Hotspot Shield Elite for Mac secures your Wi-Fi connection, protects you against identity theft, and gives you the ability to access blocked Web sites-- proving to be a valuable security tool. It doesn't protect your mobile device, though, unless you buy a separate subscription.
Intuitive UI: All of Hotspot Shield Elite's functions can be accessed through an icon on your Menu Bar. The shield-like icon is green when active and red when inactive.
Warnings or alerts: This application makes use of AnchorFree's regularly updated database of Web site information to provide alerts when you are accessing malicious or unsafe URLs. Also, the application raises an alert when you try to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot. What's more, you can set it to automatically activate every time you connect to hotspots.
Flexible VPN subscription pricing: While a monthly VPN service subscription is $4.99, an annual subscription is just $29.99. If you don't mind seeing video ads, you can stick to the free version. The good thing is that to go to the free VPN service from your elite subscription you don't have to uninstall and install another version of the application -- you are automatically downgraded to the free version once you sign out.
Designed to make you pay for the product: Once installed, this application bars your browser from connecting to the Internet until you register it. This setup feels like you're being forced to buy it.
Separate VPN subscription for Mac OS and iOS devices: One Hotspot Shield Elite account provides protection for up to five devices, but this refers to five similar platforms. Your iOS devices cannot make use of your Mac VPN subscription. Similarly, you will need another subscription for your Windows and Android devices.
Hotspot Shield Elite looks like a useful tool for those who want privacy protection while connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots. This application delivers what it promises and, if the ads or aggressive registration process don't turn you off, you should give it a try.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Hotspot Shield Elite for Mac 2.85.