- Great level of customization
- Smooth scans on quick and in-depth analysis
- Plenty of features for extended protection
- Suitable for all kinds of users
- One-month free trial
- Some restricted features
- Windows exclusive
Among the many great corporations in the world of online security, Avast Software is one that truly shines bright. The Czech company has built up a reputation for developing some of the most reliable tools across a variety of purposes, all the while focusing on three main areas: protection, privacy, and performance. In fact, these three pillars are so important for the company that the desktop client of Avast Internet Security is built accordingly, putting the user in charge of every decision while protecting their Windows devices from every type of digital menace. More than just enabling its customers with deep customization for a better experience, the program also brings some additional tools and lets everyone get a taste of other Avast software, such as the SecureLine VPN and the handy Cleanup Premium registry cleaner. And, best of all, the company’s free trial lasts for a whole month.
The experience with Avast Internet Security begins at the installation process, where the company clearly shows its openness to user customization by giving the choice of which components to install. This is good not only for ditching superfluous tools that have no interest to the user, but is also useful for saving some space as the program requires at least 1GB RAM and 2GB hard drive space.
There’s an insane range of personalization within the software itself, too. From simple scan scheduling to changes that impact the overall behavior of Avast Internet Security, everything can be altered by the user to meet their requirements. Among its vast selection of features, the suite includes a firewall, antispam filters, and protection against menaces such as ransomware, spyware, phishing, and much more. There’s an expansive number of combinations between them all. For instance, users can adjust the sensitivity of the different core shields to scan for only a certain file or component or lessen the shields yet cover a greater area in a simpler routine check.
The main focus of Avast Internet Security is its antivirus protection and here, too, there’s more than meets the eye. The good thing for inexperienced users is that they can comfortably rely on preselected scan types and run them easily with just a click of a button. But the true essence of the program is that it invites every user to make the software suit their own needs.
The quick scan is available right off the bat as soon as Avast Internet Security is launched. The interface displays a progress circle that shows the different areas that are being scanned, and in our tests it took only two and a half minutes for the results to come up. And on top of that, the impact of the scan on the computer was insignificant.
Impressively, things are just as smooth with the full scan, too. Without altering any of the scanning patterns, this scan obviously takes much more time to complete – for us it took nearly two hours – but the software ran perfectly fine in the background without a single performance drop even when performing multiple other tasks.
Avast Internet Security also boasts a nice feature that runs at startup, analyzing places that are usually left out of scans. This means that it checks for hidden threats immediately when Windows launches, though it can take some time.
It’s pretty common for security suites to bring some additional tools and features, and Avast Internet Security surely isn’t an exception. But, in this case, this is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand there are some interesting extra features, such as the ability to lock certain files or even sections of the suite with a password or protection against ransomware, which prevents data from being copied. But one of the most curious is called sandbox, a simple and clever concept that allows anyone to execute a program within a safe environment, separated from the rest of the computer. Users can use this virtual sandbox to test EXE files and, should they be infected, Avast will detect the menace and take care of it while ensuring the rest of the computer is unaffected by the potentially devastating effects of the virus. Unfortunately, this feature still needs some work since it bugs out after the first use and requires a computer restart to resolve and use again.
But on the other hand, it’s a bit gloomy that some of the better extra tools are only a tease for the customer to purchase more Avast programs. It’s understandable that a company wants their clients to invest more and in better alternatives – especially considering there’s a higher-tier product available above Internet Security – but it’s frustrating that registry issues found during scans can only be resolved by subscribing either to Avast Cleanup Premium or one of the most complete suites.
Likewise, it was great finding Avast SecureLine VPN is fully integrated into Internet Security, but an even greater disappointment to see that this also required a separated subscription. Fortunately, both tools offer an extensible free trial for up to two months, though after that a payment is due.
These are only the two most useful tools. Webcam Shield and Data Shredder, for instance, also have their own space within Avast Internet Security yet require an upgrade to be used. Sadly, this weakens that good first impression with the suite regarding its flexible installation options, since it is not clear at this point what is available as part of the package and what is not. Why should the user able to choose to install a tool to begin with if it is not truly available without further payment?
Avast Internet Security focuses mostly on computers, with Windows being the only supported operating system. Users must be using at least Windows 7 and have a system with access to 1GB of memory and 2GB of storage space to be able to install and run the service. The number of computers that can be protected by the service depends on the purchased license, varying between a minimum of one and a maximum of ten. However, Avast has also developed a similar tool for Android mobile devices running version 4.1 and newer.
With Avast products there are no lack of pricing options. For Avast Internet Security, users can choose an annual, two-year, or three-year plans, each of which are available for one, three, five, or ten computers. This means the prices between these combinations can shift quite a lot. The minimum price is $59.99, corresponding to one year of service for a single computer. Subscribing for three years with ten computers represents the most expensive at a charge of $499.99. Looking at this in equivalent monthly payments, then the first option costs $4.99 every month for a single computer, while a three-year subscription for ten computers brings the price down to $1.38 per PC per month.
Given the extensive range of features, even the simplest subscription is priced pretty decently, but it’s important not to forget that certain tools such as the VPN and the registry cleaner will need separate subscriptions after their respective free trials.
Speaking of which, Avast Internet Security itself also comes with a one-month free trial. All purchases include a 30-day money-back guarantee and payment methods include credit cards, PayPal, and more.
The customer service of Avast is carried out on different contact channels, but before resorting to them is always advisable to give the FAQ and troubleshooting pages a try. These are elaborated well and provide more help than is usual, from answering the most basic questions to providing step-by-step guides on how to work with the suite or solve a problem.
However, if further assistance is required then users can make use of a ticket submission platform available on the official website or contact support via live chat or phone. Additionally, there’s a community forum and Avast is also present on a handful of social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, and others, where posts are frequent and customer messages are replied to.
In terms of performance and user interaction, Avast Internet Security is a true charm. Even though the most inexperienced users won’t need to alter any of the settings to benefit from both light and extensive protection, the software invites them to do so to tailor the service to their needs. This is done by its extraordinary number of customizable functions with adequate explanations on how they each act and how they’re best used, which further helps even the most experienced and demanding customers to take control of the service.
As part of the company’s available packages, Avast Internet Security stands between its antivirus and the most complete suite. Even though the inaccessible built-in tools sometimes make this seem a ‘bridge’ suite between the two, it’s also a valid and cheaper alternative that provides greater protection than a simple antivirus. Thankfully, the free trial is long and has no restrictions, giving users enough time and reasons to invest in a paid subscription.
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