- Great download speeds
- Excellent retention times
- SSL encryption
- Proxy connections
- Good customer service
- Short on additional features
- Prices are a bit high
- No money back guarantee or refunds
UseNeXT is a proud German Usenet provider and part of Aviteo Ltd. Created in 2004 it is one of today’s largest Usenet services with some of the best retention times, extraordinary download speeds and biggest number of newsgroups. To access the world of Usenet with this provider you’ll require a newsreader, since the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) is the only method supported – but don’t run away just yet, you’ll find some good suggestions on UseNeXT’s website. In addition, you can count on its SSL encryptions for secure access to the Usenet and all the downloads you receive from there. UseNeXT offers a number of different plans suitable for both beginning users and proficient Usenet experts, your choice affecting not only the download speed but also the billing period. The company also didn’t forget those who like to test things out first and offers a nice 14-day free trial for all available plans.
UseNeXT offers more than 110,000 newsgroups, some of the best download speeds in the market and 3,800 and 2,705 days of text and binary retention respectively. However, because you’re required to use a newsreader, it is when navigating through its settings and menus that you’ll find some nice hidden details.
Newsreader and Extra Features
First off, it is unfortunate that the only way to access all these newsgroups is via a newsreader. Don’t get us wrong, using one isn’t a bad thing, but considering that nowadays there are already other Usenet services who step up and also offer HTTP access directly from their website, it is almost like they’re trying to start from behind. Regardless, UseNeXT works with all newsreaders and there are also a couple suggestions on their website, too. We chose Tangysoft and were pleasantly surprised with some of its features, such as the ability to choose your own proxy or search server, for instance. On the other hand though, previews sometimes didn’t work or required additional installation of certain programs. And as with any standard newsreader you have the typical option of manually choosing the main newsgroups on the left-hand side, but when searching for individual terms the results can seem rather confusing at times. To be more specific, when searching only for images the results turned out blank more often than not, regardless of how trivial some of the search terms were. However, when filtering the results to show everything (audio, video, newsfiles, etc.), even using the same search terms, images were easily found among them.
Despite these issues, overall the software behaves decently and does indeed deliver the blazing speeds the company advertises, making larger downloads easier while the handy 256-bit SSL encryption makes them safer.
One of the most interesting aspects of UseNeXT is the fact that you can choose the way you want to download content, more specifically you’re choosing between either higher speeds or free usage. This will also be dependent on your choice of subscription since download speeds and data transfers change from one to another. But how does this work? On the top right corner of your Tangysoft newsreader you’ll find two buttons, one for High Speed and one for Free Download. If you choose the first one you’ll obviously be setting speed as your priority, which means you’ll use your plan’s High Speed Data volumes. Within your member’s area (which can be accessed directly from the reader, too) you’re able to purchase more of this data. Likewise, if at the end of a contractual monthly period you still have data left over then it’ll become saved in your Extra Boost Account for later use.
If your plan does not allow this then simply opt for the free download option, which will use your plan’s unlimited flatrate speed instead. While being much slower (2,000Kbit/s max.), it is a good option to not only save your high speed data allowance but for those lighter downloads too.
As we mentioned earlier, with UseNeXT you’ll be enjoying one of the biggest retention rates among the Usenet world: 3,800 days for text and 2,705 for binary. Moreover, the German company allows access to more than 110,000 newsgroups and you can always suggest an improvement and ask for the addition of new ones. Meanwhile there’s a maximum of 30 connections available, which might be considered a nice number but it is still rather slim when compared to other Usenet providers. Regardless, UseNeXT also sets the pace with regards to server farms, since it owns six of them spread across the United States and Europe.
To start with, UseNeXT is based in Germany (which might explain why some parts of its website are in German and others in English), one of the safest online countries but also one of the most severe against abusers. However, although there is no indication that those who cause the company to receive DMCA strikes due to illegal downloads will be banned, UseNeXT does at least remove the affected posts and notify its users.
As for its safety standards, UseNeXT assures users that it follows a no log policy and that it doesn’t store your IP address. In the same measure, none of the data in the Usenet is censored – which means you’ll also find some less advisable content too, unfortunately. Last but not least, you can also enable the 256-bit SSL encryption on all downloads within the newsreader settings.
UseNeXT pricing is very interesting since it has plans suitable for both Usenet starters and experts. As you know by now, all plans come with high-speed and flatrate access to Usenet, though the volume of these, along with data transfers, will vary according to the pricing of the plan. The different plans are divided into three categories – Smart, Comfort and Premium – which, in turn, have standard and “plus” versions. According to UseNeXT, the standard plans are flexible with a shorter duration and so all of them are single month subscriptions. The cheapest one is Smart, allowing for 30GB of data transfer at a maximum of 200Mbit/s and a flatrate up to 1,000Kbit/s at a cost of €11.95 (approximately $12,69). Comfort is the middle package while Premium, billed at €24.95 (roughly $26,49) and offering data transfer volumes up to 250GB and with maxed out flatrates, is as high as you can get before entering the plus versions.
Smart+, Comfort+ and Premium+ are where you’ll find UseNeXT’s different long-term subscriptions, and where you’ll find more speed at a lower price. These are also the plans that will allow the biggest savings over their respective standard versions. Smart+ is UseNeXT’s best deal since you’ll be getting an annual subscription for €95.40 (around $101.29), which is the equivalent of paying only $8.44 per month or, in other words, the equivalent of a 33% discount on the monthly subscription. Because these are built for speed junkies, Smart+ download speeds are maxed up to an impressive 800Mbit/s and the maximum 2,000Kbit/s flatrate. However, monthly data is capped at only 30GB and if you’re going to want more then Comfort+ (a nine-month membership) or Premium+ could be the perfect choice for you. Remember, though, that you’ll sacrifice some speed and pay more: the latter, for instance, offers 250GB per month at a maximum of ‘only’ 200Mbit/s. This is also the most expensive plan since it costs €19.95/month ($21.18) for a three-month membership (approximately $63.54 in total).
To save as much as possible, you can always opt for the free trial and test the service at will. The trial is available for 14 days and has a limit of 10GB data transfer with the maximum DSL bandwidth download. Make sure you enjoy the best of your free account, however, as there are no refunds; but be sure to keep one eye on the clock and another on the data, as if either of these are exceeded you’ll automatically get billed for the Smart+ plan.
Also, you can pay with credit/debit cards and PayPal, but make note that the company only deals in Euros so you’ll be depending on exchange rate for payments with any other currencies.
Unfortunately, the available customer service options are not as rich as the service that UseNeXT provides. In fact, if you want to contact the company you can choose between filling out an online ticket submission form, sending an email to the support address or using the two phone lines (although these are only available for the UK and Germany). And if you’re wondering about any of the social media you might as well give up on that since their pages – while still active – were abandoned years ago. Facebook stopped being updated in 2015 and their Twitter page didn’t survive past 2014. Nonetheless, when contacting the team you’ll receive a prompt, personal and polite response which will help you solve your questions in no time. You should also definitely visit the FAQ page as it is pretty decent and complete, while it also gives you a nice insight on UseNeXT’s background.
When using UseNeXT’s service you’ll get the sense of a genuine Usenet provider. Some of the most important factors contributing to this are that it includes some of the best retention times and largest number of newsgroups in the industry. In turn, these are only topped by incredibly high download speeds, SSL encryptions and the fact that you can choose between using your plan’s high speed data or free flatrate volumes.
However, it is rather unfortunate that the service is quite limited with regards to the Usenet itself, as aside from being able to proxy your connection and change search servers there are no further features. Along with the fact that it only supports NNTP, it inevitably starts behind some of the toughest opposition who already offer HTTP access and VPN subscriptions, for instance. The pricing can be considered a bit costly, too, especially for the short-term subscriptions (which are a clever idea and well implemented nonetheless). The fact that the best value plan is rather limited with its monthly data transfer volumes will likely push away the most hardcore users instead of attracting them enough to invest more.
Nonetheless, all this means is that the German company has a lot of potential under the hood and can indeed become one of the world’s top Usenet racers if it tunes its ride properly.
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