Why is the antivirus and internet security niche so confusing? Because there are many excellent programs available. While each has its strengths and its drawbacks, the truth is that the big names - McAfee, Norton, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, Avast, and AVG, to name just a few - all perform well.
Avast has long been known for its high-quality free antivirus software. Internet Security, which is designed to compete with the big boys’ programs of the same name, is a good step up, packing extra protection and integrated tools.
Why is integration so important? Because anti-malware programs don’t always play nicely together. One of the nicest features of Avast, in my opinion, was the fact that it could co-exist quite peacefully with my current edition of Norton Internet Security.
At $39.95 (current special) and $49.95 (regular price), Avast is considerably cheaper than Norton and Kaspersky ($79.99 each), and Trend Micro and McAfee ($69.95).
Download and Installation
The executable file for Avast Internet Security 2012 weighed in at 118 megabytes, and it took about 10 minutes to download via DSL. Installation was lightning-fast, with the welcome option of working alongside another Internet Security suite immediately offered. A quick scan of your PC is part of the installation process, and the software was automatically fully set up.
User Interface, Performance, and Support
The tabbed interface is not spectacular, but it’s easy to navigate and it gets the job done. I selected the Quick Scan option as the first test. Although it went very slowly (over 30 minutes compared to the 3 that Norton usually requires), I was able to minimize Avast and keep using my computer. The full system scan took a surprisingly short hour, versus the 90 minutes that Norton takes.
I have a minor quibble with Avast. It is that the password protection software that I have come to expect from an internet security program cost an extra $9.99 per year. Other than that, the features are similar to most other programs: browser protection, isolation for suspicious files, automatic updates, plenty of customization options, and a firewall.
Given the difference in price between Avast and its competitors, it would not be an issue to purchase some of the extra options. This is an excellent program in a field of excellent programs. I would recommend it especially for budget-minded consumers who need to keep their systems running at peak speed.
- + Compares well with others in this field
- + Easy to use
- + Trusted reputation
- - Quick scans aren’t all that quick
- - Some features may cost extra
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