F-Secure is a Finnish company which offers personal and business VPN services. They’ve been around since 1989, and they offer a host of other security gadgets along with their VPN.
They set themselves apart by concatenating malware protection with a VPN. It’s a risky marketing bundle in some respects because most people already have their malware protection set up on a Windows or Mac machine, and Linux really doesn’t require antivirus software, but there you have it: malware protection, virus protection, and anonymous surfing through a VPN, all bundled together.
The bundling gets a little confusing: F-Secure Total, F-Secure Safe, and F-Secure Freedome, all three of which are their home offerings, which is what this review will focus on, specifically the base VPN package, Freedome. The Freedome VPN can be deployed on Apple, Android, and Windows. Unfortunately, they have no services for Chrome, which is the main choice for Linux users, so Linux users can stop reading this review now, unless you are going to switch operating systems.
Is My Privacy Protected with F-Secure Freedome?
As they state in their online material, no registration is required. And they also say:
”With a VPN, your actual IP address is hidden from the services you visit. Not even your Internet service provider can see what you do online. We do not log your traffic.
Did you notice the last part? We do not log your traffic.”
This means there is no footprint. It’s everything you want from a privacy perspective.
They also have a tab for a page titled, Privacy Principles.
The latter is the philosophy. The former is the functional privacy practiced by the company.
In a nutshell, they only collect data related to their transactions with you, and the data is collected primarily for marketing purposes by F-Secure. They retain the data for 90 days and then let it go. They make it clear, though, that information may be turned over to proper authorities with a warrant or subpoena. However, they make it abundantly clear that they weigh each circumstance carefully and are always hesitant to release any information. Basically, if their arm is twisted with incontestable legal requirements, they relent and turn over information.
How Much is F-Secure Freedome? Is There a Free Trial?
Pricing is divided among the number of devices that you want to secure with a VPN, a somewhat unique approach for F-Secure, and not followed by too many other providers. Typically, there is a set number and that is, as they say, that. It’s a little over-marketed, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, but it’s their call. The services and prices for Freedome break down as follows.
Three devices for a year come to $4.17 per month, or a one-time payment of $49.99 for the whole year. If you take the time to do the math, 12 times 4.17 equals $50.04. So, a onetime payment of $49.99, as opposed to a monthly payment, saves you five cents. You have to wonder what’s going on in the marketing division at F-Secure. The laws of economics dictate that prepayment should entail a meaningful saving for the consumer, otherwise what’s the point? But, alas, that’s how they roll at F-Secure.
Five Devices cost $5.00 per month on an annual plan, or you can pay a $59.99 one-time charge, which, if you do the math, is a saving of one cent a year. You did not misread that. A one cent saving over 12 months for prepaying the whole year.
I could do five minutes of impromptu stand-up comedy at this point in the review, but I’ll control myself. Let’s just say these folks at F-Secure have a bit of a learning curve in price-based marketing incentives, and the basic principal of economies of scale, meaning you buy more you pay less, or you pay all upfront you pay less. There are very few industries in the world that don’t understand this. Merchants who hawk jade stones on the streets of Hong Kong get it.
Seven devices cost $6.67 per month or $79.99 to pre-pay the year, a savings of one nickel, five cents, another odd example of F-Secure’s marketing policies.
They offer an industry standard free trial: 30 days on three devices. Their website states:
“The trial period does not obligate you to buy the product. Using the product for the trial period does not require you to provide any credit card or banking details.”
F-Secure allows you to purchase with PayPal or a credit/debit card. They do not have any option for cryptocurrency.
F-Secure Freedome Speed Test
Speed tests revealed no real loss of speed when using Freedome. Even with the security add-ons associated with F-Secure Total, their total security package with heavy encryption, there was no real loss of speed.
How is Customer Service at F-Secure Freedome?
The website has somewhat limited options for customer support. While they have a good and comprehensible knowledgebase and download section, their customer service offers only a live chat and phone numbers. Although this sounds promising, the problem is that they both are limited do 9-to-5 working hours. So if you are facing a more serious problem that can’t be resolved with the help of their knowledgebase, you will have to wait on their support for a longer period of time.
The F-Secure server footprint covers the globe, with heavy presence in Canada and the United States, but that’s not all. They’re in Asia, Europe, and Mexico. Here’s the complete country list: Australia, Belgium, Canada (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA (East coast, Northwest, South, Southeast and West coast).
According to their website, all plans include: Protection for a listed number of devices, including PC, Mac, Android, and iOS, Unlimited data plan, No account or registration needed, 30-day money-back guarantee, Antivirus, Browsing and banking protection, Protection for your family with one subscription and healthy boundaries for kids’ device use, Device Finder, Complete privacy, Access to blocked content, WIFI security, and Safe Surfing.
Is F-Secure Freedome Safe?
Security is a high-water mark for F-Secure in this review. They set themselves apart with malware and protection packages that are unique to this company and their corporate board, which has several high-end security backgrounds. This could be especially appealing to small and medium sized organizations that want to use a VPN but have heavy security and non-penetration of network security protocols. That’s a whole other review, though, and this one concentrates on the home user. Suffice it to say, F-Secure has an astounding security apparatus and many attractive add-ons for security minded organizations.
Although this is the summation part of the review, I’ll sneak in a little more information. The download VPN client is very easy to use on Mac and PC and makes for an attractive tool for beginners. Freedom is a great all-around VPN that has been on the market since the inception of the industry. It does everything you want a VPN to do and it does it well. They might need a brief lesson on economies of scale to better price their monthly and annual prepay list prices though.