Review: Invizbox Go provides online privacy with ease

Device is a portable VPN service and Tor router but can also charge your smartphone

Invizbox Go
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Price: €99
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Privacy is a thorny subject. On one hand, we want access to free services and all the internet has to offer. On the other, the amount of information that both government agencies and internet service providers around the world are collecting on people using these services is enough to make even the most privacy-oblivious internet user more than a little worried.

So what can you do? Virtual private networks – essentially a tunnel through the internet – can help keep your browsing habit private, as can using a Tor network, which bounces your internet traffic through a global network to make it more difficult to build up a picture of your internet habits.

But setting up VPNs and Tor browsers can be a bit less convenient than you’d like.

It's against this backdrop that something like Invizbox Go comes into its own. The device is billed as a way to ensure security and privacy on the go. This isn't the first product from Invizbox. The initial effort was a device that connected to the Tor network to provide users with a certain level of privacy when they got online. But that particular device was meant to work with an ethernet connection, and had little benefit for those who were connecting wirelessly.

Protection on the go

Step in Invizbox Go, which makes privacy and security mobile. The device is intended to travel with you, so no matter where you go, you get the same level of protection. About the same size as a mobile phone, the Invizbox is a portable VPN service and Tor router that you can use regardless of whether you are at home, on the go or even abroad.

It can function as a wifi extender. It has a rechargeable battery built into the device. It’s a bit of a swiss army knife of privacy devices. And to top it all off, it’s made by an Irish company.

So is it worth the investment? The short answer: it depends on how worried you are about your privacy, and how tech savvy you are.

Invizbox Go is a handy way to get yourself protected if you are less than up to date on all the best VPNs. You connect your devices to the Invizbox Go, and it connects to the wifi network, putting a buffer between you and public internet services.

The initial setup takes the longest by a small margin, but the Invizbox interface walks you through all the steps so you don’t have to be a tech whizz to do it.

It doesn’t need to be plugged into anything, not even a power cable, with the built-in battery providing around a day’s use. If necessary though, you can charge it over USB, and it will still work while you power it up.

Easy setup

Once you have the initial setup done, you connect to a wifi hotspot through the Invizbox Go, and you are browsing with your VPN. For each new place that you visit, all you have to do is connect to the wifi network there through the Invizbox interface. That will add a few seconds to your connection time, but it’s a small price to pay.

The Invizbox Go not only protects all your devices while you’re on the move, it will also keep your mobile devices fully powered. The built-in rechargeable battery can give your mobile phone or tablet a bit of extra power when you need it – at least a full charge.

The good:

Even if you are a complete beginner, setting up the device isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. The services are preconfigured on the box, so if you don’t really understand what you’re doing when it comes to VPNs and Tor browsers, the device will give you a no-fuss way to access this level of security.

The not so good:

It still requires a certain degree of trust. Because the services are preconfigured, you have to trust the provider selected by Invizbox not to pass on your information to a third party. Using VPNs and Tor is not a 100 per cent guarantee that you’ll be anonymous online either, although it makes it more difficult to track your behaviour online. Also, if you are already paying for a VPN, you are hardly likely to pay for another.

The rest:

You can pay upfront for the VPN service for life - $499 (€446) for EU-based customers – or try it out for a few weeks with the two-month option.

The verdict:

If you don’t know your VPNs from your elbow but still want privacy protection, this is a handy device.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist