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F-Secure Freedome VPN review: A fast, easy-to-use VPN for the everyday user

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
40
inc VAT

Not the most feature-packed VPN, but a good choice for those wanting simple, fuss-free privacy protection

Pros 
Superb interface
Consistently good speeds
Anti-tracking features
Decent value
Cons 
Lacks expert settings and features
Limited selection of locations
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F-Secure is an internet security specialist first and foremost, and its Freedome VPN feels more like a security app than a conventional VPN. Like Avast’s Secureline VPN, it has a polished, consumer-friendly look and feel, and a straightforward annual pricing model. However, where Avast’s product is very light on features, Freedome comes with tools to log and block intrusive trackers, and to protect users from malicious websites.

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F-Secure Freedome VPN review: Pricing and competition

Freedome doesn’t have a pay-monthly option, but you can try it free for five days. After that, you can pay £40 a year to protect three devices, £50 for five devices or £58 for seven. These tiers are all decent value compared to similar plans from other VPN providers – and in particular, they’re a lot more flexible than Avast’s one-licence-per-device approach.

You can also get Freedome as part of F-Secure’s Total internet security suite, which includes regular browser-protection and antivirus functions. If you need all of these features it’s a bargain – an annual subscription for up to three devices can be had online for just £67. However, be aware that we did find some issues with F-Secure's antivirus.

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F-Secure Freedome VPN review: Setup and basic use

Freedome has one of the slickest and most beautiful UIs we’ve seen on any VPN. The main dashboard is dominated by a massive circular button which turns the VPN connection on and off; clicking below will take you to a list of locations, organised by territory and shown on a spinning globe.

The dashboard also shows you how many megabytes of traffic you’ve routed over the VPN, along with details of any tracking attempts and harmful sites the program has blocked. It’s all very easy to use and understand.

The downside is that it’s not exactly bursting at the seams with options. If you’re the sort of person who wants to select a specific VPN protocol or configure apps to bypass the automatic killswitch then Freedome might not be the VPN for you. It’s much more for casual users who want to feel safe when connecting to the internet through public Wi-Fi in a coffee shop, or who are concerned about online surveillance in general.

Indeed, Freedome’s tracker-blocking features give you quite a satisfying sense of turning the tables on the would-be snoopers. All attempts to track your activity are logged, and can be reviewed on cool-looking maps that expose the various websites and services that have tried (and failed) to violate your privacy.

F-Secure Freedome VPN review: Server locations

Unlike some VPNs, Freedome doesn’t helpfully point you towards the best locations for specific purposes. It’s up to you to pick your exit location from the list, and this runs to a pretty sparse set of 23 countries, with only the US and Canada offering multiple cities or regions to choose from. The vast majority of servers are in Western Europe or North America, so globetrotters travelling around Asia, Africa or South America may struggle to find a nearby node that suits their needs.

F-Secure Freedome VPN review: Performance

Freedome’s coverage might be limited, but if you’re using it the UK you can expect excellent performance. Connect via a UK-based server and you’ll barely notice any reduction in speed – we hit 91% of our usual download speed and 88% of the normal upload speed on our 38Mbits/sec fibre connection.

Routing the connection through the Netherlands made things a little slower, but we still lost less than a quarter of our base download speed, and even going via the US the reduction was only 38%. In short, Freedome is easily fast enough to stream video and play online games, without having to worry about bandwidth or latency – although the initial connection can be slow to make at times.

The only thing you can’t do is watch US Netflix. While most stateside streaming sites were happy to serve up region-restricted videos via Freedome, Netflix blocked our connection with the usual error message.

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F-Secure Freedome VPN review: Privacy and security

Freedome scores relatively well for privacy protection. It did a fine job of guarding our original IP and DNS addresses, though it didn’t completely patch Chrome’s WebRTC leak vulnerabilities. The lack of additional obfuscation features might concern those fearful of state or corporate spying, but for basic privacy and security Freedome ticks all the right boxes.

It’s also good to note that, while you’re invited to share anonymised usage data with the service during setup, F-Secure doesn’t log traffic or activities in any way that might identify its users. Since it’s within the EU, it’s not completely off the grid, but Finland, where the company is based, has its own strict privacy laws. Besides, there’s something comforting about knowing you’re in the hands of an established security specialist, rather than a small-time operator based on the other side of the world.

F-Secure Freedome VPN review: Verdict

If you’re looking for an extra layer of privacy and security protection, and don’t care about the technical details – nor about being completely beyond the reach of GCHQ and the NSA – then Freedome should suit you perfectly. Other VPNs have richer, deeper feature sets, but Freedome gives you solid protection in an easy-to-use package, with respectable speeds and at decent prices.

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