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NordVPN for Android review: A secure VPN that works with Netflix

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
8.70
per month

This excellent desktop VPN doesn’t disappoint as an Android app

Pros 
Easy to use
Huge range of servers
Useful extra features
Watertight security
Cons 
No free accounts
Not the fastest VPN
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NordVPN is one of our favourite desktop VPNs: it’s more secure than most, strong on privacy, versatile and easy to use. Much the same applies to the Android VPN app, which you can use when you sign up for one of NordVPN’s monthly, annual or two-year plans.

READ NEXT: Best Android VPNs 2018

Unlike other services, NordVPN doesn’t offer any kind of free account, but you can try the app for up to seven days before deciding whether it’s the right option for you. If it is, you’re looking at a steep-ish $11.95 per month for simultaneous connections across up to five devices, or a much more reasonable $69 paid every year. Amazingly, it only costs ten bucks extra to sign up for two years.

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Setup and basic use

If you’ve used the desktop client, the mobile version won’t hold many surprises. After signing in you can pick a country to connect to from the large, scrolling blue-and-white map, then drill down to see individual servers, ranked by distance. Alternatively, tap on the List tab on the bottom and you can see servers listed not just by country, but by specialised types. Nord provides options most other VPNs don’t here, including P2P-friendly servers for torrent-sharing purposes, more secure Onion-Over-VPN and Double VPN servers, plus Anti-DDOS servers and servers that give you a dedicated IP address. Using the latter will cost you an extra $70 per year.

Just want a quick and easy connection while connecting to a risky public Wi-Fi network? Tap the Quick Connect button at the bottom of the screen. You can also search for connections and favourite those you use most often. NordVPN also earns brownie points for making it so easy to pause or disconnect the VPN from the system notification. This really isn’t a tricky VPN to use.

Server locations

Nord has over 3,700 servers spread across 62 countries, with 462 in the UK, good coverage across Europe and the Asia Pacific regions, plus some spread across India, South Africa, Turkey, Israel, Egypt and the UAE. What’s more, it has some 1375 servers in the United States alone. On the one hand, you’re never left waiting for a connection, and there always seems to be a server with free capacity. On the other, you’re well covered for a fast, nearby connection if you’re travelling to a region where some sites and services are blocked, or if you want to watch US-based streaming and catch-up video services from the UK.

Performance

NordVPN isn’t the fastest VPN, but it comes pretty close to the top. It’s very fast on local VPN connections, retaining 90% of our non-VPN download speed over a UK server and only dropping to 89% when connecting to the Netherlands. US VPN connection speeds aren’t quite so impressive, but at 14Mbit/sec NordVPN still pulls ahead of many VPNs, which often struggle to reach above 12Mbit/sec. Basically, it’s more than fast enough.

Security is also comparatively watertight. DoILeak.com’s tests didn’t throw up any issues even with one of NordVPN’s standard servers, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your true IP address or location leaking. More impressively, NordVPN snuck past Netflix US’s anti-VPN controls before we even had to turn on the Obfuscated Servers option in the settings. Series that were unavailable through the UK service played perfectly well through NordVPN – though, as always, this can’t be guaranteed to be the case in future.

Extra Features

NordVPN bundles in CyberSec; a set of additional security features designed to block suspicious websites, protect against malware and block annoying ads while the VPN’s enabled. The latter work well, though some ads still wormed their way through the blocks.

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At first, it looks like NordVPN has omitted to provide a killswitch – that always useful feature that shuts down all live internet connections should the VPN goes down. Actually, there is one, but its buried away in the Android system network settings under More | VPN | NordVPN. There’s an option for an Always-on VPN which, curiously, doesn’t turn out to be always on, but does act like a Killswitch, just as NordVPN claims.

Privacy and security

NordVPN is based in the Central American state of Panama, meaning your data should be safe from surveillance from the major US and European intelligence agencies. NordVPN also makes it clear that it doesn’t log any identifiable information about its customers, so there’s no tracking of your communications, the sites you visit or what you do when you’re connected.

Verdict

NordVPN isn’t the cheapest or the fastest, but it’s a secure VPN with a good attitude to privacy and a stronger set of features than most competitors. It doesn’t leak identifying information, while it (currently) works with services like Netflix US that leave other VPNs blocked. We’ve been happy to recommend the desktop version in the past. On Android, it’s every bit as good.