Overplay Review 2017
The release of mobile apps has made the Overplay service hugely more attractive and usable.
- Excellent mobile apps.
- Easy to use desktop software.
- Free SmartDNS service.
- 5-day money back guarantee.
- 50+ countries.
- Only one support method.
- Cost a dollar or two more p/m.
Overplay have gradually been getting better as the years have progressed but one thing that was always holding them back was the lack of mobile apps.
This has recently changed and we’ve been finding out if the introduction of mobile apps has improved the service in our Overplay review 2017.
Overplay do things a little differently to most VPN providers.
Not only do they offer a VPN service but they also offer a SmartDNS service too.
The SmartDNS service is offered as a standalone package or you can take it bundled with the VPN for a discount price.
The following package choices and prices are as follows.
- 1-Month $4.95 /m (approx £3.96)
- 12-Months $4.16 /m (approx £3.33)
SmartDNS + VPN:
- 1-Month $9.95 /m (approx £7.97)
- 12-Months $8.33 /m (approx £6.67)
Last year Overplay had 3 and 6-month options too but these have been removed to simplify the sign-up process.
Like all providers the longer you sign up for the more you save. In the case of Overplay there isn’t a huge saving but every penny counts!
If you’re not happy with the service then there is a 5-day money back guarantee to give you peace of mind.
For the purpose of clarity, I’ll be concentrating on the SmartDNS + VPN package for the rest of the review.
Overplay offer the most standard VPN protocols including PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN.
The SmartDNS service allows you to stream restricted content without the slowdown that a VPN may introduce. There is no encryption when using the SmartDNS service and your privacy isn’t protected but if you have a slow internet connection then you may appreciate SmartDNS.
Custom Software & Apps
I last reviewed Overplay back in June 2016 so not in the all too distant past but in recent months two massive developments have taken place.
Firstly and most importantly apps for both Android and iOS devices have been released and this is a pretty groundbreaking moment as I’ve been waiting for these for years from Overplay.
Secondly although they only just overhauled their entire desktop software for both Windows and Mac in May of 2016 they’ve again revisited it and improved its use even further.
The main screen of the Windows software (and Mac!) allows you to choose an encryption type from:
- No Encryption
Below this you can choose a server location which opens a new window allowing you to choose City and country. You can also see how many VPN servers are in one particular location and their current user load. All very useful features.
Once you’ve selected a server all that’s left to do is hit the big green Connect button and the Overplay software does the hard work getting you connected and protected.
If you’re new to VPN use then that’s really all you need to do, you don’t even need to pick the highest encryption as that’s done for you too.
If however you’re a little more advanced then there is a settings area.
- Enable IPv6 Leak Protection
- Kill Switch
- Enable DNS Leak Protection
- Select OpenVPN port.
- Select OpenVPN protocol UDP/TCP
Alongside there is a logs section and the standard options of starting the software on boot, auto connecting, altering what the close button does and the usual selection of options.
Apart from that, that pretty much wraps up the desktop software. It’s easy to use, has some of the most required features and does the job it’s intended to do.
The Android and iOS app are similar although not completely identical.
For the purpose of this review I’m taking a look at the Android app but the iOS app isn’t that much different.
The Overplay service has always been generally good but lacking mobile apps really let the service down in the past. With the recently released apps, this has all changed.
The app is really easy to use and follows a similar style to the desktop software. At the top you can select your encryption options, below this the server you wish to connect to and below that is the button to connect.
In terms of further options there aren’t a whole lot.
The Android app uses OpenVPN and you’re able to switch between UDP and TCP protocols. You can also select the port you wish to use.
Apart from being able to automatically connect, connect to the fastest server and a selection of similar options, that pretty much rounds up the available settings.
The app is very easy to use and does the job it’s intended to. Having mobile apps really improves the Overplay service and opens up the possibility of uses massively.
Overplay have added 6 new countries in the last 10 months taking their total from 44 VPN server locations to 50.
50 countries covered is more than many other VPN providers and certainly a decent amount. While it doesn’t make Overplay one of the biggest it is more than enough for most uses.
Servers are available in Europe, North America, South America and Asia. There are also servers in Australia and New Zealand and in Africa in Egypt and South Africa.
Overplay increased their device limit from 2 concurrent connections to 3. With the release of the mobile apps for phones and tablets this increased number of devices that can be connected at the same time will really help.
Although there are providers offering 5 or 6 concurrent connections it’s a good start and something I hope to see Overplay improve on in the future.
There are zero traffic logs stored on the service so when you connect to one of the servers nothing that you do while connected is recorded.
If you’re worried about limits then don’t be as unlimited region switching, unlimited server switching and unlimited bandwidth are allowed on the service and if that wasn’t enough there is also unlimited P2P traffic allowing you to download without an issue.
I used Overplay over the past few weeks for everything from simple email reading and website browsing to high quality video streaming and downloading of large files.
I found the speeds on the Overplay service to be excellent especially when connected to local servers and servers not too far away.
Since last year it would appear that the infrastructure of the service has been upgraded because in my 2016 review I found that the download speeds had vastly improved over previous years.
It isn’t uncommon for me to get 150 Mbps while connected to their United Kingdom server so the service can definitely handle high speeds and high intensity tasks.
The Encryption, Policies & Support:
OpenVPN allows you to select between AES-256, AES-128 and No Encryption.
Although No Encryption won’t protect your data it will allow you to alter your IP Address and location without much speed loss and it’s a great feature to see that isn’t available from many other providers.
L2TP uses 256-bit encryption with PPTP using 128-bit encryption.
The Terms of Service on the Overplay service are not hugely different to other providers.
One area to note is they do not allow VPN “chaining”. For example, if you wanted to connect to one VPN provider and then from there to the Overplay service this is disallowed. It’s one of the first times I’ve seen such a specific mention of this.
P2P use is allowed on the service but they state that it must not be used for downloading or sharing of illegal material.
The most important statement in the Terms of Service is:
Overplay, Inc. does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service.
Support is offered by Support Ticket only. Responses are fast and helpful.
I was a little disappointed that they don’t have any other method of support although it is quite common for VPN services to only offer support in this way.
It would be nice in future to see a live help option so you can resolve any queries quickly as you have them.
Overplay offer an all round good service and they’re definitely up there with some of the best.
Pricing of the service is just ever so slightly higher than other comparable services but you do get the added SmartDNS feature which answers why it’s a dollar or two more.
If you like to access geo-restricted content such as TV services then you will certainly appreciate the addition of the included SmartDNS service.
The software and newly released apps are really where the service starts to shine. The redesigned desktop software is simplistic and easy to use and with the recent release of mobile apps for Android and iOS devices the service has massively opened up.
Not having mobile apps was always a negative of the service and I was very excited to see the apps released.
With over 50 countries available to connect to the service has a lot of possibilities from protecting your privacy to allowing you to access blocked content. It’s also great if you travel a lot because there are plenty of local connection points.
The speed of the service is generally good and I didn’t have any issues downloading or streaming.
Overall the Overplay service is one of the better available. I would like to see a little price drop, an increase in concurrent connections and more support options but apart from that, there is very little to fault the service on.
My verdict? Sign up and give them a try, you have a 5-day cooling offer period if you’re unhappy.