Expert Review By: Lindsey Kennedy
Panda Antivirus has long been a top performer when it comes to malware and malicious URL blocking. But new Pro features like its remotely-managed mobile security for Android have really raised the game.
● Rock-solid protection against malware.
● Best-in-class performance in threat detection tests.
● Great features for Android users.
● Android security and anti-theft protection.
● Excellent malware detection.
● Scores top marks for malicious website-blocking.
● USB vaccination.
● Great options for technical support.
● Fewer options for Apple product users.
● Underwhelming anti-phishing performance.
● Firewall controls lack flexibility.
Panda’s paid antivirus comes in four packages: Antivirus Pro (which starts at $27.49 per device per year), Internet Security ($32.99), Global Protection ($43.99) and Gold Protection ($69.99). As you would expect, these staggered prices provide different features to match.
But let’s start with what they all offer.
First up, there’s your standard antivirus security features for Windows devices: protection from threats like malware, viruses and malicious websites, plus USB scanning. What’s more, you get WiFi protection to block intruders and tools for tracking lost or stolen iPhones.
But the real star of the show – what sets Panda apart from its competitors – is its innovative approach to Android mobile security.
On top of antivirus scans, performance-boosting tools and remote locate / lock / wipe features for managing your device, Panda also offers great ways to prevent against physical theft.
For example, if someone enters your passcode incorrectly three times, it will email you a photo of the attempted intruder. And, if you have to leave your phone unattended for a short time, you can turn on a feature that sets off a persistent alarm if anyone tries to move it without putting in the passcode first!
That’s what features all the packages offer. So why would you opt for the more expensive options?
Well, for starters, antivirus for Mac is only available on the three higher tiers, as are features like parental control, data shield and file backup and recovery.
Global and Gold protection go a step further, offering password management, file encryption and “shredding” tools that will delete a document permanently. With Gold, you also get 20GB of cloud storage, synced across your devices
Panda installation is mega easy and all paid-for packages come with an intuitive and well-designed interface that makes usability a breeze.
You can drag and drop the most important features onto your main page, and have plenty of flexibility and control over features like blocking apps and programs you don’t trust or recognize.
So that’s what it says on the tin, but how well does it actually do the job?
Well, all versions of Panda Antivirus perform very, very well in independent lab tests when it comes to core functions like detecting viruses and blocking malware and malicious websites.
But while it outstrips competitors on malware protection, Panda is decidedly middle-of-the-road when it comes to anti-phishing scams and fraud detection. And its personal firewall protection, while technically sound, doesn’t offer as much user control as many would like.
More annoyingly, although its Android mobile security offering works like a dream, if you’re on a Mac or iPhone, you just won’t get quite the same perks (at least for the time being) while using Panda. For now at least, many of the benefits are Windows and Android-centric.
All Panda Pro’s subscription packages offer pretty comprehensive technical support across email, phone, web chat and site forums. However, if you want premium level, 24-hour support that includes remote access by technicians, you’ll need to stump up for Gold Protection.
Panda’s great. But is it worth the price tag? After all, the free version of its antivirus solution consistently rates among the best on the market, with an impressive range of high-performing features. So why bite the bullet and splash the cash on a Pro subscription?
First, there’s the convenience issue. Scan times are faster, while the dashboard is vastly easier to use. Then, there’s effectiveness: Pro versions offer personal firewalls and are better at detecting new malware and other threats than the more stripped-back, free alternative. And, of course, if you’re a business or you simply need a full-package, multi-device option with file sync, store and backup, you will need to go Pro.
But ultimately, Panda’s USP is its range of cool Android anti-theft protection and security features – and these are more than worth the yearly subscription fee.
Last Updated: March 2016