HMA! HideMyAss Review 2015
- Ease of Use
- Access to Mainstream Services
Welcome to my Independent Review of HideMyAss! 2015 HMA!
They say football is a game of two halves, and so it seems is my review of HideMyAss HMA! (ish!)
Lets get right to it. First off, to not dilute the stuff that the web’s favourite donkey does well I shall start with the good stuff that covers in fairness, “the vast majority of things that the vast majority of people want from a VPN.”
If you want a VPN service to access TV and Movies in the UK or USA – HMA VPN is for you
If you are resident of the UK or USA and going on holiday and want to take your catchup TV with you – HMA VPN is for you
If you live in Mainland Europe and want more or less and entertainment service on that continent – HMA VPN is for you.
If you want to access your existing SkyGo or NowTV subscription outside of the UK – HMA VPN is for you.
If you are in China and want to get passed the great firewall – HMA VPN is for you.
If you want enhanced privacy – HMA VPN is for you
If you any of the above statements relate to you and you are thinking of signing up, then read on to find out more or head straight on over to visit them here.
……and the not so successful bits:- (Bearing in mind that a small niche really require these services as opposed to the far more open ended list above)
If you want to access BeInSports outside the UAE – HMA VPN is not for you
If you want to access StarSports.com Outside India – HMA VPN is not for you
I separated my testing into two parts mainly. UK, USA and European and followed up with tests in the UAE and India relating to Football Media Services. So to make this review easy to separate out into the parts important to you I split the findings! How convenient I hear you say!
Part 1 – UK, USA and European Servers
I got almost 50Mbps out of a possible 60Mbps on a UK server which is certainly not bad. Its way more than is required for uninterrupted streaming of UK TV services such as 4OD, BBC iPlayer and ITV catchup. And it worked perfectly on both live and pre recorded broadcasts.
(live iPlayer test, pre recorded 4OD test)
Next up I tried a few East Coast USA servers for speed and they were all above 8Mbps which is above what is needed for HD Netflix streaming. My bench mark for being reliable enough to watch a film on Netflix is 5Mbps. The speeds were a bit lower than I expected for the east coast at least but never the less, I took screenshots whilst using the florida server and you can see the picture quality is excellent.
I watched this movie on Netflix USA from the UK for about an hour on my MAC and finished it a few days later using the same server on my iPad and not so much as a dropped pixel! and thats pretty much what getting a VPN is all about right?
Here are the results!
Now, I have a confession to make! I did some further tests on some Norwegian (nrk) and Swedish (SVT) channels. Both worked perfectly but I did not take any screenshots and so I am afraid you can either trust me on it, or delete that previous sentence from your memory! Your choice! If you check some of my other reviews these form part of my standard tests which should at least set your mind at ease!
Up to this point I was very impressed with not so much the speeds but the reliability of the connections. The speeds themselves were not lightening, certainly not slow but they were steady, reliable and I genuinely did not see but one pixelation on any of the tests and no buffering. My ISP is a pain with throttling YouTube around 6 – 8 pm and so one test I did was to watch a few clips of one of the few youTubers I subscribe to (Boogie2988 if you are interested) and there was no buffering or stuttering. Considering i get 60Mbps the rest of the time this is one bug bear I can do without so it was good to see the VPN bypassing my ISPs throttling successfully.
Part 2 – Football Service Specific Testing
Test 1 – BeIn Sports in the UAE
For this I tested two servers, Bahrain and Dubai with test results below. Now, the speeds were not going to set any records, but the Bahrain server should have provided enough of stable SD content and the Dubai Server enough for HD.
As you can see from both tests above, it is possible to unblock the BeIN Sports service however I did have trouble both connecting to the server on multiple occasions and each time I connected the picture would go from being crisp to buffering in a short space of time. Minutes at most. I wouldn’t then recommend this particular service if BeIN Sports is the target service your are after. I would check out my other reviews with more successful tests in this respect.
Test 2 – Star Sports India
I had high hopes here especially when I saw that there was a server somewhere other than New Delhi, whom I was beginning to have concerns had the monopoly on servers over there! Panic over.
So I did a few speed tests on the new server which was located in Uttar Pradesh, Noida
You can see that the results were underwhelming. The speed of 3Mbps is actually not unreasonable, the problem was the latency and the reliability. Starsports doesn’t actually stream in HD and and varying bitrates to choose from. But I had trouble getting reliability from much more than a couple of minutes.
Next I tried New Delhi.
With regret, i did not capture the speed test result. You can see that the picture above though is far clearer than the previous server in Uttar Pradesh.
Having said that, again, the reliability was an issue. The above clips were not even from a live game but a prerecorded compilation video but even that wouldn’t stream without unwatchable buffering. It was a shame I have to say.
Aside from the above, I tested these on a weekday (Friday afternoon UK time) which would have meant lower server load. The connection issues were so bad I actually thought it was either my Internet provider or my router. I reset both. I actually didn’t try it again until a couple of days later but it was exactly the same.
I gave up streaming and just tried general browsing using the indian server but even that was painfully slow.
if Starsports is your target service, again, HMA is not for you and I would refer you my Astrill review who fared much better and whom i personally use regularly.
Very much a review of two halves.
What I liked
– Software is very easy to use on all platforms
– Connections in UK, USA and Europe provide reliable HD streaming without issue (this is probably 99% of usage for the vast majority of users)
– General browsing in UK, USA and Europe is just like using your own ISP in terms of responsiveness. Bottom line, you could leave it on if you wanted.
– HMA is good value for money, simple, effective and best of all reliable for the most popular services in the UK, USA and Europe
What I didn’t like
– Server reliability in UAE
– Server reliability in India
– The software was easy for click and connect purposes, I do like to see more options, especially around encryption / privacy and I like DDwrt router applets which very few providers seem to offer but they offer extreme flexibility
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