Bitdefender Review: More Features for Less | Tom’s Guide
Read on for a quick summary of each review of the best free antivirus software. In addition to its proven malware protection and excellent phishing protection, Avast packs in a basic password manager, a secure web browser, and more. Need a second opinion? The interface shows the same six icons as in the paid Kaspersky Internet Security, but only Scan and Database Update are available to free users.
Bitdefender 2020 Review: More Features for Less
Bitdefender Bitdefender’s lineup has it all, from a basic free version to a super-premium package that includes unlimited VPN service and priority tech support. Even the cheapest paid Bitdefender program has a hardened browser, ransomware protection and easy customization. The Bitdefender malware engine scanned our computer in record time without slowing down the system much.
With five versions and several unlimited plans, Bitdefender offers lots of choices for every Windows user. Best Windows Antivirus Software The downside is that Bitdefender’s malware protection is still very good, but is not as flawless as it once was.
Kaspersky , Norton and, arguably, even Microsoft offer better defenses. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, with its wide range of features, makes the list of best antivirus software as our top choice among entry-level paid programs. Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security are our picks as the best midrange and top-tier programs. Bitdefender costs and what’s covered Bitdefender’s Windows protection lineup now has five versions. At the bottom is Bitdefender Antivirus Free , which provides basic malware detection and eradication along with phishing and fraud protection.
Bitdefender Image credit: Bitdefender The entry-level Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is full-featured for its price range and includes an unlimited password manager, a Wi-Fi network scanner, a file shredder, a hardened web browser and Bitdefender’s new Anti-Tracker web-privacy feature. Bitdefender firewall Image credit: Bitdefender Bitdefender Internet Security is also exclusively for Windows, but it adds parental controls, file encryption, a two-way firewall, anti-spam screening and webcam and microphone protection.
Bitdefender Total Security adds antivirus software for Macs and Android devices , plus Bitdefender’s website-screening and phone-tracking app for iPhones and iPads. That’s not a bad price for a VPN service , but you can’t get it as a stand-alone. All these prices are often heavily discounted online, so shop around. Bitdefender software works with Windows 7 with SP1 , 8. Multiplatform licenses support macOS Antivirus protection Bitdefender’s malware detection starts with a scanner that hunts for known threats, supplemented by a heuristic monitor that looks for behavioral signs of an infection.
Potential new dangerous threats get uploaded to Bitdefender’s servers for a fix. Malware-definition updates are sent several times a day to million systems running Bitdefender software. If having items collected from your computer seems a little creepy, you can opt out.
You’ll still get all the security updates. Bitdefender Antivirus Image credit: Bitdefender Bitdefender’s Safe Files feature puts key items in a folder that can’t be changed or deleted, and its Ransomware Remediation saves copies of files that are being encrypted so they can be automatically recovered. Just about every aspect of Bitdefender’s paid programs can be turned on, off or adjusted in the Settings section. Each program has both a Game- and a Movie-mode for fewer interruptions.
For malware that won’t go away, you can boot into Bitdefender’s rescue environment, which restarts the system from a hidden disk sector and thoroughly scans the Windows partition.
Most antivirus vendors, including Bitdefender, offer this as a free download to be loaded on a USB drive or burned onto an optical disk, but Bitdefender also builds it right into its programs.
Antivirus performance Each of Bitdefender’s five Windows antivirus programs uses the same malware-detection engine, which provides good, though not flawless, protection. But it fell short when it came to previously unseen “zero day” threats, stopping only This puts Bitdefender a step behind Kaspersky, Microsoft , Norton and Trend Micro , which detected all malware samples in both months.
Bitdefender Bitdefender registered three false positives, or benign software misidentified as malicious, which can lower a user’s confidence in the program. Kaspersky, Microsoft and Trend Micro had none. This isn’t to say Bitdefender’s malware protection is bad; far from it. Trend Micro fell short four times. But Kaspersky failed to do so only once, and Norton never did. Trend Micro comes closest, but it had far more false positives than Bitdefender or Kaspersky. Bitdefender has not been tested in the most recent evaluations by London-based SE Labs.
Security and privacy features All the paid Bitdefender programs include the Anti-Tracker feature, new for , that makes web browsing more private and shows you blocked items and page-load times. Bitdefender Anti-Tracker Image credit: The latter makes banking and online purchases safer by blocking browser add-ons and forcing an encrypted HTTPS data stream. It also has an on-screen keyboard to thwart a keylogging malware or devices. Parental Advisor blocks objectionable content and can limit screen time on PCs, Macs, Androids and iOS systems registered with the parent’s Bitdefender Central account.
Internet Security, Total Security and Premium Security have a two-way firewall that replaces Microsoft’s own firewall, and Total Security and Premium Security can track a lost or stolen system as long as it’s turned on.
There’s also optimization software, scanning of email attachments for threats and website screening without browser add-ons. Bitdefender Parental Controls Image credit: It warns of, but doesn’t block, bad behavior. Performance and system impact Bitdefender Total Security delivers an enviable combination of fast scans and minimal impact on system performance. To measure its impact, we used our custom benchmark test, which clocks how long a PC’s CPU takes to match 20, names and 20, addresses in an Excel spreadsheet.
Our Lenovo ThinkPad T test bed had a 2. Before loading any software, the T took an average of 8. Bitdefender full scan Image credit: Bitdefender While a Bitdefender Quick Scan ran, the benchmark completion time held steady at 9. During a full scan, the benchmark finished in 9. AV-Comparatives’ Performance Impact test, in which lower numbers translate to better performance, rated Bitdefender Total Security an 8.
Overall, Bitdefender’s scanning engine was fast and thorough. It took only 15 minutes and 1 second to comb through the entire drive on its first pass to look at 1,, files.
As it gets to know your system and what to ignore , Total Security gets even better; it ended up running a full scan that examined , files in just 2: That’s only a minute longer than Bitdefender Total Security’s 1: Other antivirus programs have faster quick-scan options, but none can churn through a system faster than Total Security.
Interface Anyone familiar with Bitdefender’s desktop interface will feel right at home with the version. It displays a green shield with a white check mark when everything is safe. The Dashboard holds the top five security tasks: There’s room to add another task of your choosing. Utilities streamline the startup, clean the hard drive and track a lost or stolen computer.
It took a minute to set Total Security to scan the system nightly. Customization options include which external drives to scan as well as scanning for PUAs, email attachments and recently changed or new files.
Installation and support Installing Bitdefender Total Security starts with the You do have to create a Bitdefender Central account, but start to finish, it took only 6 minutes to install Total Security. Bitdefender install Image credit: Bitdefender promises a response within 24 hours, and upgrading to Premium Security cuts that wait time to a few hours. Bottom line The Bitdefender antivirus lineup is one of the most complete we’ve seen, with everything from ransomware protection, file shredding and encryption to parental controls and system optimizers.
Bitdefender’s protection against online threats is very good, and the software doesn’t inordinately slow the computer and can whip through a hard drive in record time. On the other hand, Bitdefender can’t quite match Kaspersky or Norton’s faultless malware-detection rates. Because of that, we recommend Kaspersky Internet Security or Kaspersky Total Security for people seeking midrange or premium antivirus suites, respectively.
However, if you don’t need software for other platforms, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus offers unbeatable value. Be In the Know Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips. No spam, we promise. You can unsubscribe at any time and we’ll never share your details without your permission. Most Read.
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It is exceptionally easy to use. It detects when you are working, playing, or watching movies and prevents apps from popping up or slowing down your system. OneClick Optimizer frees up the hard disk space and performs registry repairs and privacy clean-up.
Avast Free Antivirus – (Editors’ Choice, PC Mag)
It’s lightweight and unobtrusive, partly because it doesn’t pack on extras like identity and privacy protection that other tools can provide, and partly because it lacks some of the automated features and support options that come with Bitdefender’s premium antivirus solutions. Pros Less is more:
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