A while back, we did an article on using a VPN on Surface tablets as a way to help keep your data secure. Lately, I’ve been trying yet another VPN provider (ExpressVPN) on my Surface and wanted to do a quick review of ExpressVPN to let you know my opinion of the product.
In case you don’t remember what a VPN is, the ExpressVPN folks have a pretty nice explanation here: https://www.expressvpn.com/what-is-vpn
Now that you’ve had a moment to understand why you might want a VPN, let’s jump right into the review…
ExpressVPN Review: Installation
Installation is pretty straight forward. Just make sure you have your activation code handy and that you’re logged in with administrative rights.
When you get to the authentication code screen, note that there is a checkbox giving you the option of starting ExpressVPN at startup. I clicked it off but you can leave it on if you want. Just be aware that if you do so, your computer will automatically connect to it every time you restart.
Don’t sweat it too much though, you can always change the setting later from the options screen.
ExpressVPN Review: Usage
ExpressVPN is extremely simple to use. All you have to do is start the app, tap the big green Connect button and it will automatically connect to the selected endpoint server.
You can easily change which endpoint server you connect with (and, effectively, change where you seem to be located in the world) by tapping the Select Another Location link which will bring up an extensive list of endpoint server locations from across the globe.
By default, ExpressVPN tries to pick the most appropriate encryption type but, if you want, you can go into the option area (by tapping the “…” link at the top right of the ExpressVPN window and change the encryption method.
From the options panel, you can also access a few other settings like allowing ExpressVPN to automatically connect at startup or whether or not you want to use their DNS servers.
ExpressVPN Review: Speed
Any VPN you use will cost you a bit of raw speed but, the ExpressVPN client does a pretty good job of keeping the loss pretty low. Below, I ran some speed tests using www.speedtest.net. First, here are the results when I didn’t use the VPN client…
And below are the same tests with the ExpressVPN client activated.
Overall, there wasn’t much speed loss; at least not any I noticed and I definitely gained some anonymity in the trade.
ExpressVPN Review: Conclusion
ExpressVPN is easy to use and doesn’t seem to impact my Surface’s speed much. On top of that, they don’t log anything, so your privacy is safe. They also offer 24/7 support – I think that’s important. In addition, they allow for multiple connections and they have clients for Apple and Android as well as Windows (of course, I only care about Windows). This means that you can use the same subscription on your Android Phone and iPad…….. if you have one for some weird reason 🙂
Unfortunately, as with most things, there are also a couple of downsides….
For one, they don’t offer a free trial. Instead, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee. In theory it’s the same but, in practice, it’s a bit more of a pain to cancel if you decide you don’t like it. In addition, they’re a bit more expensive than some other VPN options but not outrageously so.
Those things aside, I like the ExpressVPN offering. If you are looking for a VPN client, give ExpressVPN a look.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.