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Trend Micro Internet Security review: A likeable suite with a character of its own

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £25
inc VAT

Clever features set Trend Micro apart from the crowd, but protection and performance scores are unexceptional


  • Useful social media tools
  • Decent protection
  • Not too much of a drag on system performance


  • Barebones parental controls
  • Disappointing false positive rate

While not exactly a stripped-down package, Trend Micro Internet Security doesn’t bother with distractions like an integrated backup module or a redundant firewall to duplicate the functions of the Windows one.

Rather, it partners its virus-scanning skills with a thoughtful selection of additional features, including parental controls and tools for tightening up your security on social media.

If you don’t want those, you can save money by opting for Trend Micro’s regular antivirus package, which costs £20 a year for a single device. Or, if you’re looking for something more comprehensive, you can move up to the Maximum Security package, which covers five devices for £40 and adds full protection for mobile devices, as well as Trend Micro’s own-brand password manager.

The package we have before us, however, is the mid-tier Internet Security product. Does it hit the sweet spot? Is it, indeed, a good choice to keep you safe online?

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Trend Micro Internet Security review: What do you get for the money?

As well as real-time scanning of local files and programs, Trend Micro Internet Security protects your online activity, via a plugin for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and (the soon to be defunct) Internet Explorer.

If that’s not reassurance enough for you, the software can also detect when you’re logging onto a banking site and automatically transfer your session into Trend Micro’s own locked-down Pay Guard browser.

There’s a neat folder protection component, too, that’s designed to defeat ransomware – even new, unrecognised threats – by preventing unauthorised programs from accessing your personal folders. There’s a similar feature built into recent builds of Windows 10 but it’s fiddly to configure. Trend Micro’s implementation is a lot more user-friendly.

Trend Micro is also distinctive in offering a few tools dedicated to social media safety. The software can audit your privacy settings on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to make sure you’re not inadvertently oversharing, while the browser plugin can insert risk ratings alongside links on those platforms.

The last of the headline features is parental controls but these are a bit of a disappointment. You can set up time limits, web filtering and application control features but these won’t protect kids’ phones or tablets. The restrictions only apply to individual Windows accounts on the local machine.

READ NEXT: Our guide to the best antivirus software

Trend Micro Internet Security review: Does it keep you safe?

In the first half of 2021, independent security specialists and pitted the latest version of Trend Micro Internet Security against thousands of threats, including “zero-day” malware.

On average, across both labs, the software achieved a protection rating of 99.5%, which is pretty darned good. It’s not quite a top-tier score, however; several of the contenders on our list of Best antivirus products did even better.

Trend Micro didn’t make the winner’s podium in the false-positive stakes either, incorrectly identifying six harmless items as dangerous. That’s not disastrous but, in an ideal world, you shouldn’t ever have to wonder whether a blocked item is really dangerous.

Numerous other packages managed to rack up just one or two mistakes in the same tests, while F-Secure SAFE and Eset Internet Security registered none at all.

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Trend Micro Internet Security review: What’s it like to use?

We like the Trend Micro interface: it’s clear and compact, and offers a good few advanced settings for those who like to customise their protection. There’s also a thoughtful “Mute mode”, which silences all but critical notifications and optionally suspends Windows Update to keep disruption to a minimum. It engages automatically when you’re running an app in full-screen mode, or you can turn it on manually for a preset period. 

The suite isn’t too sluggish either. Across a range of performance tests, the testing labs recorded an average system impact of 8.9% with Trend Micro Internet Security installed. For comparison, Windows Defender slows down your PC by 12.5%, so you’ll actually get a small performance benefit if you switch to Trend Micro. If you really want a speedy suite, however, F-Secure SAFE and McAfee Total Protection each registered an average impact of less than 7%.

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Trend Micro Internet Security review: Should I buy it?

The security market is a highly competitive one and, the way things stand, Trend Micro Internet Security struggles to distinguish itself. Protection levels are a touch lower than the best of its rivals, the false positive rate is higher, and system performance doesn’t quite measure up either.

The price isn’t outrageous – you’ll pay £25 for a single PC or £30 for three – but there are cheaper options out there and some of them (such as F-Secure SAFE) have more versatile parental controls, too. 

It’s a shame, because Trend Micro Internet Security is undeniably easy to get along with. But for all these reasons we can’t give this current version a wholehearted recommendation.

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