Can free antivirus software protect you? Or is it worth paying for a full-blown A/V app? We look at the benefits--and pitfalls--of free and paid antivirus products.
Avast Free Antivirus is a well-rounded free antivirus package: It does a solid job at blocking malware, has a pleasant interface, and scans files quickly.
Panda Cloud Antivirus is easy to use, but its scanning speeds are slower than average. Look for the Cloud Antivirus 1.3 update, which the company says should improve its ability to block brand-new malware.
BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011 does a good job at detecting malware and disinfecting PCs, but it had some difficulty in blocking brand-new malware.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2011 is very effective at blocking new malware attacks and is easy to use, but it slows system performance more than we would like.
Avira AntiVir Personal does an great job at blocking and detecting malware, but its interface needs a makeover.
Comodo Internet Security Premium did a good job at blocking brand-new malware and has a firewall, but its inconsistent overall detection performance makes it tough to recommend.
Avast Pro Antivirus 5 has a slick interface, but its middling malware detection performance prevents it from achieving a higher score.
Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2011 is a great choice thanks to its strong malware detection and smooth interface.
G-Data AntiVirus 2011 is a solid package, with strong malware detection, blocking, and removal capabilities.