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!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 3 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 4 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Conservative group takes credit for anti-net neutrality comments
- FCC hit with DDoS attacks after John Oliver takes on net neutrality
- Most U.S. households have ditched landlines for mobile phones
- US bill aims to quash Open Internet Order, prevent its return
- US appeals court won't rehear a challenge to net neutrality rules
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
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.
- Ring Video Doorbell review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- Sony X9300E 2017 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 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
- TPSenior Business Intelligence AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Network Engineer - SMEOther
- FTService Centre ManagerQLD
- FTPrincipal Consultant / Account Delivery Executive.Other
- FTDigital Business Analyst - MediaOther
- FTLead UX/UI DesignerOther
- TPDatawarehouse Analyst/DeveloperSA
- TPTest ManagerVIC
- TPActive Directory AdministratorACT
- FTPeopleSoft Technical Campus Solution DeveloperOther
- FTTRIM TrainersACT
- FTNetwork Engineer - IP routing & switchingOther
- CCSenior/Lead Network Security Engineer - Financial Services - Contract - SydneyNSW
- FTProgramme ManagerACT
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- CCIT Service Desk SupportSA
- FTTest AnalystOther
- TPProject Coordinator / Junior Project ManagerQLD
- FTProject OfficerOther
- FTERP Business AnalystOther
- TP.Net Developer - Australian Government ICT ContractorACT
- FTLead Network EngineerOther
- CCBusiness AnalystWA
- CCTechnical Delivery Lead - BillingVIC
- FTNetwork SpecialistOther