When Hong Kong-based PandaPow launched its VPN service they had to goal of shaking up the VPN market and offering more than was on offer than other VPN providers in order to stand out from the crowd. The biggest question we'll seek to answer in this review is whether or not they've succeeded.
- Encryption protocols are good
- It supports most operating systems.
- It works in China
- Refund policy is quite good.
- Technical support is not good.
- Sometimes, servers may be unavailable.
Android, iOS, Linux, MacOS, Windows
Amount of Devices
Amount of Servers
One of the first things any customer tends to notice when thinking about purchasing a service is the price of said service. PandaPow offers a competitive pricing plan that is roughly in-line with its competitors as follows:
- 1 Month – $9
- 3 Months – $24
- 1 Year – $84
As you can see, you’ll receive a pretty hefty discount by purchasing a yearly subscription, a staple for most VPN providers. All plans come with a 7-day refund policy, which is handy as the service doesn’t offer a trial period.
One of the biggest advantages that PandaPow has over its competitors in this area is that it offers the ability to pause your subscription if you know that you won’t be needing it for a while, a feature that we’d love to see other VPN providers offer.
You can use a number of different methods to pay for the service, the standard methods such as PayPal, credit and debit cards will work just fine, but if you’re looking to pay in a slightly more exotic way then PandaPow may have what you’re after. You can pay using AliPay, UnionPay, Tenpay, and WeChat Pay. You won’t find these options available on most other VPN services. Although the company do not currently accept any block chain currencies, this may change in the future if enough customers demand it, so be sure to check their website regularly for any updates.
So, once you’ve decided that the price is within your range, you’ll want to know what you’ll be getting for you money. PandaPow is available on Microsoft Windows, Android, and iOS running Mac OS X and later. If you have tablet devices that require VPN access then you’ll be in luck if you use Windows Mobile, Windows RT, Linux, BlackBerry, or ChromeOS as the service is available on those as well.
When the service is up and running on your favorite device then you’ll be greeted with a number of different ways to connect. PandaPow supports PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, and OpenVPN protocols to ensure that you have the greatest amount of freedom in choosing your connection.
Ok so the price is right, and the features offer what you’re looking for, but what about connectivity to the VPN servers themselves? After all, a VPN that only offers servers in your own country wouldn’t do you much good if you’re attempting to unblock certain websites. With PandaPow you can access servers in over 16 different locations, including Hong Kong, USA, UK, France, Netherlands, Singapore, and others. If you’re looking for particular countries that aren’t mentioned, then make sure you check on the website for full availability before you decide to purchase.
One of the most promising features of the VPN is their ability to unblock Netflix’s region lock, something that some of the larger, more established VPN providers have been unable to do. Users have reported that Hulu and Amazon Prime (US) have worked over PandaPow as well.
It’s important to mention that for PandaPow to become a top-tier VPN prover they will have to add more countries to their server list, particularly as more and more European countries are region-locking their internet TV services.
If for any reason the service or your billing doesn’t work as intended, then it’s important to know that you can actually contact the company themselves for help. Luckily, they have great customer support through a live-chat system on their website. Although this service isn’t 24/7 as most users would like, they are available for most of the Hong Kong working hours.
If you’re looking for complete privacy, then unfortunately PandaPow doesn’t quite deliver what other providers can. Depending on the VPN protocol that you decide to use, your original IP address, DNS, and WebRTC are visible to servers you connect to. Whilst this may not be an issue for many customers, if you’re looking for complete privacy and invisibility then you may wish to look into other providers before you commit to PandaPow.
So maybe you aren’t so interested in privacy features but would rather just use the VPN for torrenting semi-anonymously, then one of the most important features that you’ll want to look at is the speed that the VPN servers have to offer. Internet speeds can be a tricky thing, firstly, you aren’t going to get a better speed than you can get without a VPN, so this isn’t a way to speed up your internet overall. If you have a great connection though, you’ll be pretty pleased with the speed results if you select a server close to you. During our tests we were able to obtain speeds that were in-line with our own internet connection, although if you somehow have access to super-fast gigabit internet then perhaps PandaPow’s servers won’t quite be able to keep pace. If you connect to servers that are on the other side of the planet to you then unfortunately, you’re going to notice a serious drop in speed, probably less than half of what you’d expect your speed to be. This isn’t necessarily the fault of PandaPow, as we said, internet speeds can be tricky, but the speeds we were able to obtain were within what we’d expect a VPN service to offer.
One of the most talked about features in any internet service today is security, particularly security of your data. Nobody would want a VPN service that records all of your internet traffic, otherwise there’d be little point in purchasing a VPN service to begin with. This is one area where having the company based in Hong Kong can pay off, as the region doesn’t have any mandatory data retention laws, so the company technically doesn’t have to store any of your data. That’s not to say that they don’t store any, as it is currently pretty common practice for companies to store some of your data in order to improve their services and connectivity, but unfortunately PandaPow isn’t explicit in which data they choose to store.
One thing that the company does make clear though is that they will release your information to any law enforcement agency if they are required by law to do so, so although we would never condone any illegal activity, if you’re looking for a VPN to get around laws in your country then this VPN probably isn’t for you.
PandaPow’s Wi-Fi Service
A must have for any dedicated user of PandaPow, their dedicated piece of hardware has its own Wi-Fi so that any traffic that is connected is automatically routed through the VPN service. Handy if you don’t want the hassle of installing the VPN client on each of your devices. You can manage the device through a PC using a simple interface similar to the application and then you can set-and-forget, provided you don’t want to change which server the VPN connects to.
The only downside to this is that the device is in such high demand it’s often sold out, so make sure that you check their page regularly for updates on when they’ll be getting in new stock.
The device also comes with battery power so if you have a 3G or 4G dongle you can plug it into the device and access your VPN Wi-Fi network wherever you go, although remember that this can be a costly service if you run over your provider’s data limits.
PandaPow VPN is definitely going to be a provider to watch out for in the future, particularly if they decide to invest in their service and increase the number of servers that they offer to customers. Although right now the service is recommended if you’re just looking to connect to a few countries to get around region blocking.
There are certainly some downsides to PandaPow, with the lack of easy to reach customer support being one of the major issues, particularly if you happen to be based in the Americas as you’ll either be up really early or staying awake really late in order to talk to them. But if all goes well with the service, as it does with most users, then you won’t need to contact them at all.
Speedy servers are a great feature for any VPN provider and definitely a major factor to consider, there aren’t many VPN providers that are offer the speeds PandaPow can, so make sure to factor that into any decision you decide to make in the future.
Overall this is a handy little VPN for those who aren’t so interested in privacy and advanced security features, is also isn’t too pricey on a month by month basis so trying the service for a month to see if it can provide what you’re after might just be a good idea.
Head of content