Avira Antivirus Pro review: Obnoxious and annoying

This antivirus tool does the job, but it’s expensive – and the in-app advertising really sticks in the throat

A screenshot of the Avira Antivirus Pro dashboard
Price
£25 exc VAT (1yr, 1 device)
  • Robust protection scores
  • Most additional features are paid extras
  • Other security suites offer better protection
  • Installs separate Avira apps without asking

Avira Antivirus Pro makes a great first impression. The console opens with a swish graphic promising not only to look after your security, but to protect your privacy and boost system performance as well.

And, on the first count, it delivers. The raw rankings aren’t kind to Avira, placing it behind most other security suites we’ve seen recently – but that still represents an overall protection rating of 99.8%, including perfect 100% scores against AV-Test’s set of malware samples for February 2021. A score of two false positives isn’t bad, either: we’d have no hesitation in trusting it for everyday security.

Sadly, the privacy side of things is much less comprehensive. It’s initially exciting to see that the suite includes Avira’s Phantom VPN, but the service is limited to 1GB of data transfer per month, and doesn’t allow you to choose your own location, making it no better than any number of free alternatives. Upgrading to the full, unlimited version will set you back an additional £52 a year.

It’s a similar situation with the password manager. The version bundled with this suite can save unlimited passwords and works on multiple devices, but again it’s just the free edition. There’s also a Privacy settings module, which helpfully brings together a range of Windows options, but at the end of the day these are all tweaks that you can apply yourself. 

That just leaves the Performance tab, and this is where Avira really drops the ball. From here you can clear out junk files and update any ageing device drivers, but clicking on almost any other function fires up a separate app called Avira System Speedup. This may initially come as a surprise because the installer doesn’t ask your permission to install this additional application. Irritation quickly follows, as it becomes apparent that to fully activate the features promised within the main Antivirus package, you need to buy a licence for System Speedup Pro, costing £22 a year.

In a free product, we might grit our teeth and overlook this type of deceptive presentation. But in a commercial suite costing £30 a year it’s downright obnoxious. We recommend that you opt for one of the several security solutions out there that are faster, provide better malware protection and treat the user a bit more respectfully.

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