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ESET Internet Security (2020) review: A good AV product that we still can’t recommend

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £50
1yr 3 devices, inc VAT

When it comes to speed, ESET is the champion; sadly, protection is mediocre and the price is a shocker


  • Doesn’t slow down your PC
  • Customisable firewall


  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t block every attack
  • Limited parental controls

A perennial concern with security software is whether it will slow down your PC. With ESET you don’t need to worry: in our most recent test, this suite garnered top marks for performance. We found that the software slightly slowed down the first launch of newly installed applications, but it was very fast in all other scenarios.

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ESET Internet Security (2020) review: Features and Performance

Another thing you might like about ESET is that the developer provides its own firewall, with fully customisable rules and any number of configurable network zones. It defaults to Automatic mode, which won’t bother you, but you can switch to Interactive mode if you prefer to personally approve connection requests – or choose the much stricter Policy mode, which blocks all connections that aren’t permitted by existing rules.

If you find that your firewall settings are interfering with legitimate operations, you can open up the Network Troubleshooting pane for an instant overview of every process and resource that’s recently been blocked, and unblock items with a single click. We’re fans of the Running processes view too, which shows not only what’s running on your PC, but how trustworthy the publisher considers each item, and how prevalent it is among other ESET users.

The package includes a secure browser with a tasteful olive-green frame. Even if you don’t use this, ESET scans HTTP streams and checks URLs to warn you away from malware and phishing sites. For those using a local email client, there’s email and spam protection, while the network scanner checks your home LAN for insecure devices. A parental control module is included, although this extends only as far as Windows-based web filtering: if you want cross-platform support, you’ll need the ESET Parental Control for Android app.

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ESET Internet Security (2020) review: Verdict

Although ESET is fast and includes thoughtful features, it’s let down by iffy protection levels. Its false-positive count looks pretty good, but that only represents the findings of a single lab. And when we pitted the software against more than 700 dangerous URLs and executables, no fewer than 11 different attacks managed to slip past ESET’s defences. For that reason, we’d be hesitant to recommend ESET Internet Security even if it were free. Since it’s one of the most expensive antivirus suites, we strongly suggest you look elsewhere.