Fast and simple, but streaming is a no go
Le VPN is a fast VPN service that is designed to run as streamlined and as out-of-sight as possible, with a minimalist user interface, a wide selection of servers to choose from, and promises of high-speed anonymity online. While it does live up to many of its promises, most notably on the raw speed and variety of countries to choose from, it’s not perfect – especially when it comes to streaming. We tested and reviewed the service, so read on to see our findings and if it’s right for you.
What We Like
- Simple setup
- Plenty of server choices
- Option to pick server location within country
- Wide device compatibility
- Competitively priced with money-back guarantee
- Fast connection
- Torrent support
- Wide range of payment options, including Bitcoin
What We Don’t Like
- UI is clunky and lacks explanation
- Streaming optimized servers are buried within menus
- Some random lag during gaming
- Websites occasionally load slowly, despite high bandwidth
- Torrent optimized servers are limited
- Amazon Video and Netflix can’t be reliably connected to
- No double VPN option
Setup Process: Fast and simple
Getting setup with Le VPN is amazingly easy. You can pay for the service in a variety of ways, including Bitcoin, for an anonymous setup. It also works well on a variety of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. Whichever payment method or OS you opt for though, once you’ve signed up, you download the client and install it like any other. Then just login with your provided information and hit the connect button. You’ll automatically be connected to the most obvious server for your location.
That’s all you need to know about Le VPN if you want to use it as a basic VPN service, with your IP anonymized online. If you want to go a little further and select individual countries, you’ll have to delve through the somewhat unattractive user interface. It’s only a small point, but every country’s flag is heavily pixelated and text looks a little blurry in some parts of the UI.
Design: Basic and a little obtuse
The Le VPN app is very basic and clunky compared to some of the slick, user-friendly alternatives we’ve tested. It’s a basic white box that conveys a minimum amount of information, including an indicator that shows whether or not you’re connected, a link to manually select a connection location, a big connect button, a notation on your currently-selected VPN protocol, and your current IP address.
Options and the advanced location picker can be accessed from a context menu, along with links to your account and Le VPN support. Available options are fairly basic, and allow you to manually swap between the L2TP and OpenVPN protocols.
Unlike some VPN services, Le VPN has a wide selection of servers you can pick from. There are more than 100 countries to choose from, with multiple locations in most of them. That’s great if you want to appear to be from one country but find that a particular server is overcrowded. There is no way to know which one is the best for you though, as Le VPN gives you no indication of server load, distance from you, or user numbers.
If you want to pick one you have to dive into its various categories which are portrayed in compact lists in a small window, with no ability to drag it into a larger format for ease of use. There are also no grouped listings for torrent servers or streaming optimized servers. In fact, unless you want to watch content on an Italian service, you’ll find the options there are rather limited.
There were no US or UK-based streaming servers when we tested Le VPN. Although the SmartDNS service Le VPN offers does make it possible on occasion to access services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, that’s not guaranteed and it’s locked away in the website’s client area, making it far from easy to access.
You also can’t choose another server while connected to one. You have to disconnect first. That makes server-hopping a bit longwinded compared to most other VPN services.
Downloads and uploads are quick, but we did run into some odd lag and latency issues in some cases.
Performance: Fast outside the United States
Le VPN puts up decent numbers through their European servers, but their US-based servers are abysmally slow. We were able to achieve a maximum download speed of 130.63 Mbps when connected to a UK-based server, but the fastest we could get out of a US-based server was just 32.36 Mbps. If you need to connect to US servers for any reason that requires fast downloads, you may want to look elsewhere.
Even with those low speeds, we were still able to perform basic tasks like web surfing, email, and even streaming video on sites like YouTube and CNN when connected to US-based servers without too much trouble.
Gaming saw occasional random stutters, which in high stake games was problematic. We also found websites and YouTube videos could sometimes take an oddly long time to load.
Streaming: Not great
Netflix is the gold standard of streaming service when it comes to unblocking region-locked content, and you won’t be using Le VPN to do that. We weren’t actually able to stream from Netflix on any of Le VPNs servers either in or outside the United States. We had no luck with Hulu or Amazon Prime Video either, although we were able to get BBC iPlayer working when connected to a UK server.
Le VPN is a Hong Kong VPN service, so it’s outside of most jurisdictions for Western governments. However, Hong Kong has been known to cooperate with international enforcement agencies in the past – one very notable example is the Kim Dotcom and MegaUpload case.
Le VPN does make a point of storing no activity logs, so they don’t monitor or store records of the sites you visit. They do store some logs though, including the IP you use to connect to the service and timestamps of when you connect and disconnect. That type of information has been used by law enforcement in the past, and even handed over from Hong Kong-based VPNs to US-based authorities, so take Le VPN’s “no log” policy with a grain of salt.
Security Features: Robust
Le VPN’s security is firmly entrenched in the service it offers, with a number of important features to make sure you stay safe online while using its VPN.
- Advanced Encryption Standard (AES): Le VPN employs AES 256-bit encryption on all of its clients, making it almost impossible that anyone could steal your information or browsing data while you’re using Le VPN.
- No logs policy: Le VPN doesn’t store any logs, which means you can’t be identified by your online traffic. There’s also no history of what you’ve done while using the VPN connection.
- Reconnection block: Although not enabled by default, there is the option to block your internet connection when reconnecting to Le VPN’s servers. That’s to prevent any sudden outages from revealing your identity.
- DNS leak protection: You’ll only ever use DNS servers operated by Le VPN. This is useful for privacy but did appear to slow down our connection to certain game servers.
This isn’t the most extensive selection of security features – we would have liked to have seen the option for a double VPN connection – but it’s robust.
Torrenting: Offered but limited
Torrenting isn’t supported by every company out there but Le VPN firmly throws its hat in with P2P file-sharers around the world and provides servers optimized for file sharing. They are in a limited number, however, with only five servers offered at the time of writing, and only two of them were marked for torrenting: Luxembourg and Czech Republic.
Le VPN puts up decent numbers through their European servers, but their US-based servers are abysmally slow.
Ad Blocking: Not present
Le VPN is a fairly basic VPN service that doesn’t include a built-in ad blocker. This is a nice extra security feature that can prevent invasive ad trackers and malware from obtaining information about your device or connection, and the best one block such requests at the DNS level. If you’re interested in that type of projection, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Customer Service: Ticket-based system
Le VPN has a ticket-based system for customer support, so there’s no way to speak directly to a support agent via the phone or web chat. We found the system to be satisfactory, although your opinion may differ if you need fast turnaround on an answer. In our experience, it took Le VPN three to four hours to reply to requests through their ticket system.
Price: Fair with great options
Le VPN is nothing if not fair in its pricing. While it does offer greater discounts for longer purchase periods, they are staggered and not weighted as we see with some VPN services.
Le VPN has three offers, starting with $10 per month on a rolling contract. There’s an option of $45 every six months (working out to $7.50 per month), with the $59 for a year contract representing the best value ($5 per month). There’s also a money-back guarantee if you don’t like the service.
Payment options are some of the most varied we’ve ever seen, with standard credit card and PayPal offered right alongside Bitcoin, OpenBucks, CashU, Boleto, and Oxxo, among others.
Competition: Le VPN vs NordVPN
One of our favorite VPN services in recent years has been NordVPN, so how does Le VPN measure up to it? Nord is by far the more expensive of the two services if you just pay for a single month, making Le VPN much more accessible. However, that’s where Le VPN’s advantages stop because Nord offers more servers, a more attractive and intuitive client, and the option of double VPN for added security. Le VPN isn’t far behind in every respect, but it’s definitely the weaker of the two VPN services.
Middle of the road.
Le VPN is a promising VPN that has a lot going for it; most notable its attractive price and excellent bandwidth. It also has a great selection of countries with multiple servers per region. But it does have a few problems we couldn’t overlook. The stuttering on some servers was particularly aggravating and for many, the lack of Netflix and Amazon Video block circumvention will be a deal-breaker. The client’s UI could do with some work, too.
It’s not a bad service by any means and you’ll likely be mostly happy with it if you take out a subscription, but there are better services out there.
- Product Name: LeVPN
- Price: $10
- Speed (Fastest Observed): 130.63 Mbps fastest, 32.26 Mbps on US servers (Tested on a 1Gbps connection)
- Operating Systems: Windows, macOS, Linus, Android, iOS
- Devices: Five devices at a time
- Server locations: 120+ Countries
- Number of Servers: 138
- Streaming: Yes, tested BBC iPlayer (UK)
- Torrenting: On some servers
- Encryption: AES-256 OpenVPN, L2TP
- Logging: Some logs
- Jurisdiction: Hong Kong