Avast Antivirus: a Powerful Free Tool for the Ultimate Protection
When it comes to picking out the best antivirus software 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, it has a powerful free version, which has traditionally been the reason of its popularity worldwide. But even on the top of all this, it 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.
In fact, Avast is more than just an antivirus. Nowadays, the company offers an array of tools for a comfortable and secure surfing, shopping, playing, and downloading. Here are its currently available solutions for various purposes:
- Avast SecureLine is a simple and convenient Avast VPN-client, which helps to protect information transmitted by users’ devices to the Web with the help of multi-layered encryption. As of today, Avast SecureLine is available as both a PC client and a mobile app.
- Avast SafePrice is a solution intended for avid shoppers. Technically, it is a plug-in that is compatible with all popular browsers. Every time you look for certain goods in any online store, Avast SafePrice offers you a list of trusted websites where the same goods are sold at the best price.
- Avast Cleanup is an effective Avast removal tool for the system optimizing without losing any important data. It improves the performance of a PC and boosts the speed. Beware that the program is not available for free.
- Avast SafeZone browser can be used like any usual browser, but unlike Chrome or Opera it offers some extra perks, such as a higher level of protection from phishing and fraudulent sites, a built-in Incognito mode, secure online payments and so on. It can be of certain use, though many people in their Avast antivirus reviews complain of its automatic installation during the antivirus app downloading, which is a sort of annoying.
- Avast Passwords is a top-notch password manager that is available for free together with Avast antivirus free. This smart program helps to generate strong passwords and reliably protect them from an unauthorized access. It remembers a great many credit cards numbers and passwords and provides an effective and secure synchronization of devices. Avast Passwords is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. For an advanced protection, the premium version can be purchased.
However, the most popular Avast solution is, of course, its antivirus utility. In the following sections of our Avast review, we’ll cover the four versions of the Avast antivirus for home and have a closer look at its basic free version.
Avast cardinally upgraded its antivirus program in 2017, after the acquisition of the AVG company. The main distinctive features of the updated version include an improved design, fully complying with the latest trends, a game mode, and a one-click access to extra tools, such as Avast SecureLine. The program has an intuitive design; it is very easy to use and doesn’t have any noticeable impact on the system running.
Apart from the basic free version, Avast offers three paid options:
- Avast Internet Security. On the top of basic protection features, this version offers ransomware protection, a better detection of phishing and fraudulent sites, a powerful anti-spam tool and a reliable firewall. Its current cost is $60 per year.
- Avast Premier. For just $80 per year, you’ll get a webcam-hacking blocker, a tool for automatic app upgrading for their ultimate protection, an opportunity of complete permanent data deletion, and an improved ransomware protection.
- Avast Ultimate is a complex solution for a PC. For $119 per year, you’ll get the maximum protection of the Premier version plus a package, consisting of three popular tools: Avast SecureLine, Avast Cleanup (Premium), and Avast Passwords (Premium).
However, despite the high efficiency and flexibility of premium options, most users opt for the free Avast antivirus option. It provides a decent level of protection for absolutely no money. As a free bonus, together with an antivirus, Avast SafeZone and Avast Passwords (basic) are available.
Avast Free Antivirus – Best for Non-Commercial Use
While companies and users with higher security needs can try Avast for business and get an advanced multi-layered protection combined with high customization capabilities, the majority of regular users are quite satisfied with the free version, as it fully meets their requirements.
The main task of any antivirus is detecting and destroying malware, and Avast does its job very well. It has repeatedly undergone independent testing, and in most cases, the results were rather encouraging. Thus, according to the AV-TEST report (2017), it managed to identify 100% of new zero-day threats and from 99.8 to 99.9% of known pieces of malware. At the same time, during tests, it mistakenly identified 3 non-malware patterns as potential threats. These results, however, are considered pretty normal.
Another independent third-party auditor – AV-Comparatives – reported on almost identical results. In their Avast security review, they write that its free antivirus properly identified from 99.1 to 99.6% of threats. Though the result is not perfect, it is still decent.
What sets Avast apart from competitors is the availability of additional tools in the free version. They are Avast SafeZone and its password manager. Both add-ons are useful, and most competitors offer similar tools as part of their premium paid packages.
Another great thing about Avast is the flexibility of the free version and its compatibility with different platforms. Not only does it work with all modern Windows builds (from XP to Avast Windows 10). There is also a free package of Avast for Mac, as well as Avast for Android and iOS. The set of available features is slightly different for various OSs, however, the essential virus protection is guaranteed by all versions.
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. Using its free version will help you to resolve more than one task. First and foremost, this is a timely detection of threats and prevention of virus infections. It may be interesting for you know that Avast software support the machine learning technology, so its efficiency will only grow over time.
Another feature of Avast that helps to provide the strongest protection is a free scanning of a home Wi-Fi or a wired network. This is especially convenient for those who use multiple devices united into a single network. Avast forms the list of all accessible devices and scans every of them for possible threats. If necessary, you may click on the name of the device right in the program and see the details.
One more Avast feature is an effective detection of phishing sites. As soon as the utility identifies the fact of the phishing, it stops loading the page and shows a warning of a potential threat. In most cases, it also identifies the type of the infection. Independent researchers have proved the accuracy and effectiveness of the feature.
A free passwords manager is available in Avast for Windows as well Avast for Mac. It works in the following way: you set a password for the manager itself only once and activate the app. After that, it automatically saves in its memory all logins and passwords that you use to visit “good” trusted sites. As a result, you don’t need to log in manually next time when you visit the same site. Moreover, the program checks the reliability of newly created passwords and helps to generate strong hack-resistant variants. Finally, it provides a seamless synchronization of your devices.
Useful free add-ins of Avast include Avast security plug-in for browsers. It automatically detects safe and dubious or unsafe sites in the list of search results. Also, it informs you of all detected attempts of tracking. For the owners of mobile devices, Avast mobile security feature is available. It helps to set secured connections, protects from viruses during web-surfing and even provides an opportunity of undesired phone calls blocking. For more details, read the Avast mobile security review.
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 web-sites, but on the official site you’ll find all the latest Avast products, including Avast for Mac, Avast SecureLine and others in one place.
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.
The particular set of features depends on the chosen package. The most basic one is the entry-level free antivirus. It offers an antivirus utility and some add-ons, including a secure browser and a password manager.
In the Avast Online Security review you’ll find detailed information about the Internet Security package features. On the top of the basic features, it offers the option of an automatic research of outdated apps and their updating, as well as a firewall. From the Avast Premier review you can learn about the opportunities offered by the most advanced option. The Premier version provides the maximum possible protection. Avast for mobiles has a slightly limited functionality. Check the Avast Android Review for details. Finally, the Avast Pro antivirus review contains information about the professional product for commercial use.
Support and Customer Service
As of today, Avast community is really large, and the need for a professional customer service is undisputable. If you have any questions regarding your Avast login, purchases, product range and so on, you can get in touch with the support service via e-mail. Unfortunately, they don’t offer phone consulting.
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 as well as 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.