Avast! 4.8 Professional Edition
While Avast may not be especially thorough, it is fast
- Fast file scanning
- Aggravating interface, so-so malware detection
Avast Professional Edition's inconsistent malware detection and frustrating interface make it a less-than-ideal choice for protecting your PC.
Price$ 63.97 (AUD)
Though Alwil Avast Professional Edition ($63.97 for a one-year, single-PC licence) has a speedy scan rate, that wasn't enough to offset its unimpressive protection from malware infections and its truly annoying interface. (A new version is coming early next year--see the end of this review.)
Avast's ability to block Trojans, worms, and other baddies in AV-Test.org's huge "zoo" of collected malware wasn't bad--its detection rate stands at 97.8 percent--and the program proved particularly adept at blocking worms with a 99.5 percent block rate. But most of the other programs outperformed it; Avast was only good enough for eighth place in signature-based malware detection.
In heuristic tests using two-week old signature files to simulate detection of newer malware, Avast was genuinely bad: A sad showing of 38.5 percent puts the program from Czech Republic-based Alwil firmly in last place among tested products. And it was unable to stop completely new and unknown malware based solely on how these invaders behaved (neither could a few other apps). Considering the short lifespan of the typical piece of malware and how quickly modern malware evolves, being able to detect these digital interlopers before a full signature is issued is more important than ever.
While Avast may not be especially thorough, it is fast. It performed automatic "on-access" scans (scans that happen when you open, save, or download a file, for instance) at a rate of 14.8MBps (megabytes per second); only Avira's AntiVir could match this scan rate. And when faced with existing infections, it proved able to get rid of all active components. However, it left many less-important system changes and malware files still in place.
Avast's performance results had ups and downs, but its interface was just a downer. As with its free program, Alwil's paid Avast Professional edition splits the interface into two entirely different sections: one for settings and one for scans. Double-clicking the system tray icon brings up a so-called "resident protection window" with settings for eight different "shields," such as the Web shield or Internet mail shield. The settings and status interface is relatively straightforward, but it lacks any context-sensitive help to take you straight to the relevant documentation for what you're looking at, forcing users to search for what they need.
Running a scan involves right-clicking the system tray icon and choosing "Start Avast! Antivirus," instead of the aforementioned settings pages. The resulting new interface mimics a music player and is entirely different than the settings window. It's telling that Avast feels it necessary to pop up a page of instructions on how to start a scan every time you open the scanning interface. The Pro version adds an enhanced interface you can use instead of this clunky player panel, but while it's somewhat less annoying, it's not a huge improvement.
It gets worse. When you do figure out how to run a scan, Avast will pop up a warning for every potential baddie it finds, requiring you to tell it what to do. And you might be forgiven for not realizing that clicking the "Continue" option will cause Avast to ignore the discovered malware and leave it in place.
Alwil says that a new version of Avast due early next year revamps both the interface and the antivirus engine. We look forward to those upgrades, but in the meantime, you're better off checking out the competition.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Hacker hijacks thousands of publicly exposed printers to warn owners
- Britain's wartime codebreaking base could host a national cyber security college
- Kaspersky Labs says Microsoft is anticompetitive towards third-party antivirus
- Password manager LastPass now works on all your devices for free
- Netgear tweaks its home security camera line by introducing the Arlo Pro
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- CCSAP/ Nakisa Implementation ConsultantQLD
- CCSystems Engineer (Infra)NSW
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerVIC
- FTSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- CCMidrange ProvisioningNSW
- FTBid ManagerVIC
- FTSenior Business AnalystSA
- TPSolution Architect - Real-Time Tracking SystemVIC
- CCSenior Infrastructure EngineerNSW
- CCProject / Portfolio SchedulerNSW
- FTSenior Network AdministratorNSW
- FTJunior ITIL Service AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Security Sales SpecialistVIC
- FTSecurity Engineer - Permanent - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- FTStorage Solution ArchitectVIC
- TPSenior Java Developer - ContractQLD
- CCIT Operations Centre EngineerQLD
- TPWinforms DevelopersWA
- CCProject Support OfficerNSW
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- CCBusiness Test Lead - BRT/UATNSW