I discovered PandaPow a few weeks ago when I was doing some research for the site. It’s not often that you just “come across” a new VPN provider, and especially one that’s professionally designed, as well as available in China. Their logo caught my eye, as you can obviously see, and was able to convince them to give me a free trial, seeing as I get quite a few visitors the site here. This is my review of PandaPow VPN.
All in all, PandaPow is a very strong choice for users in China. First of all, they’re not blocked. As you’ll see when you open up their site, their main domain is not blocked. Even if it were, their VPN pricing page use https, which is a private connection, meaning that China won’t be able to block it, regardless. You’ll notice that most VPN services I now feature on the site have this same feature – called SSL encryption. It’s like when you’re shopping online, and you see that small lock appear next to the URL, and http changes to https. VyprVPN has it, and it’s not blocked in China. StrongVPN doesn’t have it, and they’re main domain is blocked.
VPNs with Main Domain Blocked
VPNs with alternate Domains Available (Updated March 2012)
VPNs without any blocking
The point is that it’s not likely that PandaPow will encounter any troubles in the near future, especially because it’s pretty low key, and is flying under the radar for the moment.
Setup of PandaPow is super simple. I wouldn’t say it’s “one click” setup like in their advert, but setup is limited to clicking a few buttons. There’s no unzipping of files, no moving of this or that. Just find the “OK” button and it’s pretty much automatic from there. Simplicity seems to be part of their niche, and their site is easy to navigate, and doesn’t confuse you with bits about 128 bit encryption SSTP vs OpenVPN and all that other internet stuff no one understands anyway.
Signing in to Panda Pow has also been simplified to a desktop icon double click, and they’ve removed the default “choose a server” step. You’ll still be able to choose, and switch for free, but upon startup, you don’t have to deal with it if you don’t want to.
The hit the main server hot spots – US/UK/Europe. While they don’t have a million IP’s in hundreds of countries like some services offer, do you really need an IP in Uganda or Russia? No. With PandaPow, you’ll be able to watch Hulu, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer with US and UK IP addresses.
They are also decently priced. I know it’s easy to look at other services that offer slightly cheaper prices ($74-$80) per year, but if you count it month by month, there really is not difference. 12VPN offers a US Only Package for $79 USD per year, and Panda Pow’s year package is $84. Broken down to a monthly basis, it looks like this.
- 12VPN – $6.50 per month
- Panda Pow $7.00 per month
a 50 cents difference – big deal. You can of course sign up for 1 month, or 3 months, but you’ll pay a bit more, which is standard for any VPN subscription.
- 1 month – $9 per month
- 3 months – $24 = $8 per month
I tried their VPN for ten days, and was 100% satisfied with it’s performance. No connection problems, super fast speed, and with the addition of the 30 seconds it saves me (ie not having to reach out and type in my login credentials), it became my default VPN for 10 days.
Their customer support team is very friendly and helpful, and their VPN comes with a money back guarantee. They stood up to the challenge of China and The GFW without a problem, and I think with a bit more advertising, they’ll become one of the stronger VPN services in China. There’s not much else to say about Panda Pow, except to provide a link to their main site. Check them out for yourself.