- Innovative & aesthetically attractive
- Apps shortcut organization
- DynamicFlow technology
- Fast & stable connections
- Attractive pricing
- Free trial & exclusive discounts
- Reduced device support
- Few customizable settings
After already having delivered other computer optimization solutions such as CleanMyPC and CleanMyMac, MacPaw has now entered the VPN market with ClearVPN, a tool for computers and mobile devices that debuted in 2021. The software looks fresh and completely different from any other VPN, introducing shortcuts as a way of speeding up and simplifying user interaction. ClearVPN offers a worldwide server network with competitive speeds that allows for undisturbed streaming, as well as other security tools such as an adblocker and kill switch. On top of a 7-day free trial, ClearVPN users can also enjoy a great discount on the two-year subscription, and a 30-day money-back guarantee as an extra risk-free testing period.
The VPN industry has come far over the years, allowing for new providers to emerge with fresh concepts and innovative ideas. That’s the case for ClearVPN, a service that replaces the usual ‘pick a server from the list’ format with its shortcuts.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen it, but this approach is still quite rare, and ClearVPN is perhaps the provider that makes the best use out of it. Instead of choosing a server, the user chooses what he wants to use the software for, such as unblocking streaming services, sports channels, etc.. Every one of these shortcuts has the most suitable VPN server automatically assigned to them, thus ensuring an easier and faster VPN use. And, of course, the usual VPN features are also present, including DNS servers, a kill switch, an ad blocker, and more.
Taking Shortcuts… But Not Without Some Bumps in the Road
The shortcut display of the app clearly looks attractive, but even great aesthetics lose their impact if user-interactivity is not the best. Unfortunately, ClearVPN suffers from this problem, as it takes a while to get used to the layout and know how to use it. For example, when testing the service, we found ourselves repeatedly stuck on a screen that doesn’t scroll down until a second or third try. Another issue was having to manually search for a specific option – such as the good old VPN server list.
However, it’s true that most options are indeed available through shortcuts, which also include features such as DNS servers, secure browsing with an ad blocker, and some of the most popular streaming channels.
Aside from the shortcut menu, though, the settings page should also be visited as this is where the kill switch can be found. This is very important as it prevents DNS leaks. And when it comes to the more technical aspects, ClearVPN uses OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols – even though it’s not possible to choose between them – alongside a 256-bit encryption level.
The ClearVPN network spans 35 countries. While this may not seem like a lot at first, it’s actually enough to provide worldwide coverage. Most locations are in Europe, of course, but there are also North and South American countries, as well as a handful of different Asian options. Australia wasn’t left out either, and South Africa is the sole representative of its continent.
Running our tests from a European location on a 100Mbps connection, the main conclusion is that distance plays an important role in ClearVPN’s performance. The countries that were closer showed some bearable speed loss, while those further away struggled more. However, European users shouldn’t have a problem streaming on American servers, for instance, as our tests proved that connections were stable and reliable.
ClearVPN’s DynamicFlow technology is the reason why users can only choose countries and not the different server locations within them. According to ClearVPN, this technology analyzes the current network status (between servers, local restrictions, actual regional content limitations, and more) to always connect to “the fastest idle server”.
Another important detail about ClearVPN’s connections is that some DNS leaks can be experienced when the kill switch is not used – so we recommend always having this on.
Just like any other service of its kind, ClearVPN states that it operates under a strict no logs policy. MacPaw, the company behind the software, is based in the Ukraine, which has no specific legislation regulating online privacy, but applies the so-called Data Protection Law, which essentially complies with the EU Data Protection Directive.
Regarding privacy-related aspects implemented directly in the service, ClearVPN makes use of OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols with AES-256 encryption, which guarantees the standard safety level of VPN connections. Other security tools include an ad blocker and kill switch.
OS, Device Support
ClearVPN includes device support for computers and mobile – but this is still one of the software’s downsides. This is because ClearVPN only supports recent operating systems, such as Windows 10 and MacOS 10.14.
As for mobile, customers must have at least iOS 13 or Android 6.0, which leaves users of older operating systems without the ability to try the service. And there’s no way to get around this by using router configurations, as there’s no support for that either. But the good news is that the same ClearVPN account can be used on up to six devices simultaneously.
ClearVPN opts for the usual three-plan scheme, allowing users to purchase the software for one month, or one or two years. Plus, all plans give the same access to the entire features set and VPN network, meaning no extra payment is necessary to enjoy more servers or tools.
Billed at a total of $83.95, the two-year plan is the most attractive option as it translates to a monthly cost of only $3.49. This is not the most affordable option on the VPN market, but it’s still a very competitive price given what ClearVPN has to offer. Also, it represents an impressive 73% discount on the standard monthly price of $12.95. In between these two plans, the one-year subscription costs $59.95, or – in other words – $4.99 per month.
It should be noted that MacPaw rewards users who already own their products by offering them extra discounts. Those who use CleanMyPC, CleanMyMac or any other MacPaw product can enjoy an exclusive 30% discount on ClearVPN, while those who purchase the VPN first can get reduced prices when adding other software to the cart.
Before purchasing, though, all users can download ClearVPN and enjoy a 7-day free trial of the whole service. In addition, all purchases include a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means an extra month of risk-free testing. Payment methods include credit cards and PayPal.
All users should head to the always important FAQ page to get their first assistance from ClearVPN. This will answer some of the most basic questions and provide feedback on how the service works, which may be more useful than it seems at first considering the innovative-looking app and all its shortcuts. However, those who need a more personalized assistance will be pleased to know that ClearVPN provides 24/7 support. Live chat and email are the preferred contact methods, but other resources, such as social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – can also be used.
ClearVPN is an attractive looking service with an interesting concept that breaks with conventional VPNs, but this also divides opinions. For some users, the innovative app design where everything is done in the background will work like a charm, while others might get lost and miss the good old option to manually choose servers. Likewise, most regular users won’t notice that they can’t change VPN protocols since connections are fast and stable. But on the other side, VPN enthusiasts would probably have appreciated it if the settings page had more options to fine-tune their experience.
In the end, it’ll be up to each user’s profile whether ClearVPN suits their tastes. Because of this, the free trial and the money-back guarantee come in very handy when deciding.
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