- Intuitive dashboard with great level of customization
- Comprehensive antivirus
- Small system impact with quick and in-depth scans
- Extraordinary number of extra features
- Attractive pricing
- One-month free trial
- VPN requires extra payment
- Windows exclusive
Bitdefender was born in the millennial generation, but this Romanian company actually shows such great maturity when dealing with online security that over 500 million users worldwide already rely on its services. Bitdefender Internet Security is one of the most complete and popular choices given its attractive interface, ease of use, and solid defense against all kinds of menaces. Though it’s exclusive to Windows, the extensive antivirus protection and numerous privacy tools are the highlights of a suite that can not only be complemented with extra services but can also be fully customized to fulfil the personal needs of each user. But Bitdefender Internet Security’s greatest asset, however, is that it has one of the best quality-to-price ratios, all available for testing with a 30-day free trial.
Bitdefender Internet Security focuses on three main areas: protection, privacy, and performance, even though the latter is restricted to a higher tier Bitdefender program – a common and understandable move. Still, it’s a pity that use of the startup optimizer, the disk cleaner, and other such tools for even greater computer optimization is blocked behind payments.
This is no big deal, though, since the other two sections of the software have everything that would be expected from them and, even better, come bundled in an intuitive and stylish client. The appearance of the dashboard can be easily altered, allowing each user to customize it at will by pinning their favorite tools for easy access.
It’s also great seeing this level of user interaction extended not only to the remarkable antivirus section, but to the entire set of features as well. In fact, even though some tools require separate installations and can increase the final cost, Bitdefender Internet Security also boasts a firewall, a safe online bank management tool, a password manager, and even a VPN.
With the online world becoming less safe each day, Bitdefender Internet Security’s virus prevention and fighting skills smartly responds to the latest menaces with multilayer ransomware protection, defense against phishing and fraudulent sites, and also a rescue mode that reboots the computer in case of severe infection. The software automatically integrates and protects browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, as well as within messaging services such as Skype and email clients like Thunderbird and Outlook.
When it comes to the actual scans, the antivirus protection is quick and efficient. There are a wealth of settings to explore, like the modern scheduling section with which custom scan profiles can be added and managed. Speaking of profiles, this is yet another interesting feature since it gives customers the ability to alter the software’s behavior according to certain modes, such as increasing Wi-Fi protection, being less distracting while working, and the like. Nonetheless, the preconfigured settings will work great for most users and our tests demonstrated that even a simple routine scan is enough to ensure the device is healthy as it takes only a minute and a half and covers the most important areas.
Surprisingly, even full system scans run silently in the background and have no noticeable impact on the computer, despite taking much more time, of course. For testing purposes, though we ignored certain sections of the computer, over 130,000 items were still scanned in nearly two hours.
While the antivirus section is always the main selling point of this kind of software, no security suite is complete without important additional tools. And, in this case, they’re abundant.
The data shredder and webcam protection, for instance, are just two of the most usual absences, but not with Bitdefender Internet Security. Not only are these two included, but they’re also fully integrated into the suite, meaning that no extra downloads or payments are required to use them. The same applies to the handy file encryption, which is essentially a virtual password-protected vault in which sensitive documents can be placed. This is similar, in fact, to the effects of a password manager, which is another of Bitdefender Internet Security extra features. Parental control is not forgotten either – even though it has to be configured on Bitdefender Central – and there’s even the company’s safe online bank management tool.
Safepay, as it’s called, essentially opens whitelisted domains in a secure environment, but better than that is how it can be automatically combined with Bitdefender’s VPN for even greater security. However, the bad news here is that the latter is a complementary service and therefore it requires a separate program – which is curiously installed alongside the security suite – and will actually increase the final cost quite a lot.
Unfortunately, Bitdefender Internet Security is only compatible with Microsoft computers running at least Windows 7 but since the company has multiple programs for a wide variety of purposes, there are suitable alternatives for mobile devices and Mac computers, too. Before downloading, though, it’s advisable to take a look at the full list of system requirements as the software is quite demanding on the computer, needing at least 1GB RAM and 1.5GB of free hard drive disk space.
It’s in this department where Bitdefender Internet Security perhaps scores the most points. Users can choose different combinations between contract runtime and the number of supported computers but, in the end, they’ll never end up paying too much.
To explain, licenses are valid for a period between one and three years, and can be used on either one, three, five, or ten computers. Consequently, you’d think the cheapest option would be for one year and one computer, but actually the combo of three devices for an annual subscription is the most attractive at $40 thanks to a 50% discount that Bitdefender provides. But consider it another way around: the more devices that are added, that less each device will cost individually, so the option for ten computers and three years can become quite attractive, too. The total cost of this plan is $199.99, which means that when all is said and done the price is essentially $0.55 per computer per month.
Maybe some users will find this pricing scheme quite peculiar, but it’s actually very useful for allowing each person to make the combination that suits them. In addition, Bitdefender’s VPN adds another $39.99 and this can only be applied to annual subscriptions. Finally, the multiplatform installation and setup costs another $39.99 and is directed at those who rather let Bitdefender’s engineers install and setup the program via remote connection.
Before paying, though, anyone can download and test the software for free by using the 30-day free trial, the only necessary requirement being the need to create an account with Bitdefender. However, after subscribing further risk-free testing can be achieved given the 30-day money-back guarantee. Payment methods include credit cards and PayPal.
Should any problem arise when using Bitdefender Internet Security, the preferred method for contacting the support team is by submitting a ticket, which can be done either in the client area of the official website or directly from within the software’s dashboard. Other direct contact methods include live chat and phone lines for certain countries, some of which work 24/7.
However, a word of praise must be given to the FAQ and support pages, which should be visited before resorting to any of the above as they provide all the necessary help, from answering basic questions to instructional videos and technical issues. Users can also interact with each other and company representatives on the forums or via Facebook and Twitter.
It’s hard to find critical flaws with Bitdefender Internet Security that can’t be overlooked. Yes, it would be great to be able to make use of more device performance tools and enjoying the software’s functions on other platforms such as mobile devices would be appreciated, but then we’d be talking about a different Bitdefender product. Keeping that in mind, using Bitdefender Internet Security is very satisfying. Even though it’s disappointing that the VPN requires a separate subscription, it’s still great seeing all the extra features like webcam protection, a password manager, Safepay, and others that are fully available and integrated into the software. And of course, don’t forget the robust antivirus that protects against the latest menaces.
Given all this, it’s impossible not to consider Bitdefender Internet Security a great deal, as not only is the pricing itself attractive, but it corresponds to a security suite with very positive behavior that is capable of matching the highest of expectations.