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ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite review


A suite with some nice features, but slow startup times.

Review Date: 13 Feb 2009

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £35 (£40 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
3 stars out of 6

The previous version of ZoneAlarm's security suite disappointed us: it was affordable and fairly lightweight, but didn't excel at detecting threats. The most obvious thing that's changed in this edition is the price: it's still cheaper than many other packages, but it's no longer the £26 bargain it was.

The new version also can't claim to be as unobtrusive as the old one. ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite had a dramatic effect on system startup on our test PC, making us wait a full 21 seconds longer than any other package before the desktop appeared.

When it comes to detection, however, ZoneAlarm is remarkably consistent. In our malware test it scored 89%, placing it a solid fourth overall. And, as you'd expect from a brand that's synonymous with firewalls, ZoneAlarm protected our test PC nicely in our network attack test: machines in the "internet zone" were unable to see us at all, while those in the "trusted zone" had full connectivity.

Its least impressive performance was in the web threat test, with just 31% of bad sites intercepted. However, the suite does offer a unique amount of control over web content, with options to filter and manage web cookies, adverts and scripts.

Experienced users will also appreciate features such as the ability to disable the antivirus component, plus the trademark network activity meter in the System Tray.

But while ZoneAlarm has plenty going for it, its effect on boot times is hard to forgive, while its web content features can be had for free with Firefox plug-ins.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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