Antivirus Software Review: Avira
The ABCs of the most popular antivirus programs read more like AAA. The similarly named Avira, Avast, and AVG don't really make it any easier for users to navigate the world antivirus software. Since two of these are partnered with one another - AVG Antivirus has been owned by Avast since 2016 - the claim could be made that a search for antivirus programs wouldn't even need to progress to the letter B.
On the other hand, Avira doesn't have any affiliation with the two other 'A' programs. Although Avast and AVG are based on the same engine, Avira is again the exception. We've taken a closer look at this provider.
What is Avira Antivirus?
Pros and Cons
Free version which offers basic protection
Simple to use
Solid test lab performance
Dashboard installation comes with a lot of bloatware
Installation & Usage
Installing Avira Antivirus is a little bit like getting married: You choose your partner, but not your in-laws. The main issues are Phantom VPN, Game Booster, or System Speedup. Opera Browser is something like an uninvited ex: It's automatically installed and set as your default browser, without you getting a word in. Compared to other antivirus programs like AVG Antivirus, the installation of which can be customized to a great degree (including partner programs), Avira is a real nuisance.
Even though other programs offered by Avira allow you to choose which services you want to install, the interface still seems to be configured for their (eventual) inclusion. Nevertheless, it is easy to find the button to perform a "Quick Scan" on your computer.
The desktop client's main interface is more focused. In the main window, a green check mark shows that all is well with your computer. Additionally, the most important modules can be viewed here: "Real-Time Protection", "Ransomware Protection", "Web Protection", and "Mail Protection". The rest of the features can be reached through the navigation bar to the left.
A slimmed-down interface and the option to not install all of the company's bloatware would do the program a world of good.
Score: 2 / 5
Although the "packaging" leaves a lot to be desired, Avira Antivirus is full of features. Starting with manual scans, the program offers much more than the usual options: Alongside "Full" and "Quick" scans, you can also create a "Custom Scan". Similarly, you can go into these in greater detail, adding or removing system, drive, or rootkit scans, at will, and run them as often as you want. Importantly, free users can also make use of these options.
Alongside scans, the program also offers real-time protection, which identifies problems before they wreak havoc on your system. For example, you can activate a firewall with the push of a button.
All other modules are limited to paying subscribers. "Ransomware Protection" guards your system against Trojans which take your data hostage, demanding money for their virtual release. "Web Protection" ensures that you aren't tricked by any malware on dangerous websites. "Mail Protection" monitors your attachments and prevents phishing. "Protection Cloud Plus", likewise only for paid subscribers, makes sure that your data has priority when sent to Avira's cloud.
On the downside, neither webcam protection or a data shredder are included.
Extra features like a VPN or a password manager are also not integrated, most likely because Avira offers these as stand-alone software. From the main dashboard you can install these in a flash. In the Opera browser that is installed automatically with Avira's free version, the necessary extensions are pre-installed.
Alongside real-time protection and scanning, Avira's mobile version (Prime) also offers a number of additional features which help shore-up defenses on your smartphone. These include a network scanner that identifies suspicious devices in your WiFi network, as well as the ability to add extra security to specific apps. With "Check Email Security" you can enter your email address to find out if it's been compromised by any data leaks. There's also a VPN and a tuning function, with which you can optimize storage and memory on your smartphone.
Avira also provides you with protection against theft: You can control your device remotely through your Avira account if it has been stolen. You can also delete data, protect apps from unauthorized access with a PIN, trigger an alarm, or even attempt to GPS locate your device.
Avira Prime comes with a few bonus features: With camera and microphone protection, you can set which apps are allowed to access these on your smartphone, while "Safe Things" helps you to avoid phishing websites.
In total, Avira provides almost all basic features, and to boot allows free users to configure scans.
Score: 4.3 / 5
Security & Performance
Avira's support center features FAQs, video guides, a lab with up-to-date information about viruses and other malware, and a well-visited forum. You can only take up direct contact (by email or phone) with Avira if you have an account and a license for an Avira product.
Avira's support is solid, even though only paying customers can contact them directly. It would be nice if they offered some sort of support for free users, for example, with a lower response priority than for subscribers, but as the saying goes "beggars can't be choosers".
Score: 4 / 5
Avira Antivirus is free, however, it limits the number of features that can be used. Its price depends on how many devices (one, three, or five) and how long (monthly, yearly, two-year or three-year) a contract you agree to.
|Price per year||$0.00||from $44.99||from $57.99|
|Contract period (months)||0||12||12|
|Max. Number of devices||unlimited||5||5|
|Special Protection Features|
Paid subscriptions to Avira Antivirus are some of the more affordable on the market. Since subscription packages for each program vary, the table below compares each provider's offering on the basis of a sample, with similar conditions:
The test labs graded Avira Antivirus well, and in the most important area, virus protection (the effective securing of your device against malware) the program does almost everything right. In terms of features, the subscription versions stand out, but the freeware option doesn't do bad either, offering users quite a bit at no cost. We're less enthusiastic about the program's interface, its bloatware, and its developer's belief in using their products to market one another. For those who can see beyond these deficits, or who use Avira's product in spite of them, you can rely on Avira Antivirus.
Avira Antivirus enjoys a good reputation with users, and is rated highly. A number of reviewers commended its ease of use, while others criticized its support and the non-optional bloatware.
Alternatives to Avira Antivirus
Our biggest criticisms of Avira are its packed user interface and bloatware. Many other programs offer a much more focused antivirus experience without the bloatware: Bitdefender, in particular, scored very highly in our evaluation, as did Avast, ESET, and Kaspersky. A list of popular alternatives can be found here: