Avast Antivirus: a Powerful Free Tool for the Ultimate Protection
What comes to your mind when you think of the best antivirus software? Which criteria matter for you?
For a regular use on a personal computer, most people rely on three basic criteria: availability of a free version, effectiveness in malware detection and the minimal impact on the system.
An upgraded Avast antivirus meets all these core requirements: it is lightweight, reliable, and easy to use. Needless to say that its powerful free antivirus has traditionally been the reason for Avast’s popularity worldwide. But even on the top of all this, the software has a lot to be loved for.
In our comprehensive Avast antivirus review, we’ll try to figure out all the strong and weak points of the product and give an honest unbiased estimation of its possibilities.
- Compatible with all modern platforms.
- Different levels of protection against malware.
- Effectively detects phishing sites.
- A strong security plug-in for browsers which automatically detects suspicious websites.
- New passive mode for running multiple security products in parallel.
|Money back Guarantee|
|Manual Virus Scanning|
|USB Virus Scan|
|Registry Startup Scan|
|Auto Virus Scanning|
|Easy of use||4/5|
- Avast is the best pick for those who utilize many devices united in one network. It offers a free scanning of a home Wi-Fi or a wired network and each accessible device.
- Its tools in a free version are equal to what most competitors offer in their premium packages.
- Avast is a perfect antivirus for playing games, watching movies or making a presentation in full screen. Its Do Not Disturb Mode will block all popups.
Pros and Cons
Like any software, Avast antivirus has its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are its main pros and cons figured out by experts and most users.
Reliability and Security
Reliability of Avast antivirus has been proved by numerous independent tests.
Thus, the AV-Test conducted in July-August 2018 showed that Avast provided more than 99% protection. It also scored 6 out of 6 for the level of protection it gives to users’ devices.
In August 2018, AV-Comparatives’ Real-World Protection Test displayed that Avast provides 99.5% protection. That is why this antivirus took the 12th place only. This might disappoint some users because many competitors are 100% effective.
Also, Avast did good in the MRG-Effitas’ banking Trojans test and got Level 2 certification for its malware protection capabilities. The Level 2 means that the minimum of one virus was able to get into the computer but the software deleted it within 24 hours.
However, Avast showed poor results on tests done by the British SE Labs. The goal of this test is to check whether an antivirus can take care of different types of attacks after detection. Avast Free Antivirus got only 91 percent of accuracy rating. This result is not impressive if compared to other free products.
No matter how effective antivirus is, users prefer to stick to the software which does not affect their machines much. In the case with Avast, it has a higher impact on system load than competitors. Meanwhile, AV-Comparatives’ Performance test scored Avast high in the following categories:
- File copying
- Installing/Uninstalling apps
- Launching apps
- Downloading files
- Browsing websites
One of the key factors to evaluate an antivirus is its ability to resist malware attacks. And there is no doubt that Avast is a perfect tool to protect your machine against the most sophisticated malware. The software uses 6-layers deep protection to detect and stop harmful programs in just a few seconds. Avast is also effective in removing malware
Ransomware is an especially unpleasant thing. Once your computer gets infected, there is a huge chance you will lose a large number of files since they will be encrypted. That is why it is crucial to have strong tools to detect ransomware and rescue your machine from it.
Avast offers different levels of protection against malicious programs. Also, it is capable of protecting its users’ machines from ransomware. Even its free package will provide a strong level of security. Obviously, business offers will give more sophisticated protection.
In addition, Avast has free decryption tools which may help decode your files hit by different types of ransomware.
Phishing is another way for cybercriminals to make their living. Although this method to steal users’ data is old and well-known, many people still get caught in the trap. No wonder, effectiveness in detecting phishing threats is among top criteria for people to choose an antivirus.
Avast says it uses AI to detect phishing sites. Hundreds of millions of sensors provide data to AI which makes it possible to notice threats faster and provide better protection. Avast scans every single site a user visits and analyzes it according to a set of criteria.
Ease of Use
One of the biggest advantages of Avast is that it is very easy to use. Thanks to its intuitive interface, it is a simple tool even for beginners. To start using Avast download it for free from the official site. The free program is available for downloading even on some third-party websites, but on the official site, you’ll find all the latest Avast products.
Be attentive when you install the program, as it offers to install the Chrome browser by default. If you don’t need it, just opt out it. Once the antivirus is installed, you may launch it by clicking its bright orange icon. The app has a laconic all-black design with a column of menu points from the left. In particular, you’ll see four main icons – Status, Protection, Privacy and Performance. By clicking the needed icon you can call the corresponding submenu where the particular features can be chosen. Avast for Mac looks virtually the same as the option for Windows.
When you suspend or close the main dialogue window, Avast continues working in the background mode. You may check the current security status at any moment. If everything is ok, the Status button is green and you see a notification saying that you are protected. As soon as the threat is detected, the button immediately turns red and you see the corresponding notification. By the way, you can start the smart scan directly from the Status menu, while for the launching a full scanning you’ll have to do two more clicks.
Avast has an intuitive interface which makes it a simple tool even for beginners. You can customize your interface by adjusting or turning off almost every tool. We advise you to spend some time on that to get a convenient protection tool for your computer.
Avast allows doing a full scan, a scan of certain folders, run a boot-up or custom scan. You may scan a single item if you right-click it in Explorer. Also, there is an option to set the regularity for scans. It can be done every day, week or month.
Available Package and Extras
Avast offers a wide range of packages to choose from. And even if you decide to stick to the free version for Windows or Mac you won’t get disappointed. In addition to blocking viruses and malware (including zero-day threats), both Windows and Mac versions warn you about unsafe sites, scan your home network, and protect your passwords.
However, the paid plans are a better choice if you need more sophisticated protection. For Mac users, there is only 1 paid package available called Security Pro. It adds Ransomware Shield and Wi-Fi Inspector to the pool of the antivirus features. The latter would send real-time notification about intrusions to your Wi-Fi network.
Windows users have 3 paid tiers to choose from: Internet Security, Premier, and Ultimate. All of them offer ransomware protection, better detection of phishing and fraudulent sites, a powerful anti-spam tool and a reliable firewall.
With Avast Premier you’ll get a webcam-hacking blocker, a tool for automatic app upgrading for their ultimate protection, and a data shredder to permanently delete files.
Finally, the Ultimate Package combines all the features of Avast Premier with extra tools that are sold separately, namely a VPN, a cleanup tool and an advanced password manager.
It’s for you to decide which additional tools you need. Say, if you only need basic antivirus protection that comes with a free Avast package, a VPN and a Cleanup tool, it will cost you less than the Ultimate Package (we’ll get to Pricing in the next section of our review). Choose a single program or several tools according to your need and concerns.
In addition to antivirus packages, you can get the following free and paid tools for better privacy and performance of your device:
- SecureLine is a simple and convenient VPN client, which helps to protect information transmitted by users’ devices to the Web with the help of multi-layered encryption.
- Passwords (free) is a top-notch password manager that is available for free. This smart program helps to generate strong passwords and reliably protect them from unauthorized access. It remembers a great amount of credit cards numbers and passwords and provides an effective and secure synchronization of devices.
- Secure Browser (free) will help you to stay incognito online. It will also block ads and thus, make your browsing quicker. It will also protect your personal data.
- Cleanup Premium is an effective removal tool for the system optimizing without losing any important data. It improves the performance of a PC and boosts the speed.
- Driver Updater is a great tool which scans, updates and fixes your drivers automatically. Your machine will work the way it should.
- AntiTrack is the best tool which will protect you against annoying advertises. It will warn you that snoopers make attempts to follow you and will stop them.
Avast Mobile Security would defend Android users from malicious apps, Wi-Fi network vulnerabilities, would block malware, boost the phone’s performance and track it in case of theft. Unfortunately, there is no similar solution for iOS devices.
Avast is one of the most high-priced antivirus software. Despite its Premier plan for Windows became cheaper in comparison to the previous year, it is still more expensive than similar plans of competitors.
Here is what Avast has to offer in terms of pricing:
|1 Device||3 Devices||5 Devices||10 Devices|
|Internet Security for Windows||$59.99||$79.99||$104.99||$179.99|
|Premier for Windows||$69.99||$99.99||$134.99||$219.99|
|Ultimate for Windows (unlimited devices)||$119.99|
|Security Pro for Mac||$59.99||$69.99||$79.99||$99.99|
You can save a little bit by going long-term: with 2-year plan the yearly price drops by around 8%, and with 3-years plan you can save about 12% per year.
Support and Customer Service
As of today, Avast community is really large, and the need for professional customer service is indisputable. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with the support service via e-mail. Unfortunately, they don’t offer phone consulting.
Is Avast Any Good?
Though Avast free antivirus still can’t compete with the industry’s leaders, such as Kaspersky, it has recently leaped forward. Its free passwords manager along with other free add-ons make it really stand apart of most rivals. Taking into consideration the highest quality of malware detection, it is safe to say that Avast is one of the most flexible and attractive security tools in the market worth taking a closer look at.