- Great security features
- Low resource usage
- Built-in ad blocker
- Compatible with Chrome extensions
- Only available for Windows
- No themes
- No synchronization
Avast has one of the most popular free antiviruses in the world, and in 2018, launched a free Chromium-based web browser: Avast Secure Browser. Avast SafeZone’s successor, which was removed not long before this launch, comes with three main objectives: fast browsing, protecting personal info from malware, phishing, and other threats, and protecting your privacy. To do so, Avast Secure Browser comes with plenty of neat, built-in features that will make sure you can fearlessly surf the internet. However, that also means extensions are limited, and therefore no themes are available, which is a fair trade-off when compared to full protection online. For now, it's only fully available for Windows 8 and onwards, but there is already an early access version for macOS users.
Features & Extensions
Since Avast Secure Browser is a Chromium browser, it’s compatible with most Chrome extensions. It does come with a built-in extension block, but Avast Secure Browser always gives you decision power and will let you install any extension whose source you confirm to be trustworthy. However, extensions that will change this browser’s interface are out of the picture, which means that no themes are allowed. Nevertheless, Avast comes with a handful of features that will respond to almost all users' needs.
Avast Secure Browser comes with a built-in ad blocker, which you can find on the right side of the address tab. It comes enabled by default, but you can disable it anytime without even going into the browser's settings.
Moreover, you also get a video downloader that lets you download videos from any website you are visiting, YouTube included. Unfortunately, this setting is not as visible as the ad blocker, since you will need to click the three dots to open the menu to get to it.
If you have other Avast services installed on your computer, the number of features increases a lot. One example is the ‘bank mode', which opens a virtual computer when you visit websites where you’re dealing with important information – such as online banking. Another example is the Avast Passwords, which integrates this Avast security product into the browser.
Privacy & Security
Being that Avast is one of the leading global security products, it shines the most when it comes to privacy and security features.
Avast Secure Browser really wants to make sure you surf the internet safely, something you can see by opening the security and privacy center. Besides the ad blocker, you will see that there are various, neat features enabled by default. Some of them are not new to the game and available in other browsers such as anti-phishing, anti-tracking, and HTTPS enforcement. However, Avast goes a little further by also offering a webcam guard and a flash blocker. Surprisingly, though, the well-known Avast Antivirus does not come with the browser by default. Nevertheless, you can easily download and install it from the security and privacy center.
Sadly, Avast Secure Browser is only fully available for Windows, and while there is early access for macOS, Linux and mobile are still out of the picture which is probably why Avast still does not offer synchronization between devices.
As it’s a Chromium browser, the Avast Secure Browser interface is similar to other popular browsers such as Google Chrome and Opera. Tabs appear on the top, followed by the address bar; on the right, you can find the hack check, the ad blocker, the button that leads you to the security and privacy center, and finally, the drop-down menu. Overall, it's user-friendly and follows modern browser norms.
Since Avast blocks most extensions to make sure the browser stays secure, it does not offer much customization. When you go to the Chrome Web Store, themes do appear, but the ones we tried could not be installed. Therefore, the only thing the user can change is whether or not the home button and bookmark bar are shown in the interface or not.
Performance-wise, Avast Secure Browser did great. Not only did it open websites faster than Chrome, but it also used fewer computer resources to function.
Avast Secure Browser customer service is included in the overall Avast customer support. Although it's not great, it's what one would expect from a company that offers a vast array of services and an entirely free browser. There is no live chat, but there is a comprehensive FAQ dedicated to the browser service, and it's not hard to find it since the website is well organized. Moreover, if you can't find the answer you are looking for, you can always submit a ticket to the Avast team or visit its forum where there is a thread specifically for the Avast Secure Browser. On top of that, you can also get in touch through Avast’s social media channels, which include Facebook and Twitter.
Avast Secure Browser is indeed safe and secure to use. Although it isn't compatible with themes, something that constrains customization, almost everything you need is built in within the browser. Not only does it offer adblocking, anti-phishing, anti-tracking, and HTTPS enforcement, it goes even further by providing a webcam guard and flash blocker as well. Avast Secure Browser does collect some personal data for itself, but you can always install Avast's VPN on the side or open a private window to solve that problem. The only major problem with Avast Secure Browser is how it only fully works with Windows, but macOS users can download early access, supporting the idea that Avast wants to eventually reach all platforms.