Panda Antivirus Pro 2011

Panda Antivirus Pro 2011 ($50 for one year, 3 PCs as of 12/18/2010) does a lot right: It proved to be effective at detecting and, blocking malware, and disinfecting your PC malware, but it’s slow performance brought it down to seventh some speed issues bring its rank down to seventh in a tightly packed race.

Antivirus Pro’s main interface is usable, but not without issues. Its status screen is functional, but sparse. If Panda finds a problem with your PC’s protection, status it’ll display a warning across the top of the screen. Panda is based in Spain, and I found some of the translations to be a little wonky. Panda Antivirus Pro also tends to be a little over-paranoid–it identified that tracking cookies were as spyware. While you could make the case that a tracking cookie is technically spyware, it isn’t in the same league as “true” spyware such as keyloggers, so calling it that may be a little excessive.

Panda’s detection scores were good overall–and in some cases, very good. It detected 99.8 per cent of known malware samples, which was the best score among the paid antivirus products we looked at. And it did a solid–though not outstanding–job at stopping new malware in our “real-world” blocking tests (where we pit it against brand new malware found online): It fully blocked 84 per cent of attacks, and partially blocked an additional 12 per cent of attacks. No package we looked at blocked every threat, but the top scorer fully stopped 96 per cent of these attacks.

Disinfection scores were good as well. Antivirus Pro detected all infections on our test PC, removed active malware components 80 per cent of the time, and removed all remnants of malware infections 60 per cent of the time.

Antivirus Pro did have a little more of a problem with false positives than some of the other products we looked at; its six false positives was tied for the most among paid antivirus software that we tested, though as a percentage, it was still quite low.

Scan speed was another issue: ItAntivirus Pro had some of the slowest scan speeds out of all the antivirus products we tested. It completed the manual “on-demand” scan of 4.5GB of files in 4 minutes, 22 minutes, a far cry from the 90 seconds that the top performer put up. The on-access scans–that run when files are opened or saved to disk–were also abysmal: It scanned 4.5GB of files in 7 minutes, 6 seconds–more than twice the fastest performer.

Although its overall impact on PC performance was moderate, Panda Antivirus Pro dragged down some operations significantly. Our test system booted up in 53.7 seconds with Panda installed–the slowest of the products tested (our test PC booted in 40.1 seconds with no antivirus software installed).

Panda Antivirus Pro is definitely worth considering based on the strength of its malware detection and removal performance, but keep its speed issues in mind before you decide to buy it.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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