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Avira Internet Security review: This fast, reliable security suite doesn’t come cheaply

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £48
(/yr, inc VAT)

There’s plenty to like about Avira’s effective malware blocking and lightweight footprint, but you might baulk at the cost


  • Good protection
  • Minimal impact on system speed
  • Simple, clear interface


  • Expensive
  • No VPN or data leak monitoring
  • Annoying in-app advertising

While some security suites take a kitchen-sink approach, Avira Internet Security is more focused. It offers a good set of tools for detecting and deflecting online attacks, a few features for protecting your online identity and privacy, and not much else.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It helps keep the interface clean and clear, and it may be one reason why Avira doesn’t drag down the performance of your computer.

However, the lean feature set doesn’t translate to a low price. Avira Internet Security costs more than twice as much as some alternative security solutions, so it’s only a smart purchase if you really like its particular style and capabilities.

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

As is usual with security suites, the price of Avira Internet Security depends on how many devices you want to protect and how long you want your licence to last. All of the possible permutations are quite expensive, however: a three-device subscription costs £48/yr direct from the Avira website and you won’t find discounted deals on Amazon or other retailers.

Unusually, the site also offers a flexible month-by-month option, although this costs more over the long term, at £49/mth for a single device or £4.99 for three.

What that gets you is a multi-layered security suite. Avira Internet Security blocks all types of malware, and includes specific folder protections to ensure ransomware can’t slip through the net. It protects your web browsing with integrated HTTP scanning and an optional browser extension that blocks tracking technologies to safeguard your privacy. A local privacy manager helps you tweak Windows settings to reduce the amount of data you share with Microsoft and others. 

The suite also includes Avira’s own-brand firewall: this does the same basic job as the standard Windows one, but provides a more user-friendly way to customise which programs are allowed to communicate over the internet.

That’s it for the headline features. A cut-down version of Avira’s Phantom VPN is bundled into the package, but it comes with heavy limitations: it will only connect to your nearest server, and will only protect up to 1GB of data/mth. The kill-switch feature is also disabled, raising the possibility of an accidental data leak. For the full feature set you’ll have to either buy a separate Phantom Pro licence, or upgrade to the fully loaded Avira Prime suite, starting at £52/yr for up to five devices. 

It’s a similar situation with Avira’s bundled system tools. The price includes utilities for freeing up disk space, updating your software and drivers and securely deleting sensitive files. However, click on the Game booster tool and a window pops up inviting you, once again, to upgrade to the more expensive Avira Prime package to enable the feature.

Worse, if you try to open the Battery saver or Startup optimiser features, you’ll find yourself bounced into the entirely separate Avira System Speedup application, which is quietly installed on your system as a sort of Trojan horse alongside the main suite. To unlock its full capabilities you’re invited to shell out for another subscription – a costly addition at £33/yr for three devices. 

When you’ve paid full price for a security suite, you shouldn’t have to put up with this sort of money-grabbing behaviour. It sticks in the craw even more when you note that competing suites such as Avast One and Norton 360 include unlimited VPN access and system optimisation tools in their standard products for a lower price. Those packages include active data-leak monitoring too, which Avira Internet Security lacks. Again, it’s reserved for the top-shelf Avira Prime suite.

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Avira Internet Security review: Will it keep you safe?

Avira does a decent job of blocking viruses and other types of threat. German security lab recently put Avira Internet Security through its paces in its latest group test of consumer security suites. This saw the suite faced with a barrage of more than 11,000 attacks during January and February 2023, including more than 300 never-before-seen zero-day exploits. To its considerable credit, Avira came away with a perfect score sheet: protection results, Jan/Feb 2023 (%)0-day Jan0-day FebWidespread JanWidespread Feb
Avast One100100100100
AVG Internet Security100100100100
Avira Internet Security100100100100
Bitdefender Internet Security100100100100
Eset Internet Security98.998.3100100
F-Secure SAFE99.5100100100
G Data Total Security100100100100
Kaspersky Premium100100100100
Malwarebytes Premium98.997.8100100
McAfee Total Protection100100100100
Microsoft Windows Defender100100100100
Norton 360 Deluxe100100100100
Trend Micro Internet Security100100100100

Avira also did well in tests by Austrian specialist, AV-Comparatives. That lab’s March 2023 malware protection test saw a wide range of security products pitted against over 10,000 malware threats and, while none of them achieved full marks, Avira again put in a respectable shift:

AV-Comparatives protection results, March 2023 (%)Offline detectionOnline detectionOnline protectionFalse positives
Avast One96.90%99.50%99.97%2
AVG Internet Security96.90%99.50%99.97%2
Avira Internet Security97.00%99.10%99.96%2
Bitdefender Internet Security98.10%98.10%99.94%6
ESET Internet Security97.40%97.40%99.94%0
F-Secure SAFE96.90%98.70%99.96%14
G Data Total Security98.80%98.80%99.95%2
Kaspersky Premium90.00%97.90%99.96%2
McAfee Total Protection89.60%99.70%99.99%9
Microsoft Windows Defender83.10%99.30%99.98%32
Norton 360 Deluxe91.10%99.70%99.99%3
Panda Dome72.20%95.50%99.97%102
Trend Micro Internet Security60.90%91.80%97.19%10

With an overall protection rate of 99.96%, Avira is the barest whisker behind some of the biggest names in internet security. In practice, it should keep you just as safe as the likes of McAfee or Norton.

I’m also reassured by Avira’s strong scores for both online and offline detection, and one of the lowest false-positive rates in the biz. That means you don’t need to worry about second-guessing Avira’s malware alerts: you can trust it to accurately identify and block malicious items.

READ NEXT: Avast One review

Avira Internet Security review: Will it slow your computer down?

On the whole, Avira Internet Security is quite pleasant to use. Obviously, we don’t appreciate the parts of the interface that shill other products and push pricey licence upgrades, but it doesn’t take long to learn which buttons to avoid. After that, you can get around the software quickly and easily. Its functions are logically divided into Security, Privacy and Performance and everything you need is accessible within a few clicks. 

To test performance, we used our regular browsing benchmark, which uses Chrome to download and open various sets of files hosted on a local web server. Avira scans all web traffic by default, and the optional Avira Browser Safety extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Opera will actively divert you away from fake or dangerous sites, as well as blocking ads and tracking technologies. There’s a complete Avira-branded secure browser too, which you can download and launch from within the suite – or download individually for free.

Without the plugin, web browsing in Chrome with Avira is pleasingly speedy. On our test PC, Avira allowed us to open a series of ten JPEG images in Chrome in just 0.56 seconds – compared to 0.84 seconds using the Defender antivirus component built into Windows. A set of ten PDFs opened almost exactly as quickly, taking a total of 0.57 seconds, versus Defender’s 0.96 seconds. 

Downloads were swift too. I downloaded ten executable files and ten Zip archives in 4.9 seconds and 17.0 seconds respectively; fetching the same files with Defender running took 6.0 seconds and 17.7 seconds. Far from slowing down your computer, installing Avira Internet Security should give it a slight speed boost.

Enabling the browser plugin slows things down a little. After I activated the extension, my JPEG and PDF files took a more languorous 0.98 seconds and 0.95 seconds to render in Chrome. But downloads to disk were as quick as ever; I measured 4.6 seconds for the executable files, and 16.9 seconds for the Zip archive. Our JPEGs downloaded so quickly that the benchmark recorded their arrival as instantaneous. 

This remarkable result was echoed by AV-Test, which noted in its own report that Avira had no impact at all on the speed of downloading files from the web, or copying local items. The suite also had only a tiny effect on installing and launching applications, averaging 4% across January and February 2023. For comparison, Windows Defender slowed down software installations by an average of 23%, while launching applications was on average 8% slower – and Microsoft’s own-brand security scanner slowed down local file copies by a massive 44%.

AV-Comparatives similarly found Avira an efficient performer. In the lab’s October 2022 performance tests, Avira Internet Security was ranked as “very fast” for almost every type of desktop operation, both local and online. The only exceptions were archiving and unarchiving operations, and launching newly installed applications for the first time, for both of which it ranked merely “fast”.

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Avira Internet Security review: Should you buy it?

What Avira Internet Security does, it does very well. But at £48/yr it’s a lot more expensive than most rivals, while offering fewer features. Avast, Kaspersky, Norton and others will keep you safe and give you unlimited VPN usage, while costing less than half as much. That makes it hard to recommend Avira.

Still, let’s keep things in proportion. Not everyone wants or needs a VPN built into their security suite and, when you break down Avira’s pricing, it comes to just £1.33 per device per month. That’s hardly extortionate; you might indeed consider it a price worth paying for a highly effective and very fast security solution.

Just check out the competition in our run-down of the best antivirus suites before investing. You may well find another suite will suit you at least as well, and save you money to boot.

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