Avast! 4.8 Professional Edition
While Avast may not be especially thorough, it is fast
- Fast file scanning
- Aggravating interface, so-so malware detection
Avast Professional Edition's inconsistent malware detection and frustrating interface make it a less-than-ideal choice for protecting your PC.
Price$ 63.97 (AUD)
Though Alwil Avast Professional Edition ($63.97 for a one-year, single-PC licence) has a speedy scan rate, that wasn't enough to offset its unimpressive protection from malware infections and its truly annoying interface. (A new version is coming early next year--see the end of this review.)
Avast's ability to block Trojans, worms, and other baddies in AV-Test.org's huge "zoo" of collected malware wasn't bad--its detection rate stands at 97.8 percent--and the program proved particularly adept at blocking worms with a 99.5 percent block rate. But most of the other programs outperformed it; Avast was only good enough for eighth place in signature-based malware detection.
In heuristic tests using two-week old signature files to simulate detection of newer malware, Avast was genuinely bad: A sad showing of 38.5 percent puts the program from Czech Republic-based Alwil firmly in last place among tested products. And it was unable to stop completely new and unknown malware based solely on how these invaders behaved (neither could a few other apps). Considering the short lifespan of the typical piece of malware and how quickly modern malware evolves, being able to detect these digital interlopers before a full signature is issued is more important than ever.
While Avast may not be especially thorough, it is fast. It performed automatic "on-access" scans (scans that happen when you open, save, or download a file, for instance) at a rate of 14.8MBps (megabytes per second); only Avira's AntiVir could match this scan rate. And when faced with existing infections, it proved able to get rid of all active components. However, it left many less-important system changes and malware files still in place.
Avast's performance results had ups and downs, but its interface was just a downer. As with its free program, Alwil's paid Avast Professional edition splits the interface into two entirely different sections: one for settings and one for scans. Double-clicking the system tray icon brings up a so-called "resident protection window" with settings for eight different "shields," such as the Web shield or Internet mail shield. The settings and status interface is relatively straightforward, but it lacks any context-sensitive help to take you straight to the relevant documentation for what you're looking at, forcing users to search for what they need.
Running a scan involves right-clicking the system tray icon and choosing "Start Avast! Antivirus," instead of the aforementioned settings pages. The resulting new interface mimics a music player and is entirely different than the settings window. It's telling that Avast feels it necessary to pop up a page of instructions on how to start a scan every time you open the scanning interface. The Pro version adds an enhanced interface you can use instead of this clunky player panel, but while it's somewhat less annoying, it's not a huge improvement.
It gets worse. When you do figure out how to run a scan, Avast will pop up a warning for every potential baddie it finds, requiring you to tell it what to do. And you might be forgiven for not realizing that clicking the "Continue" option will cause Avast to ignore the discovered malware and leave it in place.
Alwil says that a new version of Avast due early next year revamps both the interface and the antivirus engine. We look forward to those upgrades, but in the meantime, you're better off checking out the competition.
Join the newsletter!
Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei FreeBuds review: Solid as a value-add, less so standalone
- 2 Oppo Find X review: Damn.
- 3 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 4 HAVIT G1W True Wireless Earbuds review: Budget buds with a wireless edge
- 5 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
Latest News Articles
- ICT Architects Still Command the Highest Advertised Salaries on SEEK
- Windows 10 S laptops won't let you switch from Edge or Bing
- Gboard 6.1 beta refines voice input, GIF search
- Google app beta indicates Goggles-like Visual Search may be on the horizon
- Google makes it easier to summon Assistant in Allo, adds in-app GIF searching
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic FZ1000U OLED TV: Full, in-depth, review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?