Turbo VPN Review

One of the best free VPNs, but there's still a price

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3.3

Turbo VPN

Turbo VPN

 Turbo VPN

What We Like

  • Advert-supported, free version

  • Fast national connections

  • Streaming optimized servers for U.S. and U.K. services

  • Available on iOS and Android devices

  • Attractive, simple interface that's easy to understand

  • Supports five simultaneous devices

  • No-logs policy

What We Don't Like

  • Some servers refused to connect

  • International servers could be quite slow

  • Free version has intrusive adverts with tracking

  • Limited server numbers and locations – 35 premium, eight free

  • No desktop PC client

  • Premium client is more expensive than most other VPNs

  • Recent updates have caused connection issues for users

  • Partly based in China where government oversight is a concern

  • Shares some user data with third-parties

  • No kill switch

Turbo VPN is one of the best free VPNs we've ever used, however, it falls far behind some of the premium versions out there and its paid-for subscription doesn't offer anything like the value for money we want to see. Not to mention, Chinese oversight is also a concern.

3.3

Turbo VPN

Turbo VPN

 Turbo VPN

Turbo VPN is a free VPN service that also offers a tiered premium package without adverts and much better server support. It has a number of strong features and benefits, making it a great choice for those looking to find a capable free VPN service. However, paying for it is less recommendable, with short subscriptions representing terrible value for money.

Design: Clean and intuitive

Turbo VPN might be a free VPN, but it doesn't look or feel like it. The interface is clean and attractive, with easy-to-navigate buttons and windows that put all the information you need at the tip of our fingers. 

It features obvious buttons, accurate progress bars, and clear icons for country flags and menu items. There's also an adorable hare motif throughout the whole design, which is unique enough to stand out and make the whole experience feel light and cheerful.

Setup Process: Fast as a hare

Turbo VPN
Turbo VPN

There is no desktop or web-client for Turbo VPN, so the only setup paths you can take are via the Google Play Store or iTunes on your Android or iOS device. Installing the app takes seconds on a modern device and you'll be automatically logged in once you open it thanks to its ties to your Google or Apple account.

If you want to use the free version you can dive right in, otherwise, you'll need to choose a subscription length and confirm your password to activate your subscription. Whatever length you pick, you can enjoy a seven-day free trial to test it out. If you don't cancel before the seven days are up, however, you will be charged in full and enrolled in an ongoing subscription.

Server Selection: A Good, but Restricted List

Free users have a list of eight servers to pick from, including locations like the U.K., U.S., Canada, India, Singapore, and Germany, among others. Premium users have a broader selection with an additional 35 servers to pick from. Countries are more varied and there are dedicated servers for streaming sites and services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Fox, and Sky. 

That's a reasonable selection, giving some choice to users, but it's far, far less than some offer. Other VPN services that we've reviewed have as many as 5,000 servers to pick from, making TurboVPN quite limited in comparison.

 Turbo VPN may have much more governmental involvement than some users would be happy about.

You can have Turbo VPN select the fastest server for you or you can select one manually depending on your needs. Each server has a color-coded rating next to them displayed like cellular signal bars, letting you know just how busy a particular server is at any one time. During our time using Turbo VPN most servers were fully operational, although a handful were listed as being "full," particularly in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and West Coast U.S.

Connecting to a server takes between five and 20 seconds and works fine in most cases. We did, however, struggle to connect to some servers, particularly the Japanese ones, despite there not being any issues with overloading according to the app.

Turbo VPN
Turbo VPN 

Performance: Fast, but limited

Turbo VPN speed can be quite varied, although it was generally above average. Servers within the country that we tested the service proved to be noticeably faster than others, only sacrificing around 10 percent of our typical non-tunneled bandwidth. However, servers that were further afield could cut down our connection speed by 50 percent or more, which was disappointing. 

Although downloads did notice the speed drop, in most cases general browsing or watching videos wasn't affected at all. Free servers didn't appear to be any slower than premium alternatives, although they may end up more crowded at certain times of the day due to their more limited number.

Multiple servers within different countries made it easy enough to jump to another server if it wasn't working for us and you can switch while already connected which was a nice touch.

Privacy Policy: Good, but with serious caveats

Turbo VPN is another company that pledges "no logs" recording on its customers. That means that you shouldn't be identifiable by your internet traffic and if someone were to demand information on what you'd been doing from a Turbo VPN server, it wouldn't be able to give them any information about your browsing history.

The free version is entirely ad-supported, which means some information is shared with advertisers.

That said, Turbo VPN is based in Singapore and China. Singapore lies within the 14-Eyes intelligence network, which could present some concerns for oversight from Western governments. Worse still, China does not hold the privacy of the individual as a virtue. In fact, all VPNs within the country must be government-mandated, so Turbo VPN may have much more governmental involvement than some users would be happy about.

The free version is entirely ad-supported, which means some information is shared with advertisers. Turbo VPN claims it doesn't personally share user information, but does highlight in its privacy policy that third-party adverts may use their own cookies, pixel tags, and other identifying technologies to track user behavior. 

Turbo VPN does also reserve the right to collect some information about the user's device, which itself is quite identifying. Considering that data can and may be sent back to Chinese servers and potentially government agencies there, that is of real concern.

Turbo VPN
Turbo VPN

Security: Decent

We didn't discover any DNS leaks during our testing, which is a good sign. Turbo VPN also claims to use OpenVPN and AES 256-bit encryption, which again are plus points for the service.

However, there is little in the way of validation that these encryption actions are actually taking place. With such a spotty support system too, it's hard to confirm and if anything goes wrong with your service, getting a response is far from easy.

We also found no official troubleshooting guides or even community resources outside of reviews of the app on iTunes and Google Play stores.

Even taking TurboVPN claims at face value though, we were disappointed to find no kill switch option with the app. You can have it automatically connect to a server when the app starts, but with no ability to kill a connection that may be taking place outside of the VPN, that leaves users vulnerable.

Torrenting: Supported, but not optimized


Torrenting
isn't officially supported, but it's not blocked or choked either. You can use any of Turbo VPN's servers while downloading or uploading files over peer-to-peer networks, but there are none that are particularly optimized for it. We didn't find our connection speed impeded by using Turbo VPN while torrenting, but it would have been nice to see some servers configured with this particular use in mind.

Price: A year is cheap, a week is extortionate

The free version of Turbo VPN is great value in many ways, although you do have to put up with full-screen adverts which can be images or videos and those can be quite intrusive. If you do pay for the service, upgrading to a VIP account, you get a lot more for your money, including better server selection. 

That said, there is a mix of value in the premium version. The annual contract, at just $35, is far cheaper than many of Turbo VPN's contemporaries. However, most typically offer $10 a month contracts. That only gets you a week of service with Turbo VPN. $12 will get you a month, while $24 will get you three.

While the annual cost is very affordable, the others are much less attractive options on a purely cost basis.

There are just so many better premium VPNs out there that we'd almost always recommend them instead.

Competition: LeVPN vs NordVPN

The best VPN service we've reviewed has been NordVPN, so it's the yardstick we're using to measure TurboVPN against today. How does it compare?

The only real win for TurboVPN in this comparison is its price. Its annual premium account is far cheaper and its ad-supported free version is a nice change of pace from Nord's exclusive premium account system. However, that's where the benefits of Turbo VPN's service stop. NordVPN offers thousands of servers to select from, much more robust media streaming and torrent support, double VPN for added security, and most crucially, its privacy policy is iron-clad. It's also based in Panama, so there is no jurisdiction in the world that can force it to hand over any information on you; even if Nord collected it in the first place, which it doesn't.

Final Verdict

Wouldn't be our first pick.

We can overlook the relatively limited number of server choices with Turbo VPN and its occasional server speed drops when connecting over long distances. But we have real concerns over the company's privacy policy. Its jurisdiction is problematic, but the fact that its advertisers can record user data, and the lack of a kill switch makes this VPN service hard to recommend for anyone remotely concerned about their privacy. There are just so many better premium VPNs out there that we'd almost always recommend them instead.

Specs

  • Product Brand Turbo VPN
  • Price $12
  • Usability Simple and intuitive
  • Speed Good, but best nearby
  • Operating systems iOS, Android
  • Mobile platforms iOS, Android
  • Log files: None, with some caveats
  • Devices number 5 simultaneous
  • Server locations 40+
  • Support options None
  • Torrenting Supported, but no optimized servers
  • Netflix Yes. One dedicated U.S. server
  • Encryption AES-256. OpenVPN, Ipsec
  • Jurisdiction Singapore and China
  • Payment options Credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay
  • Price Free with adverts. $10 per week, $12 per month, $24 per quarter, $36 per year
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