- 15 server locations
- 3 concurrent connections
- No usage logs
- BBC iPlayer support
- Android and iOS apps
- 7-day money back guarantee
Speed and Performance
All tests were done using a 50 Mbps/3 Mbps fiber connection. To their UK servers I was averaging between 35 and 45Mbps, and to the US 20 to 35Mbps. My download speeds dropped considerably to the Netherlands, where I was hovering around 10Mbps during my tests. The UK and US results were decent enough, if not up there with the likes of ExpressVPN. It was quite surprising and baffling how there was a large drop in the Netherlands. Most IPv4 DNS requests were fielded by proxied Google DNS servers. This is not the privacy nightmare it might at first seem, as all requests appear to come from PandPow. Netherlands DNS resolution, however, is performed by US servers, which may scuttle geo-spoofing attempts. I found US Netflix blocked when connected to a US server, but BBC iPlayer worked when connected to a UK server.
Pricing and Plans
Prices for PandaPow Classic start at $9 per month, dropping to $7 per month if an annual subscription is purchased. There is also a seven-day money-back guarantee is available. A PandaPow WiFi (router) and PandaPow Classic combo package is available for $149 per year (with three months extra for free).
Privacy and Security
Support is by ticketed email or live chat. It might be because my time zone in the UK is very different to that of Hong Kong, but live chat was never available when I visited the website. Phone support is available during Hong Kong business hours (GMT+8). Regular international call charges apply. I sent some questions by email, and received an only partial response two days later. When I asked for clarification and additional details, PandaPow took a full two weeks to respond. Now, I know this all happened over the holiday period, but I was still rather surprised by this very long delay. Especially as the company was aware that I reviewing its product! As discussed under encryption above, when I did receive answers, these were either partial, evasive, or factually incorrect. Whether this is due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to deceive, I have no idea.
PandaPow Wifi Router
This Hong Kong-based service bills itself as “possibly the easiest to use VPN on the planet.” And certainly, in this PandaPow WiFi review, I find it difficult to argue with this claim. Range issues aside, the PandaPow router is very easy to use. The problem, however, was apparent the second this admittedly quite smart-looking bit of kit dropped through my letterbox. Processing VPN encryption is a very processor and memory intensive task. In order to do it without seriously damaging your internet speeds, you need beefy hardware. And the PandaPow WiFi, with its sleekly diminutive looks, simply does not pack that kind of grunt. The result is poor internet performance.
- Very easy to set up and use (if within range)
- Router looks good and is sturdy
- Will fit into a jeans pocket
- USB-rechargeable battery
- Can connect to router over WiFi
- Terrible internet speeds
- Poor WiFi range
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The PandaPow Wifi Router has the following features:
- Port selection
- Filter feature that allows you to exclude or include traffic based on specific domains, IPs and ports
- Client filter that allows you to exclude specified devices from the VPN
- Servers in nine countries
- USB-rechargeable battery
- It uses OpenVPN (despite claims to the contrary)
You can, of course, connect as many devices to the router at once as you wish. As with all VPN routers, these can be devices that cannot usually be configured for VPN, such as smart TVs and games consoles.
Router Hardware Specifications
The PandaPow WiFi router is a compact, portable VPN router. You connect your devices to it via WiFi, and it connects to the internet over wired LAN (plug it into your router), WiFi, or USB modem. The specs I have been provided with are:
- IEEE 802.11 b/g/n (maximum transfer rate: 150 Mbps)
- 8MB Flash and 64MB RA
- CPU: AR9331@400MHz
These specs are notably lower than those of, for example, the Betterspot VPN Router. Unfortunately, this can be seen in the speed. Unlike similar VPN routers I have reviewed, the PandaPow WiFi packs a USB-rechargeable battery. This is a great feature and helps to make the PandaPow truly portable.
The PandaPow WiFi router looks great. Its styling is sleek, and the device is compact enough to slip into even the slimmest jeans pocket. The plastic casing feels a little cheap but is robust. This is a router that can easily handle daily knocks and scrapes.
PandaPow WiFi Recap
Given its tiny size, it was always clear the PandaPow was never going to be an internet speed demon. Even by the standards of similar devices, however, its performance is poor. It also has the worst WiFi performance I have yet encountered, in terms of both speed and range. The PandaPow WiFi is clearly not suitable for day-to-day use. After all, how many people are willing to sacrifice 90% or so of their internet speed? Its ease of use and rechargeable battery could give it some utility as a secure travel router.
PandaPow Classic offers a decent “budget” level VPN service. There are better and worse services on the market. However, their Wifi router is something that could be useful on your odd travels.