|App Name||Private Internet Access VPN|
|Last Updated||Oct 30, 2023|
|Publisher||Private Internet Access, Inc|
PIA VPN was founded in 2010 and is based in Denver, Colorado. It is owned by Kape Technologies. PIA states that their mission is to advance internet privacy and provide security solutions to protect users. The provider has a strict no-logs policy and does not track or store any user data or traffic information.
PIA offers native apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more. The VPN service also provides browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. PIA currently has over 10,000 servers located in 84 countries around the world. Some key features offered by PIA VPN include:
Now let’s focus our review specifically on PIA’s VPN app for Android devices. Currently, PIA’s Android app has over 10 million downloads on the Google Play store and a 4.5 out of 5 star rating from over 79,000 user reviews. This makes it one of the most popular and highest rated VPN apps available for Android.
The first step is to download and install the PIA android app, which is quick and simple. The app is less than 10 MB in size, so it won’t take up much storage space.
Once installed, you will need to create a PIA account if you don’t already have one. The signup process only requires an email address, password, and username. No personal info is collected. After logging into the app, you will be greeted by a clean, intuitive interface with a large connect button at the top.
The entire installation process only takes a couple of minutes. The quick setup gets you protected by the VPN faster compared to competitors like ExpressVPN which make you go through additional steps like choosing a server location before connecting.
The PIA android app is very easy to use, even for VPN beginners. The main screen shows your connection status, current IP address, location, and a large connect/disconnect button at the top.
Tapping the current location brings up the full server list, where you can filter and sort by country, latency, or load. Connecting to a new server only takes a single tap.
The hamburger menu on the top left provides access to settings, account details, the help section, and more. The settings menu is clean and simple with toggles for various options like the VPN kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, and sending usage analytics.
Advanced users can dig deeper into the settings to tweak protocols, encryption levels, handshake settings, and enable port forwarding. But none of this is necessary and the default settings work great for most users.
The app also includes useful features like split tunneling which are easy to use. Overall, the PIA android app strikes a nice balance between simplicity for beginners and advanced options for techies.
Speed is one of the most important criteria when evaluating a VPN service. Based on my testing, PIA provides consistently fast speeds across its worldwide server network on Android devices.
To test the VPN speeds, I first measured my base ISP speeds without the VPN active. I then connected to PIA servers in 10 different countries and used speed test sites to measure the download and upload speeds.
On my home Wi-Fi network with a 150 Mbps internet connection, I measured speeds of 125-135 Mbps when connected to nearby PIA servers on the east and west coasts of the US. When connected to distant servers in Europe and Asia, speeds slowed down but remained very usable at 75-100 Mbps.
The speed reduction of around 20-30% from my base ISP speeds is typical for most VPN services. In fact, PIA’s speeds were better than many other big-name VPN providers I tested. The fast speeds ensure smooth streaming, browsing, and downloading, even when connected to far away servers.
PIA helpfully shows the current server load percentage and latency times in the server list. I found picking servers with low latency always gave me the fastest speeds. The Android app also has a Speed Test feature which chooses the fastest server for you with one tap.
In addition to speed, a VPN also needs to provide reliable, stable connections. PIA’s android app delivers rock-solid reliability in my experience.
The VPN connected instantly every time I tapped the button and maintained the connection without any drops or interruptions during hours of active use. Switching between different server locations was quick and seamless.
The reliability was unaffected even when switching networks or moving between Wi-Fi and mobile data. The auto-connect feature worked flawlessly as well, re-establishing the VPN immediately after switching networks or if the connection dropped.
PIA’s excellent connection stability is likely due to their large server network spread across 84 countries. Even during peak usage times, there are always plenty of uncrowded servers available to deliver reliable speeds.
Unblocking geo-restricted streaming sites like Netflix is one of the major reasons people use VPNs. PIA is not marketed as a streaming VPN, but it works quite well for accessing streaming services from other countries.
During my testing, I was able to unblock and access US Netflix while connected to PIA’s UK and Canadian servers. However, Netflix did block connections to some other locations like Switzerland and Australia.
BBC iPlayer also worked well with PIA’s UK servers. And I could stream sports and other content on ESPN+ and NBC Sports by connecting to appropriate PIA servers in the US.
Just like with any VPN, streaming support on PIA can be hit or miss depending on the service. But its good unblocking capabilities provide more entertainment options while traveling abroad.
Security and privacy are the most vital aspects of any VPN service. PIA VPN excels in these areas and provides an extremely secure and private internet connection on Android devices.
PIA has a strict no-logs policy and does not track or store any user data or traffic information. They do not require any personal info like names or emails to create an account. PIA accepts anonymous payment methods like gift cards and cryptocurrencies.
All traffic is secured using industry-standard AES-256 encryption. Secure protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard are available. The VPN kill switch blocks all internet access if the VPN connection drops. And there are no activity or connection logs that could ever be linked to a user.
Advanced features like a SOCKS5 proxy, port forwarding, and PIA’s MACE ad/malware blocker provide additional privacy benefits. Overall, PIA offers air-tight security and anonymity on Android.
PIA VPN provides very affordable pricing, especially compared to big-name competitors like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. The pricing plans available for PIA VPN are:
The longer subscription plans offer the lowest monthly cost. PIA also occasionally offers promotions like free months added to annual plans.
One PIA account supports unlimited devices, so you can use the same login across all your Android, iOS, Windows and other devices. The affordable pricing makes PIA a great value compared to competitors.
PIA offers a few different customer support options if you need help with the VPN service. There is an extensive knowledge base and FAQ section on their website that provides answers for most common questions and issues.
For immediate assistance, PIA offers 24/7 live chat support. I tested the live chat several times and always got quick responses from knowledgeable support reps in under 5 minutes. Email support is also available if you don’t need an instant response.
Between the detailed self-help options and responsive live chat, PIA provides high quality customer support on par with top VPNs like ExpressVPN.
Beyond the core VPN features, PIA also includes a few handy extras that add even more value:
These extras provide more customization options and enhanced security over the competition.
No VPN service is perfect, and PIA has a few minor drawbacks to be aware of:
Overall though, these are minor complaints compared to PIA’s many positive aspects. For most users, the pros of PIA easily outweigh the cons.
PIA VPN provides an excellent VPN experience on Android with fast speeds, air-tight security, intuitive apps, and affordable pricing. The strict no-logs policy, large server network, and extra features like ad-blocking and port forwarding make PIA a top choice for Android users seeking a secure and private internet connection on the go.
While PIA has a few minor drawbacks like being based in the US, it excels in all of the most important categories. The fast speeds ensure smooth video streaming and calling quality, even when connected to far away servers. Robust encryption and a proven no-logs policy provide complete anonymity. And the easy-to-use apps make connecting as simple as tapping a button.
For these reasons, I highly recommend PIA VPN as a great option for privacy-focused Android users. The combination of great features, performance, and pricing make it one of the top Android VPN services available today.