IT Pro Verdict
£19 inc VAT
Limited advanced options; Imperfect anonymity
Hotspot Shield is one of few VPN apps to support Windows Phone and there's also a Chrome browser extension, but you can't set the service up on a router.
It provides a choice from 20 virtual locations, among which Tokyo is the sole Asian representative. While the client has no advanced options, you can configure it to connect automatically if it detects either a secured or unsecured wireless connection.
The presence of eight icons showing various unblocked services suggests that geo-unblocking is the primary focus here certainly, we were able to watch Netflix US content without issue. Performance was good: Hotspot Shield seems quick to connect, disconnect and change country, and we saw high speeds with no packet loss.
However, the service doesn't have its own DNS servers, which gives third parties the potential to aggregate information on its users. Whoer.net also rated our UK connection at only 40% anonymity, chiefly because it detected multiple IP addresses associated with our session. This seems a harsh mark, as none of these belonged to us or our own ISP.
This is a comparatively cheap service, with a one-year, five-device licence costing just 19 and a 'lifetime' plan 64. While we're not convinced that it offers perfect anonymity, it could be a cheap and effective way to secure a public wireless connection or view content from other territories.
After a brief career in corporate IT, Simon Handby combined his love of technology and writing when he made the move to Computer Shopper magazine. As a technology reviewer he's since tested everything from routers and switches, to smart air fryers and doorbells, and covered technology such as EVs, TVs, solar power and the singularity.
During more than 15 years as Shopper's long-time printer reviewer, Simon tried, tested and wrote up literally hundreds of home, small office and workgroup printers. He continues reviewing smart products and printers for a variety of publications, and has been an IT Pro contributor since 2010. Simon is almost never happier than when surrounded by printers and paper, applying his stopwatch and a seasoned eye to find the best performing, best value products for business users.