Avira Premium Security Suite 9 review

24 Apr 2009

A comprehensive, competent and configurable suite. We're very impressed.

Price when reviewed: 
23(£27 inc VAT) for 1 PC, 1yrmore
5

Avira Premium Security Suite earned its place atop our A List thanks to its excellent all-round protection - plus some nice additions including parental web controls and a local backup client. Version 9 adds a few new features without, thankfully, spoiling the overall formula.

The most significant change is enhanced web protection. Historically, Avira has already proved a very strong performer against web-based threats, coming second only to AVG in our last Labs. Now, as an extra layer of protection, it can intercept invisible or otherwise suspicious iframes even before they start serving dodgy files.

Those who run their own mail servers will also appreciate the fact that the mail module can now scan POP traffic on any number of custom ports, rather than just the default.

The rest of the changes are mostly minor usability points: icons gain tooltips, the scanning process has been streamlined and the interface has been compacted to fit better on small screens.

That last update is particularly smart, because Avira's low system requirements are well suited to netbooks. Installing it on our Vista PC added just 75MB to our total system footprint, and a very reasonable six seconds to boot time. That's very light by security suite standards.

And detection is excellent. In this month's test, Avira detected 93% of our malware with default settings, which rose to 97% when we enabled detection of "privacy risks" as well as harmful code. We did hit one slight concern, though: the program steadfastly refused to warn us about two commercial spy applications, Email Spy and MING keylogger, even when we installed and ran them right under its nose.

Another foible of Avira is that, even in this new version, the interface is a little wayward: it relies too much on unlabelled icons, and the front-end is divided confusingly into a front panel (pictured) and a separate configuration window. The firewall is, by default, quite talkative too. Still, if you know what you're doing it's easier to set it precisely to your liking than Norton 360.

And that's the big difference: while Norton is designed for non-technical types, Avira expects you'll want to tweak your firewall rules, set up complex scanning preferences and even manage modules via WMI. Clearly, then, it's not for everyone.

But if you want the most powerful and versatile protection, Avira Premium Security Suite 9.0 only builds on its predecessor's many strengths - while the price remains just as appealing. In all, it's a convincing defence of Avira's A-List crown.

Details

Price ex VAT £20
Price inc VAT £23
Overall rating 6
Ease of Use rating 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 6
Software subcategory Internet security

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? no
Operating system Mac OS X supported? no