By Charles P. Jefferies
Panda advertises their Antivirus Pro 2010 as an easy and intuitive way to protect your computer. We evaluate the company's claims in our review.
Panda Antivirus Pro 2010 is a home protection suite designed to protect against Internet threats such as viruses, spyware, rootkits, hackers, and online fraud and identity theft. Panda Antivirus scans files and Internet traffic in real time.
A personal firewall is included in this suite.
Download & Installation
Panda Antivirus is purchased and downloaded from the company's website. The installer file is less than 50MB, which is about what I am used to seeing. The install is generally hassle-free; the wizard insists on doing a quick scan of the computer's hard drive before going ahead with the install, which takes a couple of minutes. During the install there are no options to choose the type of user (beginner/expert). A restart is not required to complete the install.
I have no complaints about the install process, although it is not as slick as competing suites such as Norton Antivirus 2010.
Panda's interface is easy on the eyes and has a pleasing color scheme. Only essential information is shown -- a good thing in my book.
The tab-based navigation has five sections: Status, Scan, Report, Quarantine, and Services.
Status is the default screen and displays green check marks to indicate everything is OK; the program makes it very clear if things are not OK by displaying a big red X at the top and a button next to it to resolve the issues.
Panda's icon-driven interface is more user-friendly than drop-down menus and other forms of navigation. The scan section, shown above-left, is a great example of this.
The Services section, shown above-right, is interesting in a good way. It provides an easy means to perform miscellaneous tasks such as contacting technical support and sending suggestions. I have not seen something like this in other antivirus programs and I like the convenience.
In Use & Effectiveness
My computer did not feel any different after installing Panda Antivirus; I experienced no extra lag switching between applications or logging on.
Updates completed automatically without my having to intervene.
The only annoying feature I found about this program was its occasional system tray pop-up showing various messages; these are turned off easily enough, however.
To test the effectiveness of Panda Antivirus I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests. Antivirus software should detect these files as threats.
Panda Antivirus detected the virus files as soon as I tried to download them, which shows it is a very proactive antivirus suite. I was denied access to any of the downloaded files and they were promptly removed in a system scan.
We evaluate the performance impact and system resource usage of using anti-virus software in three ways:
Our test system is an HP Pavilion dv5t.
Overall System Performance Impact Measured with PCMark
The PCMark benchmarks as measured before (left) and after (right) the Panda Antivirus install are shown below:
Panda antivirus has a minimal impact on system performance, which is what I want to see.
Panda uses very little memory according to the Task Manager; it is likely using more than is shown here but nonetheless Panda appears to be kind to system resources.
Time it took to perform a full system scan
Panda Antivirus Pro 2010 is a well-rounded home protection suite that I have no reservations recommending. The interface is easy to use, there are no surprises, and it has a minimal impact on system performance. On the whole there is little to complain about or get excited over.
Software & Support
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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