ESET antivirus is one of the oldest and, consequently, one of the most recognized antivirus products in the market. The company has been around since the early 1990s, and its spotless reputation is beyond question.
ESET is one of few antivirus software suppliers, providing inexpensive and at the same time reliable products that are incredibly easy to use. Its award-winning solutions are on a par with the software of recognized industry’s leaders. However, it still has some downsides that don’t let it make a leap forward and outstrip its rivals. Read our ESET antivirus review for details.
- Compatibility with all Windows versions – Vista through Windows10.
- A special package for Mac, Linux, and Android available.
- High-quality protection from malware, viruses, spyware, and ransomware.
- A built-in e-mail scanning feature.
- An automatic real-time scanning.
- Phishing protection.
- An AMSI protection module for quick detection of unwanted JS code.
- A medium system impact.
- Availability of premium packages for advanced protection.
|Money back Guarantee|
|Manual Virus Scanning|
|USB Virus Scan|
|Registry Startup Scan|
|Auto Virus Scanning|
|Easy of use||4/5|
- Reliable protection for active Internet users thanks to automatic social media and e-mails scanning along with protection from fraudulent/malicious/phishing sites.
- Gamers, as thanks to the gaming mode you will get fewer notifications and interruptions from the system.
- People in search of a single affordable antivirus solution for multiple platforms.
Pros and Cons
When it comes to a comprehensive unbiased estimation of ESET software, there’s no denying that it has numerous advantages.
Reliability and Security
The ESET’s engine that detects malicious software has three levels of protection. The first step is to check if a file is registered as a virus in a database. Then, antivirus checks the code looking for suspicious parts and monitors the behavior of the file. It helps the system to detect and record the details if the inspected software is malicious.
If the file is recognized as merely potentially threatful, the system sends it to ESET’s LiveGrid cloud lab so that specialists can examine it more precisely. If the software is an unknown virus, the lab records and includes it into the next update of the database.
At the same time, according to the results of several tests made by a well-known AV-TEST company, ESET’s performance is unstable. For example, in September 2017, it managed to detect 100% of brand-new (zero-day) threats, but in the next month, it scored only 99.1%. As for detecting known types of viruses, ESET’s performance is almost flawless and ranges from 99.7% to 99.9%.
Another independent auditor – AV Comparatives – registered lower results: from 98.4% to 99.7% of malware detection online with occasional false positives. And still, it awarded ESET with the ADVANCED rating, which proves its high effectiveness in threats detection.
Testing labs have very differing opinions about ESET. Naturally, every lab has its own criteria and ways of testing. But they all share one thought – this antivirus is neither the best nor the worst. It stands somewhere in the middle of the range. Although, we should note that all labs test ESET in its default specification, while you can get advanced features in various packages. Webcam protection, online payments protection, improved protection of the home network, a personal firewall, and some others would definitely add an extra layer of security.
Offering valuable features like anti-theft, ESET lacks some necessary functionality. For example, many competitors add a VPN and some backup software in premium packages, but ESET doesn’t. Its parental control allows to block specific categories of sites, but there is no age filter. With an encryption tool provided with Smart Security Premium package, you can encrypt files with AES 256-bit key, but there is no file shredder. Nonetheless, this antivirus is great for general Internet users.
ESET slows down a computer a bit more than some other antiviruses. But we have to say that a lot of ESET’s competitors have a more significant impact on performance. The first scan took 31 min 13 sec – the software checked 236,710 files. It is a quite good speed. The third scan took only 9:14 since the antivirus learned which data it could ignore.
There is no quick scan feature, but you can download Online Scanner from ESET. It does not depend on the main software program; hence we wouldn’t expect much of it.
ESET shows great scores of 99.7-99.9% if it has to deal with well-known malware. The performance against unknown malware varies a lot from 99.1% to the perfect 100% depending on the period of testing. Overall, the defense is good. But ESET’s competitors performed better during such tests.
Paid packages provide users with ransomware defense. The software has a ransomware shield that would ask the user if they allow the encryption process to begin. But it doesn’t allow to check social media and online storages.
All paid products of ESET have the anti-phishing feature that monitors applications and websites and tells the user if there is a potential threat.
Ease of Use
An undeniable advantage of ESET is the ease of its use. As soon as you purchased the needed version of ESET, download and install it on your PC. The interface of the program is very simple, even intuitive, so it’s almost impossible to make a mistake. It seems that its classic white and green color scheme hasn’t changed in years.
The installation and setup process takes almost no efforts and time. So you will have no struggle with this step.
The interface has a clean, bright look and greets users with ESET’s robot mascot and “You are protected” sign. Categories are placed on the left, and you can start a Computer scan by just clicking on the matching category. Just pick what you would like to scan – memory, boot sector, external or internal drive – and you are set to go.
The Update section will tell you about the current versions of databases and scanning engines. Under Tools, you will find all ESET’s tools – simple and convenient. Here in the right lower corner, you can see the More Tools button that looks like a link. It is simple to overlook. But you should check additional features.
As we have already mentioned, there are four options of what you can scan:
- internal drive;
- external drive;
- boot sector.
There is no quick scan option, which is fairly bad. But you can download an additional Online Scanner. Although, it might scan longer than the initial software that has already learned your device.
There are three versions of ESET antivirus available for Windows devices. Technically, They use one and the same modules for fighting malware, but the set of the features included is different.
ESET NOD32 is a basic version with an entry-level set of features. In particular, ESET online protection module includes an exploit and ransomware blocker, an anti-phishing tool, a UEFI scanner, and protects from script-based attacks.
ESET Internet Security. On top of the basic feature set, this pack offers a personal firewall and a range of special tools for stronger online protection: antispam, online payments protection, botnet protection, and webcam protection. You may also benefit from the Anti-Theft feature that will help you to find the lost device, and users with kids will appreciate the parental control.
ESET Smart Security Premium essentially is an upgraded Internet Security version with some extras, such as a password manager and a possibility of data encryption. If you purchase a multi-device license (there are currently great offers for 5 and 10 devices), you can have your Mac and Android devices covered as well. Note though, that the set of features available for platforms other than Windows will be different, and will correspond to the top tier ESET offer for the respective device. To make it cleat, let us switch to ESET packages for Mac and Android.
Mac users have only two packages to choose from. The top tier ESET Cyber Security Pro provides users with advanced internet security with a personal firewall and parental control. The entry-level ESET Cyber Security package offers only protection against phishing, viruses and other malware, and is similar to Nod32 Windows package both in terms of functionality and price.
ESET Mobile Security package is intended for Android-running devices. The basic antivirus for Android is available for free, and it comes with a reliable scanner as well as some really convenient features, such as a remote lock, GPS Localization, and a remote siren. A premium version adds up a bunch of useful features such as call filter, low battery alert, camera snapshots, location tracking, and anti-theft protection.
Now, with ESET Smart Security Premium multiple devices license you can use, say, 1 license on Windows PC enjoying all the advanced features the package offers, 1 license on Mac with ESET Cyber Security Pro features and 2 on Android devices having all the benefits the premium ESET Mobile package brings. And, it will cost you less than buying separate licenses for every device.
|1 Device||2 Devices||3 Devices||5 Devices||10 Devices|
|ESET NOD32 Antivirus||$39.99||$49.99||$59.99||Not available||Not available|
|ESET Internet Security||$49.99||Not available||$69.99||$89.99||Not available|
|ESET Smart Security Premium||$59.99||Not available||$99.99||Not available||$149.99|
|ESET Cyber Security||$39.99||$49.99||$59.99||$79.99||Not available|
|ESET Cyber Security Pro||$49.99||$59.99||$69.99||$89.99||$139.99|
|ESET Mobile Security||$14.99||$29.98||$44.97||$74.95||Not available|
Please mind that Windows packages for multiple devices come with a discount, while Mac and Android packages don’t which make them more expensive.
Support and Customer Service
Taking into account more than 30 years of the company’s history, one can easily assume that the ESET community is just huge. However, to many customers’ surprise, ESET doesn’t offer a 24/7 phone support. Instead, they have a good FAQ question, and if you haven’t found an answer in it, you can call them from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on business days. Also, an e-mail support is available.
Is ESET Any Good?
In the framework of our ESET review, we’ve covered the main features of this antivirus software, its advantages, and disadvantages. Many experts describe ESET products as “good but not great”. Yes, in some parameters it really lags behind its major rivals. However, ESET has a good potential, and for most people with basic security requirements, it can become a great option. Though some false positives have been recorded during tests, and some ingenious virus threats have been missed, their share is too small to impact the overall experience of most regular Internet users. On the top of all this, ESET antivirus is lightweight and extremely easy to use. Still, if all this is not enough to make your mind, you can always compare ESET with its top competitors by reading more reviews, and in the end, make a truly informed decision.