G-Data Internet Security 2011
G-Data Internet Security 2011: Complex interface but great performance
Novices will want to run, not walk, away from G-Data Internet Security 2011 ($45.10 for one year, one PC; $63.25 for one year, three PCs, as of 12/2/2010). While it's more than capable at stopping viruses, its complexity, cluttered interface, and overly scary warnings make it less appropriate for more casual users.
- Great performance; Secure data shredder app
- Resource hog; Complex interface
G-Data posted high overall marks for detecting known malware, but it missed some new threats and its interface could use a makeover.
Price$ 45.10 (AUD)
G-Data Internet Security's interface is instantly confusing, overpopulated with too much information and organized haphazardly. The home screen is organized into panels cluttered with data (does the average user need to know immediately the version of the program being used, down to the third dot in the release number?), and is confusing when it comes time to make changes. It's not hard to figure out how to run a manual system scan, but if you want to tweak your settings, good luck. The main screen features three different "Options" buttons plus three "Change settings" options, the latter buried under a couple of hazy tabs at the bottom of the screen. An unseasoned user could get lost in all of this for hours—except for the fact that, once clicked, one discovers there really aren't that many options or settings to be changed.
Compounding matters is the issue that G-Data seems to use more than its fair share of system resources while it's working. A full system scan—which took nearly a full hour in my hands-on tests— led to fans whirring at full tilt, louder than we've ever heard them run before, in fact. G-Data's own CPU load readout verified this: The CPU monitor is often pinned at 100 percent usage during scans. That said, in our formal lab testing, G Data landed about in the middle of the pack when considering scan speed and overall impact on system resources, so results may vary widely from one machine to the next.
Other quirks bugged us. We couldn't use the program without getting a scary warning that the WPA2-PSK wireless network we were accessing was "unsecure," because G-Data deemed the passphrase used on it too short. When clicking "Why are these wireless networks unsecure," G-Data acknowledged that we're using the best security available... but that our passphrase needed to be at least 20 characters long. Talk about overkill for your typical home user.
And then there's the issue that not only does G Data require new users to register before you install—even paying customers—but by default it opts you in to receiving promotional offers.
All of this would relegate G-Data to a position as an also-ran were it not for the fact that it really does offer a superior level of security, turning in the some of the best performance figures in our tests. The numbers don't lie: G-Data fully blocked a solid 21 of 25 real-world attacks, and zapped 99.4 percent of known malware—one of the top scores on this test. False positives? None. And its 80 percent success rate at disinfecting active infections was near the top of the chart. On the whole, there's virtually nothing to complain about when it comes to G-Data's security credentials.
We also appreciated the software's extras, which include parental controls and a secure data shredder app (it writes over deleted files several times to make them impossible to recover). The only catch is that you must choose to install these when you initially set up the program—you won't be able to enable them later.
Ultimately, G-Data Internet Security is affordable and works well, but it's just too difficult to use, system speed under its thumb is questionable, and it features several poor design quirks that are hard to overlook.
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