Panda Free Antivirus review: A very tempting AV option
An agreeably low-key option for those seeking a basic, free security solution that keeps out of the way
Panda Free Antivirus doesn’t bundle in a custom browser, parental controls or anything fancy like that. The focus is squarely on the important job of malware detection – and, as you would hope, it does it rather well, achieving a 99.6% protection rate in AV-Comparatives’ most recent report. That lab did find that the software also flagged up 12 false positives, which might confound less experienced users, but that’s way ahead of Windows Defender, and even beats some paid-for contenders.
A few secondary tools are included as well. The Rescue Kit lets you create a bootable flash drive for disinfecting compromised systems, while the Process Monitor works like a simple manual firewall: you can view all running processes, or only those accessing the internet, inspect their connections, view a risk rating assigned by Panda and optionally block any items you deem dodgy.
The package is rounded off by a basic VPN with servers in 23 countries, including the US, Russia and Brazil. Free users get 150MB of traffic a day – obviously this won’t get you very far on Netflix, but it might suffice if you simply need to check a secure server from time to time. If you want to move up to unlimited data, prices start at a steep £10 on a monthly contract, but then fall to a much more reasonable £2.16 a month if you sign up for three years.
One grey mark against Panda Free Antivirus is that, by default, it installs a browser plugin called Smart Shopping, which highlights online deals while you’re surfing. It’s easy to remove this – or if you’re sharp-eyed you can untick the box during the installation process – but the very idea of sneaking an extension into your browser feels inappropriate from a security provider.
The software also pops up occasional adverts to let you know what splendid value Panda’s paid-for security products are – but we’re happy to report that these can easily be silenced by unflicking a switch in the settings.
Lastly, note that Panda isn’t the fastest security tool out there, receiving a not-quite-stellar 92.2% performance rating from AV-Comparatives. Once again, though, it’s comfortably ahead of Windows Defender, so if you’re looking for a straightforward virus scanner that won’t nag you or fill your computer with unwanted bloat, Panda makes a very tempting option.
In This Article
- 1Keep yourself protected with our list of the best security suites
- 2Bitdefender Internet Security 2020 review: One of the most effective security suites around
- 3Avast Free Antivirus review: Pushy but protective
- 4Kaspersky Internet Security 2020 review: Fast, cheap and accurate
- 5Norton 360 Deluxe review: Stands out from the crowd
- 6Windows Defender review: An average default option
- 7AVG Antivirus Free review: Oddly familiar
- 8BullGuard Internet Security review: Cheap, but not necessarily good value
- 9Avira Antivirus Pro review: Too costly to justify
- 10Eset Internet Security review: Hard to recommend
- 11F-Secure SAFE review: A mediocre suite with no killer features
- 12McAfee Total Protection review: Improved, but not outstanding
- 13G Data Internet Security review: In case of emergency, avoid
- 14Panda Free Antivirus review: A very tempting AV option - currently reading
- 15Trend Micro Internet Security review: An unexpected stumble
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