Avira Antivirus Pro 2018 Review

Avira offers several antivirus options for PC, including Avira Antivirus Pro, which we review here and compare with our pick of the best antivirus 2018.

On the surface, Avira Antivirus Pro offers a lot for just £29.99/$29.99 per year for 5 devices, but it quickly becomes apparent that the word 'Pro' is not all it seems. There is a 'Prime' version of Avira Antivirus that includes all of the features described within the app itself as 'Pro', despite the 'Pro' name on the box, which is both confusing and frustrating.

The first thing you notice is the interesting approach to installation. While there are plenty of toys in the box, they're not all installed by default. It's a one-click process, but you don't have to install what you don't want.

On the down side, the initial installation does automatically add the Browser Safety plugin for you without asking, which some people may find irritating.

The Home Guard module scans your local network looking for devices, and also allows you to scan your router for vulnerabilities.

The discovered device descriptions aren't exactly detailed, however. Labels such as “Intel device” or “TCT device” aren't very descriptive. Clicking each allows you to see the IP and MAC addresses and to select the type of device they are, but not to enter a descriptive name like “Mum's Kindle”.

Installing the Software Updater reveals that it's only the basic version, with an option to upgrade to 'Pro' (this version is included within the 'Prime' version of Avira antivirus. See what we mean about it being confusing?).

The basic version doesn't handle automatic updates of your installed software and drivers, but as it still tells you what's out of date, and because much software these days tells you when updates are available, you can probably do without the Pro version.

It was disappointing to see that the System Speedup is also only the basic version, and much functionality is marked 'Pro' in orange, with the phrase “Fix around 90% more findings with System Speedup Pro” appearing nearby.

The Boot Optimiser allows you to delay startup of background programs and services that aren't needed at boot time, but disabling a program's startup permanently is only available in the Pro (Prime) version.

There are other intriguing functions in the System Speedup module, such as the registry defragmenter and the disk analyser, but these functions are also only in the Pro version.

The in-built Phantom VPN provides one-click online anonymity with a fairly generous 1GB data limit. Here, too, there's an opportunity to upgrade to the Pro version, which costs £6.99/month or £4.33/month if you take out a 12 month contract. Connections are established quite quickly, and connecting to the New York server allowed me to access Netflix US content.

Privacy Pal doesn't suffer from the 'Pro upgrade' problem. It scans your system for digital traces that can be used to track or profile you. This includes the usual suspects such as browser cookies, but also looks for application usage statistics and chat logs.

The bundled password manager is also the full version, and is exactly what you'd expect. Enter a username and password to log into a site and it will offer to store the details for you in future. Set a master password and enter it whenever you need to log into any of the sites stored.

Install the Safe Search Plus plugin, and it redirects you to Avira's search page, where results are filtered to remove known harmful sites. Opening a new tab also redirects you to this search page. Having your browser modified in this way is a little unnerving, and I've had bad experiences of having to manually change settings back after uninstalling similar products, but clicking Remove in Firefox restored my previous settings perfectly.

The Avira Safe Shopping module works by scanning what you're browsing on web sites and suggesting cheaper deals from partner vendors. If you're into finding the very best deal, this may be for you, but as it will only suggest you deals from service partners rather than the whole web, you may also want to shop around yourself.

Right clicking a file allows you to scan it for threats. Right clicking also gives you access to something called OrganiZen. Clicking this while on the desktop lets you automatically tidy away files into a single folder. This is useful if you're the kind of person who dumps everything on the desktop in the hope of sorting it all out at a future date.

The mobile version of Avira Antivirus Pro is well-stocked with features. As with the Windows version, you install just the modules you want.

Along with a useful system optimiser, password manager, app locker, basic VPN, and anti-theft modules, there are also a couple unusual ones. Malicious QR codes are protected against using the QR code scanner, for example.

Identity Safeguard allows you to enter an email address and find out whether it has been caught up in any data breaches. Notable by its absence, however, is a parental control module.

To uninstall the Windows and Android versions, you must uninstall all the modules you installed individually. Uninstalling the main Antivirus product does not do this for you, which is a pain. And even then, you must manually uninstall the browser plugins.

SHOULD I BUY AVIRA ANTIVIRUS PRO 2018?

It's disappointing for a supposedly Pro version of a package to offer so many opportunities to buy Pro versions of its modules - we found it particularly confusing.

That said, it is cheap and the features available as part of its price tag work well, so it's worth considering if you don't need the extras.