We’ve been reviewing Avira Antivirus Pro for a few years now and wondering why it was worth purchasing when the free version of Avira offered so much. At the time, Avira’s top-level offering, Prime, was just too expensive. Those days are over, however, and Avira Prime is now available at a competitive price.
Note: This review is part of our best antivirus roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.
Prime is the company’s one-stop shop for antivirus, web protection, ad blocking, privacy protection, and system maintenance. It includes access to Phantom Pro, the company’s VPN, as well as system tune-up options, a secure file shredder, and more.
Avira also recently overhauled its interface, offering a much nicer look, and a vast improvement over Avira’s previous design.
Features and services
Avira Prime starts with a very simple dashboard with three icons: Security, Privacy, and Performance. There’s also a left rail with the same icons. Alerts show up next to each icon on the dashboard when there are issues, such as the need to run a security scan. Instead of clicking on each icon to deal with the problems, however, you must click the button towards the bottom.
That button initiates another scan called a Smart Scan, which summarizes the potential issues with your PC, and then lets you fix the issues with one click. There’s also a full-details option if you’d like to control which actions the software carries out.
It’d be nicer if you could deal with each issue in its respective section. It would also make more sense to dump the left rail and only have the three icons leading to each section. Still, it’s pretty easy to use and understand, and the fact that it can deal with multiple issues with a few clicks is nice.
Moving past the dashboard, Security has the meat of the antivirus protections. Here you have the virus scan options, including full scans, quick scans, and the ability to schedule scans and create custom scans.
A Protection options tile leads to the various types of protections the suite offers with on/off sliders for each. These include real-time protection, web protection, ransomware protection, and email protection.
Security also houses the quarantine tile, the firewall, and the third-party software updater.
The firewall section doesn’t do much as it relies on Windows Defender for the firewall. It does list the PC’s known Wi-Fi networks, with a switch to set them as public or private (the firewall behaves differently based on the type of network). Click the Advanced Settings link, and the Windows Defender Firewall settings pop up.
The Privacy section offers a good number of protections. The Browser safety tile installs Avira’s add-ons for Chrome and Firefox, including Avira Safe Browsing, which blocks ads and trackers. This add-on also lets you know if the website you’re on is safe or not.
Prime subscribers don’t have any limitations on the amount of VPN they can use. The VPN is built into the desktop application and doesn’t require a separate download.
This is also where you find the password manager, and the file shredder for deleting sensitive files, rather than waiting for the file system to overwrite them.
Next, is the Privacy settings tile, which offers some really nice items. You can just set it and forget it and do what Avira recommends. Jump into the custom section, however, and you can see how much detail this section offers.
You can choose to be incredibly overzealous by preventing the PC from even syncing the system time with the internet, as well as not sending error reports, and postponing Windows Updates. And that’s just the “Sharing data with Microsoft” section. You can also disable all Windows telemetry options, and a whole lot more. Privacy conscious users will really appreciate this tool.
Avira also recommends downloading and installing the Opera browser as part of Prime. This isn’t a default install of Opera. Instead the browser includes Avira’s add-ons by default, such as Avira Browser Safety, Avira Password Manager, and Avira Phantom Pro VPN.
Finally, we get to the Performance section. This houses all of Avira’s various system speed-up tools, including the optimizer, Startup optimizer, battery saver, driver updater, and duplicate file finder.
The last tool is nice since duplicate file finders often cost money, and the Startup optimizer was a treat to use. It’s far nicer than the Startup tab in the task manager. It not only helps you edit which programs should launch, but shows your most recent startup time in seconds. There are also a number of automatic features, including a “Hyper boost” to cut down on boot times as much as possible. Hyper Boost requires about five reboots to analyze your system, making it kind of a pain, but it worked well in our experience. All of these system tools open in a separate application called System Speedup Pro.
Jumping into the application’s settings cog, there is absolutely nothing here except the option to change display languages. That’s it. Important system controls accessible by the user are contained within the main portion of the desktop application.
For AV-Test’s March and April 2020 results, Avira Antivirus Pro (which uses the same security engine as Prime) scored 99.1 percent and 99.5 percent, respectively, in the 0-day attacks test. That test used 304 samples; the industry average was 98.4 percent. In the widespread and prevalent malware test, Avira scored 100 percent based on more than 20,000 samples.
Moving over to AV-Comparatives, in the Malware Protection test with more than 10,000 samples for March 2020, Avira Prime blocked 99.97 of threats, with 24 false positives. That performance puts it on par with Kaspersky and Vipre, with AVG and Avast performing slightly above that, and F-Secure, G Data, K7, Panda, and Total AV doing even better. In AV-Comparatives’ real-world protection test for February and March 2020, Avira scored 100 percent based on 372 samples.
SE Labs gave Avira a AAA rating in its January to March 2020 report. Despite the rating, Avira wasn’t in the first tier of AAA suites that included AVG, Eset, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Sophos, and Trend Micro. Avira led the next tier (due to missing one public thread, but stopping all others), putting it in the same class as Microsoft and Norton.
For our in-house performance tests there are only two benchmarks worth talking about. The first is PCMark 10’s Extended test, which had an odd result. Before we installed Avira Prime, the PC scored 2,238. That’s an unusual score, as the PC usually doesn’t do better than 1,620 or so. With Avira Prime installed the score went down to 1,581. That’s quite a drop, but we’re going to ignore the 2,238 as an outlier, and compare it to the usual 1,620 score. Even so, that’s still quite a noticeable drop down to 1,581.
The large-file transfer time was also slower. Without Avira installed the time was 11 minutes, 3 seconds, and with Avira the time went up to 12 minutes, 45 seconds, an increase of one minute and 42 seconds.
The bottom line is we’d expect to see some performance impact on mid- to low-range machines with Prime installed.
Avira Prime has several pricing tiers. For five devices, it costs $80 for one year, $152 for two, and $225 for three. There’s also a monthly option at $8 per. If five devices isn’t enough, then you can choose the 25-device tier, which is still pretty reasonable. For 25 devices, one year is $104, two years is $201, three is $289, and the month-to-month option is $10.
Those prices are close to the first-time subscriber costs of the other major antivirus suites. The difference here is that Avira’s prices are the same whether it’s your first subscription period, or your fifth.
Avira Prime is a very good suite. We did see some performance impact with it running, but you get a lot of value with this suite and the overall protection is solid. There are higher-scoring options in third-party tests, but for the entire package Avira Prime is a very good choice.