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Avira Antivirus Pro 2018 review: A strong and fast performer

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30
inc VAT (1yr, 5 devices)

With its stripped-down feature set, there’s little reason to choose Avira over rival offerings

Pros 
Free VPN
Only one false positive
Very fast
Cons 
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Avira Antivirus Pro 2018 is a stripped-down antivirus scanner, with no ancillary features such as parental controls or file encryption. For an extra fiver, you can get Avira’s full Internet Security Suite, but this isn’t much different: the main addition is the Firewall Manager module, which provides a friendly front-end to the Windows firewall settings. Unless you spend a lot of your time reconfiguring your network, it’s probably not worth it.

Avira does give you the option to tack on a variety of optional extras at install time. One is the free System Speedup module, which cleans up cookies, temporary files and so on. Note that it doesn’t do anything that’s likely to actually make your computer run faster: if that’s what you want, a button invites you to pay an extra £22 for Avira’s Speedup Pro product.

Buy Avira Antivirus Pro 2018 now

You also get the option of installing Avira’s Phantom VPN. This lets you conceal your internet traffic from prying eyes, and like Kaspersky Secure Connection, it’s free for light use. When we say “light”, though, we mean it: free users get to tunnel just 500MB of data per month, with unlimited access costing an extra £7 per month or £52 per year. To be fair, the annual price is quite competitive, and even if you don’t pay, you get a choice of 20 exit nodes around the world, which you don’t get with Kaspersky’s free VPN.

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A third optional add-on is Avira’s SafeSearch Plus, a browser extension that removes dangerous links from your search results. Annoyingly, though, it also injects its own adverts prominently into the search results – something we can all live without.

Thankfully, you don’t need any of these optional components to fend off online attacks. The standard Avira installation keeps a hawkish eye on dodgy files and web pages: it intercepted 99.7% of malware in AV-Comparatives’ tests, and only incorrectly identified one false positive. Avira shines when it comes to performance too, gaining a “very fast” rating in every test – aside from the first-run application-launch test, where it was still ranked as “fast”.

Avira Antivirus Pro 2018 review: Verdict

The only real problem with Avira Antivirus Pro is that it’s short on distinctive strengths that would justify choosing it over a rival such as Bitdefender Internet Security. It’s nice that the standard licence covers five devices, rather than the usual three, but it doesn’t feel like a bargain when you consider how short the package is on features. While the Phantom VPN isn’t bad value, you can download it separately without having to invest in the rest of the Avira suite.