Did you know that there is a range of free antivirus programs available? You may think that these antivirus software programs only offer basic protection, and are not worth it. However, there are some excellent options that offer fantastic protection for your devices. One of the best-known of these is AVAST antivirus.
In this AVAST review, we see what both the free and premium packages have to offer, so you can see if this antivirus would be suitable for your home protection.
In this review…
- AVAST Review Summary
- AVAST Pros & Cons
- What can you expect from AVAST antivirus?
- Is AVAST a good choice of antivirus?
AVAST Review summary
AVAST Antivirus Free is widely considered the best free antivirus software available. It’s easy to see why. For the huge sum of nothing, you get access to a comprehensive antivirus package. Your device is fully protected from things like malware and phishing, and it is capable of comprehensive system scans, and browser protection.
The control panel is modern and easy to use – anyone without much computer knowledge could set this free antivirus up. Also, it has a reliable set of test results for the robustness and effectiveness of its security features. This should put your mind at rest for those who think free antivirus will leave your device vulnerable.
However, AVAST antivirus is not without its flaws. Firstly, the premium version doesn’t really add too many new features. This begs the question, is it worth the price? Many would think not when the free version of AVAST is so comprehensive. Secondly, this is not the fastest of antivirus programs.
Scans can be sluggish, and the program can take a while to boot up initially. Finally, the accessibility of their customer support definitely needs improvement. Free customers have little to no support, and premium customers only have access to a live chat.
AVAST Pros & Cons
What can you expect from AVAST Antivirus?
To give you a comprehensive AVAST review, we have split it into important sections. This includes pricing, performance, features, and usability, for example. Please note this review is primarily based on the free version of AVAST Antivirus.
As mentioned, AVAST has both free and paid antivirus software. In this AVAST review, we will concentrate on the free version, but we will still discuss the pricing of the premium version too. The following are the basic price packages of AVAST:
- AVAST Premium Security: $34.99 per year for 1 device.
- AVAST Premium Security: $39.99 per year for 10 devices.
The free package is really good, and it does not skimp on features either. For nothing, you get basic antivirus protection, a network scanner, and even browser protection. The premium security package is available for PC, Mac, Android, and Apple devices and has unique features for each type of device.
In terms of pricing, the premium version is OK – it’s a little more expensive than some other providers like ESET, but not overly expensive. Also, the jump from 1 device to up to 10 devices is virtually nothing – just a $5.00 increase for 9 more devices. If you were to use the premium version, you may as well pay that extra to protect all your devices.
Now that you can see the different pricing options, what can you expect from AVAST? The free version of AVAST is comprehensive and doesn’t really miss out on any features. At its core, it has a full set of basic antivirus protection. It also has a useful array of other security features. These are listed below, together with the additional features you get from a premium subscription.
AVAST Antivirus Free
- Basic antivirus protection.
- Comprehensive virus scans.
- Malware protection.
- Wi-Fi inspector.
- Email security.
- Network security inspector.
- Browser protection.
- Ransomware protection.
AVAST Antivirus Premium
- All of the above.
- Real-time security alerts for Wi-Fi.
- Ransomware shield.
As you can see, the premium version adds a few extra features. You would need to consider if these are things you would benefit from, or if the free version is all you need.
Basic Antivirus Protection
For basic antivirus protection, AVAST performs really well. It essentially has everything you need to protect your device. This includes a basic firewall, malware protection, ransomware protection, and phishing protection. It does not have a VPN, however, which is something to consider.
The various aspects of its protection all perform well and have consistent test scores. AV-Comparatives which is a well-known independent test lab has a range of results that you can check out for AVAST. For example, in its recent malware test, AVAST scores a maximum of 3 stars in March 2021. It also has 3 stars in its most recent performance test and is classed as a top-rated bronze antivirus provider.
Basically, you should have no reservations about the basic protection AVAST Antivirus free provides. It has everything you need to protect your device from external threats.
Usability / Control Panel
Next, we must look at the usability of AVAST antivirus. Ideally, an antivirus program should be accessible, and easy to understand for those with minimal computer knowledge. This is what AVAST’s interface provides.
The main antivirus control panel has a large open area that shows clearly if your device is protected. We like this form of simple recognition – it lets customers immediately know if there is an issue. On the left-hand side, you have different menu options including protection, privacy, and performance. Generally, it’s an easy-to-use antivirus program with clear functions and features.
The only downside here is that AVAST includes many upsell adverts and prompts. This is to be expected and promotional material is widely used in free antivirus software. It doesn’t make it any less annoying, however.
In terms of performance, AVAST is not the best, but it is not terrible either. When you initially start your device, the antivirus program will take a little while to boot and it can be sluggish to start.
However, the installation process is straightforward and shouldn’t take much time. During the installation, you are also given the option to install the browser protection too. This is a decent piece of security and it is available to use if you browse the web often.
What about scans? It is relatively easy to start a scan and after the installation, the program will perform an initial full device scan. This first scan will take longer than normal, but this is expected.
You can also choose a range of different system scans when using AVAST. For example, there is a smart scan. This is the quickest scan available and doesn’t affect performance too much. There are other full-system and boot scans that take much longer – some can take up to 2-hours, for example. Also, these will have a greater effect on your device’s performance.
Whilst the overall system impact isn’t terrible, AVAST certainly puts more strain on your device than other antivirus competitors.
When using antivirus software, you want the assurance that you can contact someone if you have issues. Historically, free antivirus software customer support is not as robust when compared to premium packages. This is understandable as the free companies will generally have fewer resources and capital available for round-the-clock customer support.
Unfortunately, customer support for their free package is not great. You essentially have access to their knowledge base and forum and have to find answers to your problems yourself. This is to be expected, but it’s still not great. As far as we can see, customers of the free antivirus program do not have access to a live chat.
Even customer support for the premium version is not straightforward. You have to go through a series of steps and questions just to access the live chat or email. Whilst most other areas of AVAST antivirus are great, customer services certainly need improvement.
Is AVAST Antivirus Worth it?
So is this antivirus provider worth it? Let’s look at this from two angles – AVAST Antivirus Free, and premium versions. Firstly, the premium version. For the additional features you get, we do not feel this is worth it. There are simply better options available that offer more comprehensive features, such as Norton. Also, for the additional features, the price jump from free to $34.99 isn’t really worth it.
HOWEVER. If you are looking for a free antivirus solution, AVAST Antivirus free is certainly worth it! It remains one of the best free antivirus software available. For the cost of nothing, you get access to a robust set of protective tools. The software is also easy to use, and it has some useful features like browser protection and Wi-Fi scanning. The customer support may not be fantastic, and it may drain system resources somewhat. However, AVAST Antivirus free is definitely one of the best free options available for home usage.