Panda Antivirus Pro 2011 is an effective defender, though it’s one of the slower antivirus products we tested.
Panda Antivirus Pro 2011 ($50 for one year, 3 PCs as of 12/18/2010) does a lot right: It proved to be effective at detecting and blocking malware, and at disinfecting your PC of malware, but its slow performance brought it down to seventh place in a tightly packed contest.
Antivirus Pro’s main interface is usable, but not without issues. Its status screen is functional, but sparse. If Panda finds a problem with your PC’s protection status, it’ll display a warning across the top of the screen. Panda is based in Spain, and I found some of the translations to be a little wonky. Panda Antivirus Pro also tends to be a little overparanoid–it identified tracking cookies as spyware. While you could make the case that a tracking cookie is technically spyware, it isn’t in the same league as “true” spyware such as keyloggers, so calling it that may be a little excessive.
Panda’s detection scores were good overall–and in some cases, very good. It detected 99.8 percent of known malware samples, which was the best score among the paid antivirus products we looked at. And it did a solid–though not outstanding–job at stopping new malware in our “real-world” blocking tests (where we pit it against brand new malware found online): It fully blocked 84 percent of attacks, and partially blocked an additional 12 percent of attacks. No package we looked at blocked every threat, but the top scorer fully stopped 96 percent of these attacks.
Disinfection scores were good as well. Antivirus Pro detected all infections on our test PC, removed active malware components 80 percent of the time, and removed all remnants of malware infections 60 percent of the time.
Antivirus Pro did have a little more of a problem with false positives than some of the other products we looked at; its six false positives tied for the most among paid antivirus software that we tested, though as a percentage, it was still quite low.
The program had some of the slowest scan speeds out of all the antivirus products we tested. It completed the manual “on-demand” scan of 4.5GB of files in 4 minutes, 22 minutes, a far cry from the 90 seconds that the top performer put up. The on-access scans–that run when files are opened or saved to disk–were also abysmal: It scanned 4.5GB of files in 7 minutes, 6 seconds–more than twice the fastest performer.
Although its overall impact on PC performance was moderate, Panda Antivirus Pro dragged down some operations significantly. Our test system booted up in 53.7 seconds with Panda installed–the slowest of the products tested (our test PC booted in 40.1 seconds with no antivirus software installed).
Panda Antivirus Pro is definitely worth considering based on the strength of its malware detection and removal performance, but keep its speed issues in mind before you decide to buy it.