounting documents are currently 10 years (Finance Law of Germany)).
Speaking of which, Germany is a member of Eye Watch Alliance 14 And 21 of Avira VPN’s 38 server locations are located in the 14 Eyes countries. Depending on the activities you are involved in, this can be a privacy concern.
speed and performance
Avira Phantom VPN is definitely mediocre in the connection speed department. Here are the details.
Paid users will have access to 38 server locations (12 in the USA). That’s a total of 37 countries and 150 servers. The sites are well spread out and cover the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia – speeds for users in these regions should be decent. However, there is little or no coverage in the Middle East or Africa, so users in these regions may want to give Avira a pass.
Speed test results
Avira Phantom VPN Speed Test from Europe was conducted using a 75Mbps non-VPN connection.
Here are the speeds at three different locations:
- Loading: 52 Mbps (31% decrease)
- Loading: 56 Mbps (25% drop)
United States of America
- Loading: 27 Mbps (64% decrease)
- Loading: 12 Mbps (84% drop)
- Loading: 28 Mbps (63% decrease)
- Loading: 5 Mbps (99.33% dropout rate)
The drop percentages you see above are very mid-range. However, the important thing is that they are consistent: speeds and ping change appropriately as the distance between us and the server increases. This means that users are not likely to be disappointed with their region (unless it is a region with few servers).
Ease of use and multi-platform support
Unfortunately, Avira Phantom VPN also installs the generic Avira Software Manager, which really works like bloatware.. Don’t be surprised – you’re also a happy owner of Identity Scanner now, and you’ve never been given the option to opt out.
Avira’s website is easy to use and does not attack the visitor with the technical mumbo-jumbo technique. This also means that advanced users will have to dig deeper to get the technical answers they are looking for.
Here is the list of Avira Phantom VPN apps:
- Windows 7 and later
- Android (4.1, not applicable to TVs)
- macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or later
- iOS 8 and later
- Chrome (a browser plug-in that acts as a proxy)
Routers and other network devices, such as smart TVs or game consoles, do not have dedicated apps and are not supported. Although you can try to make it work if the device uses Android as some TVs do. There is also no Linux app.
On the plus side, Avira Phantom VPN allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections per subscription.
The most important difference between the Windows and Mac versions is the protocol used. Windows and Android have OpenVPN, while the Mac offers L2TP/IPSec instead of the preferred IKEv2/IPSec (appears in iOS).
Avira apps are easy to use. The choice is more or less limited to toggling the kill switch and choosing a VPN server to connect to.
Unblock Netflix and other streaming platforms
Avira Phantom VPN no longer unblocks Netflix (US, Australia, Japan, UK, Netherlands, Germany).
Avira makes no guarantees and recommends that you try the free version first to see if you get the content you want. As of late 2018 – early 2019, Avira Phantom VPN no longer unblocks Netflix (US, Australia, Japan, UK, Netherlands, Germany).
BBC iPlayer is also banned and we don’t expect much success on other streaming platforms either. Simply put, Avira Phantom VPN doesn’t do much as a tool to unblock geo-restricted streams.
P2P and torrenting activities
Avira did not mention torrenting as a keyword in its presentation of Phantom VPN even though the service itself is not illegal and the VPN allows P2P file sharing. A question was posted on their forum some time ago, asking for a straight answer – are torrenting allowed in Avira Phantom VPN?
The answer is yes.” This is a good first step because other features make this a good choice for torrenting activities: the security features are strong and the speeds are decent. Perhaps the only factor that might make us pause a bit is the fact that Germany is known for its rather stringent copyright enforcement. Avira’s minimal logging makes the risks very small.
Incidentally, this also means that users can use Avira Phantom VPN alongside Kodi or Popcorn Time instead of streaming services like Netflix.
Internet censorship in China and elsewhere
Based on forum opinions and user reviews, we conclude While Phantom sometimes operates in China, it often disappoints.
Even Avira itself doesn’t market the Pro version as a tool that guarantees you a decent connection in China, and another user answered a knowledge base question about Phantom’s performance in China that nothing worked.
Avira does not have a so-called “stealth protocol” to avoid China’s use of deep packet inspection. As a result, it is possible that authorities will be able to stop Avira traffic by defining tunneling protocols. Basically, there are better tools to use in China and other embargoed countries. Check out our best VPNs for China list instead.
Avira Phantom VPN offers the following troubleshooting options:
- Email Support
- Free phone number
- knowledge base
- Videos and tutorials
No live chat option. Email support works well and users can expect to receive answers to queries within 1-2 days.
With Avira Phantom, you can test almost everything for free (Keep the key to lock and support) and decide if you are willing to spend money on it.
Avira offers three pricing plans:
- One month package for all devices: 10.00 bucks
- Monthly plan for iOS and Android: 5.99 US dollars
- 1-year plan for all devices: $78.00 ($6.50 per month)
Compared to the average prices of the best VPNs, Avira becomes quite uncompetitive because for the same price you can get more powerful and secure software, such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
Unfortunately, there is no truly anonymous payment option like Bitcoin. Users can only pay by card or PayPal, neither of which is ideal for people in high-risk situations.
Avira Phantom VPN is much better than most antivirus companies offer. This is actually a very good tool, good for security as well as activities like torrenting. If you want something for Netflix or other streaming content – look elsewhere.
If Phantom of Avira is still on your mind, go ahead and take its generous free copy for a spin.