Avira Phantom VPN Review (2022): Fast But Limited Features
Avira is one of the leading names in the cybersecurity world thanks to the popular Avira antivirus software. The company also offers several other software programs including the Avira Phantom VPN.
This has both a free version and a premium subscription. We wanted to see how well this VPN service performs and have detailed our observations in our full Avira Phantom VPN review below.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Avira Phantom VPN’s security features, speed, server network, and more.
Avira Phantom VPN – A Short Review
|No logs of personally identifiable information||It does not unblock Netflix and other streaming services|
|Good speeds||The Pro version is expensive|
|P2P compatible||The free version is very limited|
|Offers a super cheap mobile-only plan|
Avira Phantom VPN is a completely free VPN service that also has a Pro version, released by the same company that made the Avira antivirus. The free version of Avira Phantom VPN gives you 500 MB of bandwidth per month and access to just one VPN server.
The app automatically picks the VPN server nearest to you, so there’s no way of choosing the location you want to connect to. The speeds are quite good and your data is secured with the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption.
The Avira Phantom VPN Pro version offers unlimited bandwidth and access to 1400 servers across 37 countries. It works pretty well for anonymous browsing and downloading torrents.
However, the downside is that it does not unblock any popular geographically restricted streaming services like Netflix or DisneyPlus. However, there are several other Netflix VPNs that you can try out.
Further, although it does not log personally identifiable data, Avira Phantom VPN is based in Germany, which is not a privacy-friendly country. The app also needs to improve its interface as it’s a bit clunky at the moment. We’ve explained this in more detail in the complete VPN review below.
Lastly, with a monthly plan for $10.00 per month and an annual plan for $78.oo per year, Avira is pricier than even the best VPN providers. We don’t think it offers enough benefits to justify this steep price.
But it can be a good option for mobile users as it offers a mobile-only plan for just $5.99 a year. This gives you unlimited usage on Android and iOS devices.
- Torrenting allowed
- Credit card
Speed – How Fast is Avira Phantom VPN?
It’s normal for a VPN to slightly reduce the speed of your internet connection. But this should never be too drastic so that you can continue all your online activities without interruptions. Avira Phantom VPN works quite well in this area and scores 8/10 on speed due to the following observations:
- Speed test results showed that it offers great speeds on most servers.
- We did not face any slowdowns or lags when using it for browsing and streaming but it is not suitable for gaming.
Speed test results for Avira Phantom VPN
We used the trusted website Speedtest by Ookla to evaluate Avira Phantom VPN’s performance. We connected to different servers and ran tests to see the impact on speed. These results are summarized in the table below.
Please note that speeds depend on varied factors like location, time of day, and more. Our results are just to give you a general idea of what to expect.
|Server||Download (MBPS)||% Download||Upload (MBPS)||% Upload||Ping (MS)|
|US (New York)||55.67||57.4%||19.77||41.4%||392|
As you can see, we got pretty decent speeds with all the servers we tested but the nearest server automatically chosen by the app performed the best.
Speed during daily use
We were pleased with Avira Phantom VPN”s performance during everyday use. We didn’t notice any delays when browsing web pages or streaming videos. However, the high ping on distant servers would make online gaming pretty impossible.
Safety – How Secure is Avira Phantom VPN?
The prime function of a VPN is to help you browse anonymously and stay safe online. According to our assessment, when it comes to security, Avira Phantom VPN scores 6.5/10 on security due to the following points:
- It uses AES 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN, IPSec, and WireGuard protocols depending on your device.
- It does not log any personally-identifiable data but is based in Germany, which falls within the 14-eyes intelligence alliance.
- The Avira Phantom VPN Pro version has a kill switch only on its Windows app.
- You need to provide your email address and a credit card or PayPal information to create an account.
Avira Phantom VPN uses industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption to scramble your data. This means that even if a hacker got hold of your information, they would never be able to find a way to read it.
As for VPN protocols, Phantom VPN uses OpenVPN TCP and IPSec on its desktop apps. When safety is a priority, we recommend using OpenVPN TCP. And when speed is the priority, use IPSec.
However, when we tested Avira Phantom VPN on macOS, we could not find any option in the settings to change the protocol. We contacted customer support to ask about this but did not get a satisfactory answer. So, it appears that there’s no way of selecting your preferred protocol on the macOS app.
On the plus side, the Android app also offers WireGuard, which is known for the best speeds and security. It would be good to see WireGuard available on the desktop apps too in the future.
Logging and privacy
It states that the provider does not log any sensitive data such as your browsing history and real IP address. However, it does log some minor information like the amount of data you use though this does not contain personally identifiable information.
The only cause for concern is the service’s location in Germany, which falls under the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance organizations. As revealed by the Snowden leaks, countries that belong to these alliances can obtain data directly from Internet Service Providers and share it among themselves.
Moreover, Avira also has to comply with Germany’s local data retention laws, which is not good for privacy.
A kill switch is an essential security feature that automatically “kills” your internet connection when the secure VPN connection drops. This prevents “leakage” of sensitive information like your IP address.
Avira Phantom VPN has a kill switch only on its Windows app so we would like to see this feature on its other apps too.
What information does Avira Phantom VPN need?
To sign up for an Avira Phantom VPN account, all you need is an email address and your payment information. Avira Phantom VPN accepts credit cards or PayPal, so it’s not a VPN that accepts cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Usability – How User-Friendly is Avira Phantom VPN?
It’s essential for a VPN to be easy to use so that even beginners can make the most of it. We rate Avira Phantom VPN 6/10 on usability based on the following observations.
- The website is well laid out and the VPN app is easy to install.
- The Avira Phantom VPN app is straightforward to use but the interface could be improved.
- It’s on the expensive side compared to other leading VPN providers and you can pay by either credit card or PayPal.
- Avira Phantom VPN’s customer service team is quick to respond but didn’t answer our question.
Avira Phantom VPN website and installation process
The Avira Phantom VPN website is nicely designed and easy to navigate. It’s part of the main Avira website and features buttons to download the free Avira VPN or discover the Pro version.
You can click the “Download for free” button to initiate the download of the Avira Phantom VPN app. Alternatively, you can click on “Discover Pro” to be taken to the premium subscriptions page. Then, follow the steps below to install the app.
- On the premium subscriptions page, select either the monthly, annual, or mobile plan and click “Buy Now.”
- Choose a payment method (either PayPal or credit card) and enter the relevant details including your email address.
- Once your payment is complete, you will be prompted to set a password for your Avira account.
- You will then be logged into your account online and promoted to download the Phantom VPN app for your compatible device. You will also receive an email confirmation.
- Lastly, just open the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions to install it on your system.
- Once complete, you can log in using the email and password you provided.
Avira Phantom VPN appearance and ease-of-use
We tested Avira Phantom VPN on macOS and when open, it appears in the top menu bar on your desktop. When you first open the app, you will be asked to select a dark or light theme for the app.
As for the user interface, there’s a green button that you can click to establish a secure VPN connection. By default, the app picks the server located closest to you. You can change this by clicking on the server name and then selecting a location from the list.
Compared to other VPNs we have reviewed, Avira Phantom VPN seems a bit clunky because the server list is sort of hidden away. This takes some getting used to and gets somewhat time-consuming when you want to switch servers.
Moreover, the “Settings” menu is quite brief and doesn’t offer much customization such as choosing protocols.
Lastly, on macOS, we also found it confusing that the Avira Phantom VPN app appeared only in the menu bar when open and not in the Dock like other apps. So, we think Avira needs to overhaul the app’s interface to make it more feature-rich and easier to navigate.
Pricing and payment methods
Avira Phantom VPN is a free VPN that doesn’t even require your email address to download and use. However, it’s highly restricted because you only get 500MB of bandwidth per month and can’t select a server of your choice.
That’s why you’ll want to go for the Pro version which has unlimited bandwidth and the full set of features. There are three subscription options:
- Monthly plan for $10.oo per month.
- Annual plan for $78.00 per year (works out to $6.5 per month).
- Mobile plan for $5.99 per year.
The monthly and annual plans work across devices while the mobile plan is only for Android and iOS. You can pay by either PayPal or a credit card. Unfortunately, it’s not a VPN you can buy anonymously because it doesn’t accept cryptocurrency payments like CyberGhost and several others.
When you go for the annual plan, you get Avira’s 60-day money-back guarantee, which means that you can cancel risk-free within 60 days. However, it may be difficult to claim your refund because you have to contact Avira’s customer support, which we did not find very helpful, as explained below.
On the whole, Avira Phantom VPN’s prices are quite high when compared to other top VPN providers and it doesn’t substantiate them with adequate features.
Avira’s customer service can be contacted by live chat, email, or phone. Live chat was offline whenever we tried using it, so we used email instead. We got a quick response within an hour, but it did not answer our question.
We had asked what protocols are used by the Avira Phantom VPN macOS app but t seems like the customer service agent did not understand our query at all and responded with generic instructions about installing the app.
Additionally, we searched through the online “Knowledge Base” on the Avira website to find an answer to our question but couldn’t find anything concrete.
This was rather disappointing and we hope that the provider steps up its customer support in the future to match competitors like NordVPN which are both quick and effective at helping users.
Avira Phantom VPN’s Server Network
Servers are the backbone of a VPN as they determine the speeds and features you can get. Avira Phantom VPN scores 6/10 in this area due to the following reasons:
- It has a relatively modest network of 1400 servers in 37 countries.
- It does not offer dedicated IP addresses.
Number of servers and locations
Avira Phantom VPN has a network of 1400 servers across 37 countries. This is pretty modest when compared to bigger players like Surfshark and CyberGhost which cover a lot more countries.
However, it’s adequate for most users’ needs. There are no specialized servers for streaming or P2P file sharing. It would be nice if Avira can add these in the future as it makes it easier for users to find servers that specifically meet their needs. Below is a list of all the current server locations:
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
- Asia & Australia: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Singapore
- The Americas: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and the United States.
Dedicated IP address
A dedicated IP address is a private anonymous IP address that gets assigned to you each time you connect to a VPN server. It has the advantage of not being shared with other users.
Many premium VPN providers such as NordVPN and CyberGhost offer dedicated IPs as an add-on feature but Avira Phantom VPN does not currently have this feature.
Avira Phantom VPN’s Options
Some of the benefits of a VPN include anonymous torrenting and accessing geographically restricted content. For instance, if you live in the US and travel abroad, a VPN can help you tune into your favorite US Netflix shows, which wouldn’t otherwise be possible in another country.
We tested Avira Phantom VPN”s capabilities to download torrents and unblock Netflix and other streaming services. Here’s what we found:
- It does not unblock Netflix or other popular services like Hulu, DisneyPlus, and BBC iPlayer.
- Torrenting is allowed, but not recommended.
- Avira Phantom VPN has a built-in adblocker but it doesn’t work very well.
Avira Phantom VPN and streaming (Netflix)
Most VPNs promote how they can unblock geographically restricted streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer. Avira Phantom VPN does not explicitly mention such capabilities on its website but we decided to test it out nonetheless.
Unfortunately, we did not have much success. Phantom VPN does not unblock American Netflix or other regional versions of the popular streaming service.
It does not work with other services too such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. So, it can’t really help you bypass geo-blocks and we recommend you pick some other VPN for streaming such as Surfshark, CyberGhost, or NordVPN. These have the added benefit of being much cheaper than Avira Phantom VPN.
Avira Phantom VPN and torrents
Avira does not offer any specialized servers for P2P file-sharing, but we were able to use it to download torrents without any problems. The speeds are fast enough and the security is foolproof.
However, given the provider’s location in Germany, you should be cautious about the kind of files you download and share due to legal implications. To be on the safer side, opt for one of the best torrenting VPNs that are tried and trusted.
Block ads and malicious sites
A handy extra feature that Avira Phantom VPN provides is malicious site blocking. Once you turn on this feature in the “Settings” menu, of the app all web content considered to be dangerous will be filtered out.
However, this feature did not do much to block intrusive advertising and pop-ups. That’s why we recommend using a dedicated adblocker with this VPN.
Our Experience With Avira Phantom VPN
On the whole, Avira’s Phantom VPN falls short in features despite offering good speeds and security. The free version is quite restricted and the Pro version does not offer enough benefits to justify the high price point.
We would like to see this provider improve its service, add more features, grow its server locations, and overhaul the user interface to make this a better option in the future.
Keeping this in mind, for now, we do not recommend Avira Phantom VPN and suggest that you instead opt for a more feature-rich VPN service like Surfshark, which offers a great blend of speed, security, and other features like unblocking Netflix and other geo-restricted streaming services.
It also offers a free trial that you can take advantage of before committing to a premium subscription.
Got a question about Avira Phantom VPN? We’ve got you covered in our FAQ section below. Just click a question to see the answer.
Avira Phantom VPN Pro offers good speed and security but it falls short when it comes to features. It’s good for anonymous browsing but cannot unblock Netflix and other streaming services. Read more in our full Avira Phantom VPN review.
Yes, Avira offers a completely free VPN but it is very limited. You only get 500MB of bandwidth per month and one server location that’s automatically selected by the app.
Avira’s Phantom VPN supports torrenting, but it’s not the best VPN for torrenting because of its location in Germany and the resulting legal implications. Instead, you can opt for NordVPN, which we crowned as the best VPN for torrenting after lengthy testing.
What Our Experts Have to Say