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ESET Antivirus Review: Is It a Worthy Choice in 2022?

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Malware protection: 10/10
System impact: 9.9/10
Pricing: 10/10
Ease of use: 10/10
Reliability and support: 9/10

Price: £19.90

Updated: March, 1, 2022

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Low CPU impact
  • Excellent test lab scores
  • Multilingual customer support
  • Machine-learning protection
  • Great Android app
  • Cons

  • No iOS app
  • Limited parental controls
  • No VPN
  • While ESET might not be the consumer’s first choice when shopping for antivirus software, it still offers plenty of value for your money.

    This ESET antivirus review testifies to the efficiency of its malware protection and the other security features it includes.

    Let’s get to it!

    Security & Privacy Features

    Before anything else, good AV software must offer top-notch malware protection against all digital threats. Below, we look at the ESET anti-malware capabilities and its additional premium features that make it one of the best AV solutions on the market.

    Complete Anti-Malware Protection

    ESET employs a multi-layered solution to detect and eliminate every type of malicious program, including but not limited to the following approaches:

    • Real-time anti-malware—active protection against all kinds of offline and online malware;
    • Anti-phishing—blocks phishing scams from obtaining your personal and financial data;
    • Ransomware shield—prevents malware from holding your data hostage;
    • Advanced machine learning—stops zero-day malware with no impact to system performance;
    • Protection from script-based threats—prevents attacks from malicious PowerShell and Java scripts;
    • UEFI scanner—protects you from deep-level threats that affect your device during boot time;
    • Cloud-powered scanning—relies on a reputation-based database to automatically whitelist safe files.

    Note: Depending on your platform of choice, the list of protection layers may vary to a degree.

    Bonus Features

    In addition to the standard protection features outlined above, the ESET desktop app comes with additional benefits, especially with its more premium plans:

    • Password Manager—generates, stores, and runs your password from a single account on all your devices;
    • Secure Data—encrypts your sensitive data; 
    • Network Inspector—checks the security of your home network;
    • Payment Protection—secure browser that protects your banking and payment information while shopping online;
    • Anti-Theft—finds and protects your stolen device;
    • Parental Controls—blocks unsafe and offensive websites.

    Note: All of these features are located under a separate ‘Tools’ tab accessible from the main software dashboard.

    Firewall

    ESET also includes a firewall service with its more expensive plans. Similar to the built-in Windows firewall, the company’s solution was developed to control your network’s inbound and outbound connections.

    However, unlike your system’s default option, the ESET firewall comes with a plethora of customisation options that let you set up anything from its connection filtering mode to defining the rules for specific connections.

    Scanning for Viruses

    You can choose from several ESET scan options to clean the malware off your device:

    • Full Scan—scans all the drives on your device to eliminate all types of threats;
    • Custom Scan—runs a scan of specific targets and cleaning levels;
    • Removable Media Scan—scans removable media like USB, CDs, etc;
    • Drag & Drop Scan—drop specific files or folders to be scanned instantly.

    Note: If you need a separate ‘Quick Scan’ option, look into other premium brands.

    How Does ESET Perform?

    The ESET computer security software scores fairly excellent results in independent tests on a regular basis. For instance, ESET has been successfully passing the especially gruelling MRG-Effitas tests in recent years.

    Likewise, ESET scored a combined 18 out of 18 on the latest AV-TEST examinations conducted in December 2021 in the following categories: protection, performance, and usability.

    As for the three AV-Comparatives tests, ESET scored Standard, Advanced, and Advanced+ certifications. Only a few competitors earned the best score of three Advanced+ marks.

    Installation & Ease of Use

    Installing the ESET AV software is a breeze as it can be done in a few simple steps:

    1. Download the installer via the official ESET website;
    2. Start the installer and choose your installation language;
      1. At this point, you can also open the ESET user guide.
    3. Enter your licence key, purchase a licence, or start the free trial;
    4. Activate ESET’s premium tools.

    Note: After completing the installation process, run a full scan and set up the AV software’s settings as per your preference.

    User Interface

    The entire ESET software functionality is neatly packed in a compact window with several tabs:

    • Home Screen—shows your protection status and licence validity;
    • Computer Scan—choose your scan options and review scan reports;
    • Update—checks if your software modules are up to date;
    • Tools—houses advanced tools like Password Manager and Secure Data;
    • Setup—manage your protection and security tools;
    • Help & Support—access ESET’s support channels.

    The above features are stacked on the left side of the app’s dashboard, and the overall layout is very easy to navigate, so both casual and experienced users can immediately find their licence status, settings page, scan options, and advanced tools.

    Device & Platform Compatibility

    Consumers can install the ESET antimalware service on desktop and mobile, and the company allows you to use your licence across all platforms. However, while ESET’s software protects both Windows and macOS systems, mobile users can only use it on Android.

    However, due to the differences in the operating systems, the macOS version does not include certain features, such as the Password Manager, Secure Data, or LiveGuard.

    Note: If you need mobile security products for iOS, check out AV brands such as Bitdefender and Avast.

    Android App

    The ESET Mobile Security app for Android includes everything users might need to enjoy a secure mobile experience thanks to features such as:

    • Android antivirus with real-time scanning
    • Security and activity logs
    • USB on-the-go scanner
    • Anti-theft features like phone finder and data wipe
    • Payment protection
    • Anti-phishing and call filter
    • App lock and scheduled scanning

    Note: Unlike some of its competitors, ESET’s Android app does not include a VPN service.

    How Much Does ESET Cost?

    When buying ESET in the UK, you can choose between three subscription plans. We review them below along with the features they include:

    ESET NOD32 AntivirusESET Internet SecurityESET Smart Security Premium
    Price£19.90–£138.90 for 1, 2, or 3 years£29.90–£178.40 for 1, 2, or 3 years£39.90–£208.90 for 1, 2, or 3 years
    No. of devicesUp to 10 devicesUp to 10 devicesUp to 10 devices
    Supported platformsWindows, macOS, AndroidWindows, macOS, AndroidWindows, macOS
    Free UK-based support
    Malware and phishing support
    Performance optimisationGaming modeCloud-based scanningSmall system footprint
    Secure web browsingFirewallNetwork protectionAntispamPayment protection
    Device and network monitoringParental controlsWebcam protectionNetwork inspectorAnti-theft
    Password manager
    Secure Data
    ESET LiveGuard

    If you are unsure which subscription plan to get, you can always activate the 30-day ESET free trial without a card to test all of the software’s features. However, even if you purchase ESET’s products, you can still get a full refund within 30 days of the purchase.

    ESET Support

    Should you encounter any issues with your ESET software or your account, you can easily find a solution via several support channels:

    • Help page—detailed manual and a collection of FAQs;
    • Knowledge base—searchable database covering topics on all products;
    • Technical support—establish direct contact with the brand’s technical support.

    While ESET offers fewer support options than its competition, users will resolve their issues quickly and efficiently. However, if you prefer to go for an AV solution with more premium support features, check out Kaspersky and its ‘Remote Assistance’ option.

    Note: You can access ESET’s main support channels straight from the program’s main window.

    Before Signing Off

    All in all, the top-notch ESET malware protection has fairly excellent scores in independent tests, which coupled with additional premium features make it a good purchase. However, we still recommend looking into its cheaper plans, as they bring more bang for your buck.

    FAQ

    Is ESET good?

    ESET is among the best antivirus solutions on the market as it offers top-notch protection, plenty of premium features, and helpful support channels.

    Does ESET protect against malware?

    ESET’s malware detector uses machine learning and cloud-based detection to successfully deal with all types of zero-day and existing malware, both online and offline.

    Does ESET slow down your computer?

    As reported by this ESET antivirus review, users can expect little to no performance impact on their machines. Moreover, as a modern AV, ESET offloads its load to the cloud and uses a gaming mode that minimises resource usage.

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