Gadget news
Keap review
2:02 pm | November 23, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Keap delivers an integrated sales and marketing CRM suite including contact management, email marketing, and payment capabilities. Your business needs one of the best CRM software solutions to manage its pipeline, so read our Keap review to find out if this is the right one for you.

Keap review: Snapshot

Keap is not your typical CRM software. Its combined set of features blurs the line between sales and marketing, with native payments, appointment booking, and email marketing functionality built on top of a core contact and pipeline management system.

Though its steep price and contact storage limits may deter some small businesses, Keap helps you convert leads through advanced marketing campaigns and save time through workflow automation and payment integration.

Its straightforward interface and generous support options make it highly accessible even for the most novice CRM users. With Keap, you can get started straight away and reap benefits from email campaigns and automated triggers without a huge learning curve.

Score: 4/5

Read on for our full review.

Keap competitors

Keap: Key features

You can add your contacts to Keap manually, through a CSV file, by scanning business cards with the mobile app, or by capturing leads from webforms. You can use Keap tags, such as “Nurture subscriber,” to segment contact lists, or create your own. On the Pro and Max plans, you can create unlimited sales and project pipelines by using existing Keap templates or designing your own.

With a UI similar to Mailchimp’s, Keap offers advanced email campaign building, sending, and tracking functionality. You can create unlimited templates on all plans and send bulk emails at no additional cost and with no contact limits. Customer engagement is recorded, including open and click rates, and is synced across contact lists. 

Native appointment management functionality saves you from setting up meetings in another program: you can create recurring appointments, accept bookings via shareable links, and automate meeting reminders directly from Keap. If you’re in the US or Canada, you can also make and track calls.

Keap throws payment functionality into the mix, which isn’t usually native to CRM products such as Zoho CRM or HubSpot CRM. On Lite plans and above, you can track your invoices, send one-click quotes to clients, and receive one-time payments directly to your bank account. On Pro and Max, you can additionally set recurring payments and create checkout forms for your e-commerce website.

Finally, automation is an enticing Keap feature: triggers can be set based on contact tags, email engagement, and pipeline stages, among others, so you can reduce your team’s manual work. For example, you can automate a welcome email when a new lead is captured on a webform. 

The sales reporting function, available on Pro and Max plans, includes not just internal company data, such as closed deals and email engagement, but also comparative industry data. The main shortcoming is that you can’t build your own reports from scratch, which is a common feature among competitors including Zoho CRM, Hubspot CRM, and Insightly.

Image 1 of 5

Keap review

Keap’s home screen summarizes sales figures, campaign stats, and upcoming team tasks (Image credit: Keap)
Image 2 of 5

Keap review

It’s easy to add, manage, and prioritize contacts on Keap’s CRM (Image credit: Keap)
Image 3 of 5

Keap review

Setting trigger-based workflow automation is available on all Keap plans (Image credit: Keap)
Image 4 of 5

Keap review

You can integrate with your email client and manage appointments without leaving Keap (Image credit: Keap)
Image 5 of 5

Keap review

Sales reporting and analytics are available on Keap’s Pro and Max plans (Image credit: Keap)

Keap: What’s new?

Keap has integrated the formerly known Infusionsoft software into its Max plan, aimed at established businesses. Max includes advanced features such as lead scoring, one-click cross-selling, customizable analytics, and real-time updates and automations from Shopify sales. 

E-commerce integrations have been upgraded on Pro as well, with online check-out forms being customizable and synced across your CRM data. The Lite and Pro plans have additionally seen improvements in mobile marketing: for instance, you can broadcast and automate text messages to your contacts if based in the US and Canada.

Keap: Pricing

Keap charges for its three plans on a monthly basis. Although it has no annual billing option, it does drop 30% off the initial five months, with regular prices billed thereafter. Keap monthly pricing increases with the number of contacts stored, and each additional user is billed at a flat $30 each. Starting with $56 a month for 500 contacts on the Lite plan, Keap plans can go as high as $350 a month for 25,000 contacts on the Max plan.

Users can also work with a professional Keap coach to develop a personalized sales and marketing playbook for a one-off fee of $499.

*limited functionality

Testing Keap

Below, we test how well Keap’s main features perform and how quickly you can start to use it with a small to midsize team. Our tests help conclude whether you can expect to increase your team’s productivity and pipeline effectiveness.

How easy to use is Keap?

Keap’s UI is impressively intuitive. Though chatbot tips and in-app tutorials are provided on first use, an inexperienced user could easily get by without them. With a larger-than-average font size, plenty of white space, and observable action buttons, doing the CRM basics - managing contacts, visualizing pipelines, and appointing tasks - is seamless.

When starting off, you’re prompted to add your first contacts, either manually or by importing from a spreadsheet or alternative contact lists such as Google, Mailchimp, or Quickbooks. This would be a quick process necessitating only a few clicks, if not for a spam-deterrent question asking if the contacts are expecting emails from your business. If the answer is no, Keap won’t allow you to email them. 

Some automations can be set without leaving the Contacts tab, such as adding contacts to a list when an email has been opened. Conveniently, real-time information about ongoing conversations, appointments, and tasks is available in the contact’s profile summary. 

Overall, Keap’s interface is easy to get used to, but there are some less intuitive features, such as placing the Save button at the top of forms and not at the bottom.

Screenshot from Automations tab in Keap

You can choose Keap’s ready-made workflow automations or create your own (Image credit: Keap)

Get up and running with Keap

On sign-up, a quick but mandatory questionnaire registers your top CRM priorities using straightforward statements such as “I want to quickly follow up with new leads.” It also integrates with email and calendar services such as Google or Microsoft. This saves time doing vital integrations later on and tailors your in-app recommendations.

The home dashboard provides a big-picture view of your sales figures, upcoming meetings, and email campaign stats, with a short two-click journey to create a new contact, email, task, or appointment. 

Setting up a pipeline takes only a few minutes: you can either choose Keap’s template or customize your own. A drag-and-drop Kanban board makes it easy to move deals throughout sales stages, and pipeline analytics are just one click away, allowing you to identify bottlenecks across pipelines and appraise individual rep performance.

Screenshot of customizing a sales pipeline in Keap

You can choose Keap’s ready-made workflow automations or create your own (Image credit: Keap)

How advanced are Keap’s email campaigns?

Keap’s bulk emails are sent from the Broadcasts tab and its email builder felt intuitive and glitch-free in our testing. Pop-ups offer useful suggestions - including adding name fields in subject lines - while industry-specific templates get you started with email structures and designs.

The template editor works by dragging and dropping content blocks, including text, image, video, and social media buttons. It is easy to make quick changes directly in the email design, such as undoing, deleting, or adding an element. Switching from desktop to mobile preview is just a click away at any point. This is an important feature as a large proportion of emails are opened on mobile devices.

Before sending to specified recipient lists, Keap asks for details such as your business address, to comply with marketing regulations. While this is a welcome feature, the pop-up could appear prior to editing for a more frictionless experience. In our test, the email broadcast reached the recipient within a minute or so, after choosing “immediate” sending.

Screenshot of Keap’s email template editor

Email templates are easily customized with drag-and-drop elements (Image credit: Keap)

Alternatives to Keap

Like Keap, competitors Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM are suitable for small to midsize businesses that require an integrated sales and marketing suite. A shared feature for all three products is the ability to send and track bulk emails, although Zoho CRM lacks advanced features provided by the other two, including newsletter templates, drag-and-drop functionality, and A/B testing.

Keap outperforms Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM in user-friendly design: contact lists, appointments, and pipelines look less cluttered, and automations are created with fewer clicks. Keap also features payment and quote management, which is rare across competitor products. That said, reporting and pipeline management, which Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM offer on their free plans, are not available on the Keap starter plan.

For more information, read our Zoho CRM review and HubSpot CRM review.

Keap: Final verdict

Keap’s above-average price tag is justified through a seamlessly integrated sales and marketing engine. Its price includes unlimited emails and templates, which can be sent to all contacts in your database. Real-time payment integrations with ecommerce platforms such as Shopify are augmented by automatic quote-to-invoice conversions as leads become clients. 

One of Keap’s biggest selling points is how easy it is to set up and use. With clear user journeys, pop-up tips, and an action-oriented interface, you can add contacts and appointments, and send email campaigns in no time. Though you can do advanced tracking and A/B testing for email campaigns, sales reporting and analytics are reserved for Pro and Max plans. But even then, it’s not as customizable as reporting offered by competitors like HubSpot CRM or Zoho CRM. 

Keap’s workflow automation effectiveness can’t be understated. Available across all plans, it can replace manual tasks with triggers from sales stages, contact details, email engagement, payments, and more. 

While clearly on the pricey side, Keap has a compelling set of tools for small teams who are ready to ride their next wave of growth.

Further reading

For more background information, read our feature on what CRM software is. Our best CRM software buying guide includes more alternatives to Keap, and you can also check out our best free CRM software and best CRM for small business top picks.

Sonos Arc review
11:45 pm | November 22, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

The Sonos Arc is the company's biggest and beefiest soundbar even now, a few years on from its release. While we’re not sure if the device gets its name from the HDMI interface it uses, the curved sound it pitches or the fact that it is perhaps, metaphorically, a vessel delivering impressive surround sound to the modern minimalist home – but whichever the case, this bar is built to deliver big sound without taking over the room. 

The Sonos Arc can deliver the best quality Dolby lossless audio found on cutting edge Blu-ray disks, and can provide the 3D soundscape of Dolby Atmos object tracks from discs and streaming movies. This means that it can bounce certain sounds off the walls around you so they feel like they’re coming at you from all angles. Interestingly, this is what the Sonos Era 100 & 300 are rumored to do – the upcoming Sonos speakers that could blow the competition out of the water. 

the sonos arc soundbar on a tv stand

(Image credit: Future)

While all this might sound complicated, the Sonos Arc setup couldn’t be simpler, involving just a couple of steps on the smartphone app. The minimalist cable connections and all-in-one system construction add to this no-fuss feeling and streamlined aesthetic. If you’ve got a media room with four walls and a roof then this is absolutely one of the best soundbars around. 

There are some caveats for those with expansive TV rooms – or smaller rooms that might be able to get away with using the smaller and more affordable Sonos Beam (Gen 2) instead. It's also important to note that it only has one HDMI port – it doesn't have a 'passthrough' port, like most soundbars do these days, so you lose the use of the port it's connected to.

But all up, the Arc is a pretty amazing bit of kit that can mimic impressive 3D sound from a sleek and self-contained unit, making it the best Dolby Atmos soundbar around if you want one without a separate subwoofer or speakers. Though being Sonos, you could add those later, of course…

a closeup of the Sonos Arc soundbar

The Sonos Arc soundbar was subject to a price increase. (Image credit: Future)

Sonos Arc: price and availability

  • Released in June 2020
  • Official price: $899 / £899 / AU$1,499

The Sonos Arc soundbar launched globally on June 10, 2020 and cost $799 / £799 / AU$1,399 as a standalone unit. However, after Sonos announced a nearly product-wide price hike, it now costs $899 / £899 / AU$1,499.

While this Atmos-enabled speaker is perfectly capable on its own, you can also add the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) for $749 / £749 / AU$1099 for huge bass upgrage, or a Sonos Sub Mini ($429 / £429 / AU$699) for a smaller bass boost. You can also add a pair of Sonos One SL units for rear left and right surround sound, which will set you back $199 / £179 / AU$289 each. These speakers have also increased in price since their launch.

The Arc has been designed to sit on the tabletop beneath your TV, but you can also mount it below a screen using the Sonos Arc compatible wall mount ($79 / £79 / AU$99).

A lot has happened in soundbar world since the Sonos Arc's release, and it's price looks a little on the high side if you just want big home theater sound. You can get something like the Samsung HW-Q930B, with sub and rear speakers included, for around the same price as the Sonos Arc alone. However, not everyone wants all those boxes, even when they're wireless, and when it comes to all-in-one soundbars, the Arc is good value compared to competition such as the Sony HT-A7000.

a closeup of the Sonos Arc soundbar

The soundbar is the same width as a 55-inch TV. (Image credit: Future)

Sonos Arc: design and features

  • Width of a 55-inch TV 
  • Simple setup
  • Taller than most soundbars

There was a time where you wouldn’t consider anything other than a multi speaker array for the best quality surround sound, but Dolby Atmos is leading the charge to deliver 3D audio effects from a more streamlined system – and the Sonos Arc is a great example of this.

The self contained single unit has only two essential inputs: a power cable and a HDMI in, and while an Ethernet socket and a Digital Optical to HDMI adapter are available out of the box, it’s only recommended you use them if you absolutely have to. Sonos doesn’t even include a remote, suggesting you instead connect the soundbar to your TV via the Audio Return Channel (ARC) and just use your TV remote (or control it through the new Sonos S2 smartphone app). 

Key specs

Speakers: 5.0.2, 11 Class-D amplifiers, 8 woofers, 3 tweeters  Dimensions: 45 x 3.4 x 4.5 inches (1141.7 x 87 x 115.7mm), 13.78 lbs (6.25 kg )
Finish: Matte Black or White
Connections: HDMI input (ARC), optical digital audio to HDMI converter, Bluetooth, Ethernet port, 802.11b,g Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, IR receiver
App: Android (no Trueplay), iOS
Subwoofer included: No 

Even the color choices are simple with the Arc, being available in just back or white. And while you can of course pair the Sonos Arc soundbar with the Sonos Sub or a pair of One SL speakers for deeper bass and true surround sound, it’s been created to be an excellent audio solution on its own, which cuts down on overall clutter.

Since the Arc is intended to bounce audio off the roof and walls of your room to create a 3D soundscape, it’s wrapped on the top, front, and either end by metal, hole-punch speaker grilles that cover the various orientations of the Atmos driver array.

a closeup of the Sonos arc soundbar

The Arc is intended to bounce audio off the roof and walls of your room. (Image credit: Future)

The soundbar sits a little higher than most at 3.4-inches (8.7cm), and this can be a problem with TVs that sit very low on their stands. But the built in IR repeater means it won’t block your remote connection, and this extra headroom gives a little more space to the upward firing Atmos drivers. At 45-inches (114.17cm) wide it’ll line up roughly with the edges of the average 55-inch TV, and its scale makes it suitable for anything up to 85 inches.

There is a simple status LED light that self-adjusts brightness according to ambient light and the subtle capacitive play/pause, volume and mute buttons help it blend into the background. 

There’s two rear reinforced holes to wall mount the 13.78 lb (6.25 kg) unit for a forward facing mounting setup, but naturally the bass response is a little more concentrated when it can reflect off a tabletop surface. 

While there is a Digital Optical converter included with the Arc, Atmos can only be carried over HDMI so by connecting it you’ll be sacrificing top quality sound. Dolby Atmos still isn't ubiquitous in terms of availability so making sure you have all the right bits can be a bit of a process. To see if your other current components are Atmos-ready check out our Dolby Atmos explainer

a closeup of the Sonos Arc

The setup process is designed to be as simple as possible, all done through the Sonos S2 smartphone app. (Image credit: Future)

Much like everything else with the Arc, the setup process is designed to be as simple as possible, all done through the new Sonos S2 smartphone app. After the initial plug in, you’re asked to download the app from the App store or Google Play Store (if you don’t already have it). 

Then, you'll need to follow a couple of prompts to connect the TV to Wi-Fi, any audio streaming or internet radio services you may already be signed up to, and your choice of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Other than this there’s not much else to the setup, it’s a relatively painless process (especially if you already have a Sonos account). 

There is one last task you’ll want to perform before firing up your favorite movies, however: Trueplay Tuning. Trueplay is Sonos’ tool that analyzes the shape of a room in order to best balance the sound output. It can detect how the sound reflects, and tweak its audio to make everything sound as good as possible.

It makes a marked difference to detail overall, and to the clarity and precision of Dolby Atmos positional effects.

the sonos arc on a tv stand

Trueplay is Sonos’ proprietary adaptive soundscape tool which analyzes the shape of a room in order to best balance the sound output for everyone in it. (Image credit: Future)

There is one pretty considerable hitch, however: Trueplay is only compatible with iOS devices. This is a big inconvenience for non-Apple users and Sonos says that the diversity in Android hardware means it isn’t planning on developing it anytime soon. 

Fortunately, you can borrow an iOS device to run the calibration in the soundbar’s final location and it’ll remain true as long as you keep things in vaguely the same place. It’s an inconvenience, but on balance it’s probably simpler than having to store a dedicated tuning microphone somewhere memorable after setup. 

the side speakers on the sonos arc soundbar

The Sonos Arc contains eight elliptical woofers combine to deliver a solid overall bass response. (Image credit: Future)

Sonos Arc: audio performance

  • Excellent for both music and movies
  • Great surround sound for a single bar
  • Best with the right-shaped room

The Sonos Arc’s audio capabilities are seriously great. Eight elliptical woofers combine to deliver a solid overall bass response and the tuning balances a nice amount of warmth through the mids with an impressive level of clarity. 

This precision is matched by the three silk dome tweeters that deliver particularly crisp highs with an impressive level of control. We were particularly taken by the unit's ability to deliver soundscapes that distinguished sound from individual instruments during particular arrangements without feeling disjointed. 

This type of spatial precision makes sense when you consider that the Sonos Arc was designed to make the most of Dolby Atmos, an audio codec which separates sounds into object based audio tracks, so particular sources can be quickly shifted between speakers and bounced around the room more easily. So unsurprisingly, the Arc is very capable once you’ve tuned it to the room and it’s able to bounce effects around you. 

a closeup of the sonos arc soundbar

The Sonos Arc offers an impressive level of clarity. (Image credit: Future)

It’s worth pointing out that because the system uses your room to actually get the sound around you there’s going to be some variation in the Arc’s ability to deliver surround sound. 

We tested it in a room with a 20 foot (6 meter) vaulted ceiling and a nib wall behind the sofa, which makes it essentially impossible to bounce audio around behind you. 

So while we were able to experience excellent height and left/right soundscape movement, we definitely didn’t get the same surround sound experience as a multi-speaker array. 

That said, the speaker’s audio positioning was good enough that in a boxier media room we’d expect you’d be able to get surprisingly close to multi-speaker surround sound using just the Arc soundbar.

We really didn’t feel any desperate need to add a Sub to the Arc soundbar, there was more than enough powerful bass to allow you to feel those on-screen explosions or beat drops when turned up loud. We even felt the night mode settings that lower the bass EQ would be a useful feature for those in apartments with thin walls.

However, we have tested the Sonos Sub Mini with all three Sonos soundbars, and it does add extra power to the mix, no question – it's just not essential.

Should I buy the Sonos Arc?

Sonos Arc

(Image credit: Future)

Buy the Arc if ...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Not convinced by our Sonos Arc review? We've picked three other soundbars you may want to consider below:

Bitdefender Premium VPN review
7:26 pm | November 11, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

With global connectivity and increased security, the importance of daily Internet access cannot be overstated. There is a growing need to secure one's internet access, which is why so many people are turning to the best VPNs, which protect your identity from online threats and hide your IP address from intruders and hackers. 

It’s here where Bitdefender Premium VPN sits. You may have heard of Bitdefender, one of the world's largest cybersecurity technology companies, and its VPN offering is a product powered by the impressive standalone VPN service Hotspot Shield.

As such, Bitdefender employs Hotspot Shield's Catapult Hydra protocol, which is one of the fastest VPN tunneling protocols available on the market. Available through Bitdefender’s official app, it includes core essentials, with P2P support and a VPN kill switch to protect you if the VPN connection drops. There’s also AES 256-bit key encryption to ensure complete online anonymity. Bitdefender VPN boasts 4,000 servers in 49 countries. 

  • You can try Bitdefender Premium VPN by clicking here

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Pricing & plans 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

Bitdefender Premium price starts at $6.99 per month. To save up to 40%, consider using the discounted annual subscription for the first year for $29.99, which works out at around $2.50 a month. There's also a 30-day money-back guarantee if the service doesn't work out for you. Payments can be made by MasterCard, PayPal, or bank transfer.

Alternatively, you can try the Bitdefender free VPN. However, this is only accessible if you have an active security package with the provider. On the free plan, daily traffic is capped at 200MB, with no ability to select a location, so it won't be of much use if you’re looking to access geo-restricted content online. Additionally, you can connect up to ten devices, including those running Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. 

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Privacy & encryption 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

Nearly every common VPN website claims that "No Loging" however there is frequently a privacy policy that either provides very little information about any specifics or indicates that the firm does, in fact, log some of your information. 

Bitdefender Premium VPN does not have complete control over its service logging policies because its software works by connecting to Hotspot Shield servers via the Hotspot Shield network. The company’s basic privacy statement explains what information is collected and how it is used: 

“We collect for this service only randomly generated or hashed user and device IDs, IP addresses, and randomly generated tokens to establish a VPN connection for the sole purpose of providing the VPN service. For this service, we use AnchorFree as a data processor who processes data on behalf of Bitdefender in accordance with Bitdefender's instructions and for the sole purpose of providing VPN services to users."

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

When we checked the Hotspot Shield privacy policy for more information, we were reassured that there is no monitoring of your web traffic or browsing history. However, data such as your browser type, device settings, network information, and more are logged in. While this does not allow the company to see anything of what you're doing online, it is definitely more than you will find with the majority of the competition.

With support for the Advanced Encryption Standard, employing a 256-bit version of it, the privacy tool is impenetrable even to the most powerful modern computers and ensures complete online anonymity. The VPN also uses the superfast catapult hydra protocol so when you browse the internet your IP address is rerouted. Also, you won’t find any Domain Name System (DNS), Web Real-time Communication, or other leaks when using Bitdefender Premium VPN.

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Streaming  

Netflix menu showing popular shows

(Image credit: Netflix)

Bitdefender Premium VPN is sold mostly for the sake of encrypting your data and allowing you to anonymously browse the internet. But the website does claim that you can unlock media, videos, and messages from all over the world - it’s just a shame it doesn't.

In our tests, we found this is certainly no streaming VPN. In fact, it’s terrible for at it. It doesn't work with top sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. On the other hand, we were able to access BBC iPlayer when we connected to the UK server. If you’re looking for the best VPNs for Netflix and the like, we recommend ExpressVPN, as connections are great, it features lightning-fast speeds, and it’s simple to use across all apps.

We noticed that popular torrent applications like BitTorrent and Vuze are compatible with all of its servers and the VPN allows P2P transmission, so you may have better luck using it as a VPN for torrenting

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Speed & experience 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

In our testing, we discovered that the download speed peaked at 54.65Mbps when Bitfinder’s VPN was turned off. 

When we turned it on, we found speeds decreased to 18.68mpbs, well below average. To be honest, since the release of WireGuard, Bitdefender VPN isn't as fast as providers like NordVPN, CyberGhost, and IPVanish that reach about 880Mbps. 

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Customer support 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

The Bitdefender support staff can be contacted via phone, live chat, email, and phone. It should be noted that this is the general support team for all of Bitdefender's products and services, not just Premium VPN. 

And that’s a concern. Getting support from the support team may be simple, but we’re not sure a company that sells antivirus software with a VPN on the side can provide the kind of support offered by specialist providers. 

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Apps 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

If you've ever used Bitdefender antivirus software, you're probably already aware of Linux's absence from it. Its VPN is the same - there is no Linux application. But there are programs for Windows and Mac, with mobile VPN apps for Android and iOS. 


The Windows interface for Bitdefender Premium VPN is clear and easy to use with useful settings such as the kill switch, which blocks internet traffic if the VPN connection drops. Although the location list lacks favorites or previously used servers for easier reconnection, it allows switching locations without disconnecting the current connection. Desktop notifications also let you know when you're protected and when you're not.

The UI is recognizable with its sizable blue Connect button, the name of the location you are currently selecting, and, if you click it, a list of more locations to choose from.There is a search box, but no cities are provided (just countries), and there are no server load figures or ping times to help you in choosing.

The UI of the macOS version remains the same, but features have been drastically reduced, and split tunneling and the most advanced auto-connect options are no longer available. It leaves you with a stripped-down version, but it still has the kill switch and it is still usable.

We were surprised to find a kill switch here - historically iOS apps have lacked the most features due to strict Apple policies that make make adding features a challenge. Bitdefender’s iOS VPN app looks and feels very similar to its desktop counterpart, so it's just as simple to use, but suffers from the same flaws: a basic location list, no cities, limited server information, and no favorites system to help reduce scrolling.

Although essentially identical to the iOS version, the Android version includes additional features that are unique to it. The mobile app can block local network traffic, by doing this, your phone becomes invisible to other Wi-Fi-connected devices, this might deter some attackers who are waiting in public hotspots. 

The fact that mobile apps work well for simple tasks may explain why users give them such high ratings. We believe, however, that they have a long way to go before they can compete with the best in the field.

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Alternatives 

Although Bitdefender is an excellent VPN service, it lacks some features provided by the market's leading VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, and Surfshark. They do cost more, but provide plenty of tools, features, thousands of servers, and ultimately more bang for your buck. . 


Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

If you want something cheap, fast, and with a familiar name the Bitdefender Premium VPN is for you. But it’s worth noting that the extent of their logging is unclear, no VPN audit reports are published, and streaming isn't one of their strengths. 

While Bitdefender is an excellent antivirus provider, its VPN isn’t the same, falling short of the advanced features and smart design found in the market leaders. 

StrongVPN review
8:13 pm | November 9, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

StrongVPN began offering VPN services in 2005 and now has over 950 VPN servers spread across 30 countries and 59 cities, with a diverse mix of locations to help make up the difference. The VPN provider boasts two servers in Africa and none in countries with repressive internet policies like China and Russia. 

However, StrongVPN is based in the United States, which is one of the least privacy-friendly countries in the world. As an active member of the Five Eyes countries, if US authorities want user information from the company, they can obtain it with a warrant.

StrongVPN SugarSync Offer

StrongVPN gives users 250GB of cloud storage from SugarSync when they sign up (Image credit: StrongVPN)

Pricing & plans 

Although you can get a 30-day money-back guarantee, there’s no free trial and no free VPN version, so there’s no way to test the service without handing over your card details. Subscriptions to the service are billed monthly or annually. 

A one-month subscription costs $10.99 and includes 250GB of cloud storage, while a 12-month subscription costs $69.99. This includes the same amount of storage space, and additionally, you have the choice of connecting 12 devices at once.

StrongVPN accepts American Express, Mastercard, PayPal, Alipay, and Visa as their payment options. The absence of cryptocurrencies or other anonymous payment options is disappointing.

Privacy & encryption 

StrongVPN adheres to a strict code of privacy. It does not record information about your IP address, bandwidth usage, timestamps, or online activity. Your email address and payment information are the only pieces of personal information that the VPN requests when you create an account. 

The company makes an effort to assist by summarizing its privacy policy up front with the following points:

- A zero-logging VPN service that won’t track or store your data while connected

- The only personal information collected is used for account setup

- Personal information isn’t sold to third parties

Our main issue with StrongVPN's logging policy is that it lacks an external VPN audit, which would properly confirm the company's claim that no logs are kept.  

It is crucial to remember that StrongVPN is headquartered in the US, a country that is a part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance (a group of countries that share surveillance data with each other). This could compromise your privacy because StrongVPN would be obligated to provide your information to the US government upon request. 

Theoretically, this shouldn't be a problem, because it doesn't keep any logs and won't have any information to turn over. But it’s no longer sufficient to state “we don’t do bad stuff”, so we would advise you to proceed with caution when using this VPN. Alternatively, switch to a VPN like ExpressVPN, which is transparent and has had their system publicly audited to prove their privacy credentials.


The StrongVPN website claims it's the “Best streaming VPN”, but we found otherwise when we tested it. 

We were unable to use any of StrongVPN's UK servers to access BBC iPlayer. In our tests with US Netflix, we encountered no problems and were able to use the VPN for Netflix streams - however, we were unable to unblock any other Netflix region. 

With no luck, we tested over 10 libraries. Disney+ was also available to watch, and Amazon Prime was also available. But, since all of StrongVPN's servers are suitable for P2P use, we have no complaints when it comes to using the VPN for torrenting

Netflix menu showing popular shows

StrongVPN claims to work with many streaming platforms, and it did the trick with Netflix (Image credit: Netflix)


While all VPNs will, in some way, slow down your connection, the best ones have a negligible effect that prevents lags or buffering. Furthermore, speed may vary depending on your location, connection, and internet provider. Fast connections are almost as important as a service's security and privacy. 

We put StrongVPN to the test by using two 1Gbps connections US and UK. Speeds in the US using OpenVPN were 230-240Mbps. In the US, IKEv2 speeds increased to 260-280Mbps.

We strongly advise using the latest WireGuard protocol if you want to maximize your speeds, as this makes StrongVPN fast, but not the fastest VPN on the market. We consistently received speeds of 270–300 Mbps in the US and 450–500 Mbps in the UK, depending on the test. 


You can contact the company's knowledgeable customer service representatives 24/7 via live chat, on the phone during the company’s office hours between 9am and 5pm CT (UTC -6), Monday through Friday, or by sending a thorough online request. You'll receive a reply by email in less than an hour.

For anyone interested in the company or the VPN industry in general, StrongVPN has a blog section. You can refer to the collection of articles on the help site if you run into any issues while installing and using the service. The support site is searchable by keyword and contains categories like setup instructions, technical support, billing assistance, FAQs. 

StrongVPN Windows Menu

This is the interface of StrongVPN's Windows client (Image credit: StrongVPN)


We set up StrongVPN on a Windows PC and an Android smartphone. The Windows app for StrongVPN can be downloaded from their website, and the Android app can be downloaded from Play Store. We found it was very easy to install both the desktop and mobile VPN apps, taking just a couple of clicks. The apps were also very simple to use and understand. 

The world map that greets you can be found on both the Windows and Android apps' user interfaces. Your actual location and two buttons one for the ‘Best Available’ location feature and the other for connecting to the server are immediately visible. 

If you choose the ‘Best Available’ option, the server closest to you will be chosen, but if you want to access other servers, you can do so by clicking the Connect button rather than ‘best available. For each native and non-native device that StrongVPN supports, there are also step-by-step connection guides with screenshots available on the company's website, so even if you're not too tech-savvy you'll be able to figure it out.

Alternatives to Strong VPN 


NordVPN offers a plethora of convenience, privacy, and security features. Your security is covered by ad blocking, DNS leak protection, strong encryption, and a VPN kill switch. It is also a very user-friendly service because it offers dedicated P2P servers and native apps for all popular platforms.

Read our full NordVPN review


ExpressVPN has excellent security and privacy procedures. For users' privacy, this configuration essentially ensures that no residual data (logs) can exist on the system's hard drives. All VPN servers boot from read-only disks and operate on volatile memory (RAM).

Read our full ExpressVPN review


With a user-friendly platform, CyberGhost is one of the best. with a wealth of practical VPN features. The software never causes your computer to run slowly, is easy to use, and is free. In addition, it provides extensive P2P and torrent functionality and gives you access to more than 1200 servers spread across more than 50 nations. Features of the software include web browsing, anonymous browsing, remote access, DNS leak protection, and more. Up to five devices can be used simultaneously under one account. As a result, you can defend your mobile devices and the computers in your home.

Read our full CyberGhost review 


Although not entirely up to the level of something like ExpressVPN, Strong VPN is still worth checking out. 

With apps and setup guides to make it work almost anywhere, the VPN excels at platform coverage. Even though WireGuard speeds are subpar and its apps aren't the best, many people will find it fast enough, and the service appears to be reasonably priced if you plan to use the included SugarSync cloud storage.