Detailed Expert Review
Avira is meant to be a super lightweight and reliable antivirus. So I wanted to know if its premium protection was actually worth the money and if it would be powerful enough to fully protect all of my devices and data from all kinds of internet threats.
I tested Avira Prime — the most advanced Avira package — which includes a huge range of features, including privacy tools and device optimization features. I was curious about these features — I’ve tested a lot of different antiviruses and internet security products, and most brands offer a huge range of features which are difficult to use and perform really poorly.
I wanted to see if Avira’s malware scanning capabilities and all of its additional features would actually protect my computer, instead of being just a waste of time and money.
Avira Security Features:
Avira is a very lightweight antivirus that offers a comprehensive selection of easy-to-use tools for all major devices, including PCs, Macs, Androids, and iOS devices.
Avira has all of the essential security tools that I expect to see from an antivirus in 2020, including real-time scanning, ransomware attack prevention, and web protection.
I started testing Avira by running a “Smart scan”, which quickly scanned my home office PC for viruses, security issues, privacy settings, junk files, and more.
I was really impressed with the Smart scan. In under a few minutes, it found 17 privacy settings that could be compromising my data security, including location sharing and app permissions giving apps unnecessary access to all of my data. It also found almost 1 GB of data to clean, 4 outdated apps needing updates, and 3 apps which were slowing down my computer’s startup.
With a single click, Avira switched all of these settings to where they should be, fixing the privacy issues, clearing up unnecessary data, updating the outdated apps, and changing the apps which open on startup.
This was a really comprehensive and incredibly quick way to optimize both my system’s configuration and my privacy settings.
Avira’s antivirus scanner claims to be one of the most reliable antiviruses available, so I really tried hard to find a flaw. But my tests proved the claims true — Avira is definitely one of the most advanced and fastest virus scanning engines out there.
It detected 100% of the malware samples on my device when I performed a full scan. I also reuploaded the malware samples folder onto my PC and launched each program to test the real-time protection — and it blocked all of them, even the advanced ransomware samples.
While both the full scan and quick scan were relatively fast, it was the range of specific scans — available in the Manage scans section — that really impressed me.
I was able to perform and schedule:
- Rootkit scans.
- Local drive scans.
- External device scans.
- Active process scan.
- And a lot more…
The antivirus scanner also uses Avira’s Protection Cloud — a default setting that uses cloud technology to automatically scan suspicious files. This is one of the things which makes Avira’s scanning engine so powerful, as the Protection Cloud is constantly updated. Other antiviruses, like Panda Dome, also include a cloud-based scanner, but it’s not integrated into the real-time scanner — meaning Panda requires running a separate cloud-based scan. The fact that Avira integrates cloud scanning into its real-time protection is a huge plus — and the reason why I’d consider it to be one of the best antiviruses scanners available.
Overall, Avira’s antivirus scanner is one of the best in the industry. It detected all of the malware samples I used to test it — including all viruses, ransomware, and spyware.
I was a bit disappointed with Avira’s web protection feature. I disabled my Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome web protection settings to make sure only Avira’s web protection was active.
It didn’t detect any of the phishing sites I went to, which was super frustrating. Even phishing sites impersonating well-known sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Amazon weren’t blocked.
However, when I installed Avira’s Safe Shopping browser extension on Chrome, I retested it with the previous phishing links, and it blocked all of them. While I liked the Safe Shopping browser extension, I would be happier if Avira’s integrated web protection actually protected me from malicious sites like how Norton’s web protection does — without the need for an extension.
Device Optimization Tools
Avira’s main device optimization tools include:
- PC junk file cleaner.
- Startup optimizer.
- Driver updater.
- Battery usage manager.
The PC cleaner scan was really fast. Compared to Norton’s junk file scanner, it was twice as fast! Avira found over 1.3 GB of junk files clogging up my hard drive. It also flagged certain files and folders that I may have wanted to keep, allowing me to choose whether or not I wanted to delete them.
The startup optimizer showed me which programs were slowing down my PC’s boot time. I could then stop them from booting on startup or remove them completely.
After the scan, I could choose either Standard or Hyper boost optimization. The Standard option did indeed speed up my start time by a few seconds, but the Hyper boost option was so in-depth that it sped up my boot time by several minutes. That said, this process took a while, as it required my PC to restart 5 times. This is why I recommend you only use the Hyper boost option every 3 months or so.
I also really liked how the startup optimizer kept track of my PC’s load time and displayed the data on a graph (screenshot below) — so I knew that when my startup time was increasing, I could easily optimize it.
Overall, I’m really happy with Avira’s device optimization features — they’re some of the most advanced of any antivirus optimization tools that I’ve tested. All of the features were easy to use and sped up the performance of my PC better than many other antiviruses, such as PC Protect and Panda.
Avira’s Phantom VPN isn’t the best I’ve tested. Other antiviruses with an included VPN have better speed, functionality, and reliability. But Avira’s VPN did offer some decent features and ensured my connection was always private.
The Phantom VPN has:
- A strict no-logging policy. Avira doesn’t track or sell your browsing data to third-parties, including governments or law enforcement.
- Unlimited browsing data. Unlimited data is only for Prime users.
- Multiple server locations. Over 40 server locations including state-specific locations in the USA.
It was pretty slow when I tested it, even when using the fastest servers. It only reached a 10 MB download speed at best — which is good for most internet browsing, but probably not good enough to stream HD content without interruptions.
The VPN can be installed on an unlimited number of devices — unlike some VPN providers which charge extra for additional devices. It gives the option to run the VPN on 5 devices simultaneously, meaning my girlfriend and I could use it on both of our smartphones, her laptop, my PC, and my MacBook all at the same time! But it can’t be installed on routers, game consoles, or smart TVs — which meant I wasn’t able to use it on my new Xbox One.
Phantom VPN is easy to use, but it’s definitely not my favorite. While it’s more cost-effective when sold as part of the Avira Prime package (as opposed to buying it as a standalone VPN), I know I can get a much better VPN with more features and unlimited data for cheaper from standalone VPNs like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. That said, it’s a very nice addition to the Prime package.
Unlike other password managers, like Dashlane and LastPass, Avira’s password manager is entirely web-based. For me, this isn’t ideal, but I was willing to keep an open mind when testing it as they do ensure that all passwords are protected by bank-grade encryption.
The dashboard was really easy to navigate. I was able to input credit card information, save notes, and see how secure my accounts were. Avira uses the data breach tool “Have I Been Pwned” to check if any online account information has been leaked. Unlike with many standalone password managers, I couldn’t upload images — an essential feature for me as I like to store images of sensitive documents like insurance policies and passport info.
The password manager extension was easy to use and offered to autosave login credentials and passwords, which saved me from having to manually input all of my login details into the password manager. However, it was limited in terms of functionality, as I couldn’t edit my passwords or add notes via the extension — I had to use the online dashboard to access these features.
While I much prefer standalone password manager apps like Dashlane, I do think that Avira’s password manager is useful and worth trying if you don’t already have a password manager.
Avira Safe Shopping
The “Browser safety” button in the Privacy tab redirected me to the Chrome Web Store, where I could install Avira’s Safe Shopping browser extension.
The extension was great for blocking hundreds of ads and tracking links, but it also helped to find cheaper prices when shopping online — kinda like the Honey extension, but better!
I was looking for an Xbox One on Amazon and the Safe Shopping extension instantly showed me that there was a cheaper deal on another website.
The extension was really easy to install, simple to use, and effective at blocking sites from tracking my online activity. I was also super happy that it helped me save some cash while shopping online!
Avira has so many more features, including device optimization tools, file encryption, and a disk defragmenter. There’s:
- File encryption. Protects files and folders with passwords.
- File shredding. Deletes files completely so they can’t be recovered by hackers.
- Game booster mode. Optimizes CPU usage and performance for gaming.
- Network traffic manager. Shows which applications are connected to the internet and gives the option to stop certain connections if necessary.
- Process manager. Monitors all running processes and stops unnecessary ones.
- Disk defragmenter. Improves the organization and speed of hard drives.
- File recovery. Restores accidentally deleted files.
- And so much more…
I was intrigued to try the game booster feature, as me and my little brother had both recently tested BullGuard’s famous game booster. While it wasn’t as powerful as BullGuard’s, Avira’s game booster did ensure my games ran smoothly with no lag or freezing.
All of these additional features work really well. I didn’t necessarily love the interfaces of some of them — they were quite outdated compared to some of Avira’s other features. However, they all performed really well and were easy to use.
Avira Plans and Pricing
Avira is decent value for the money, especially when you opt to cover multiple devices and choose one of the multi-year packages.
Avira Free Security Suite — One of the Best Free Antivirus Packages
Avira’s free plan includes:
- Antivirus scanner.
- Real-time protection.
- Phantom VPN (with 500 MB of free data per month).
- Browsing security.
- Device optimization.
- Safe Shopping browser.
Avira’s free plan offers the same powerful antivirus engine as the premium version — it even includes the cloud-based scanning feature, Protection Cloud. It protects against all malware, including ransomware — unlike other free antiviruses that make you pay for the premium version to get ransomware protection.
The VPN is very limited in terms of data — 500 MB of free data per month is barely enough to do a few Google searches every day. And it only allows access to the nearest server location, meaning you can’t choose other server options.
The biggest downside for me is that you don’t get access to email or phone customer support, only the FAQ page. But in general, Avira’s Free Antivirus Suite is one of the best free antivirus packages out there, as it still includes the exact same powerful malware detection engine as the premium version.
Avira Antivirus Pro — Decent, But Not Worth the Money
The Antivirus Pro package includes all the tools of the free version, but it also has:
- Web protection.
- Email protection.
Both of these extra features are meant to block malware, malicious links, and phishing sites. But as the web protection performed really poorly in my tests, I don’t think this package is worth the additional cost — I’d rather upgrade to another package so my money isn’t wasted.
This package covers either 1, 3, or 5 devices.
This package does include customer support, so if you experience any issues, you contact them via email or phone.
Avira Internet Security — More Features for a Good Price
The Internet Security package includes all the features in the previous package, as well as:
- Password manager.
- Automatic software updater.
- Broken driver fixer.
While the password manager is web-based only, I do think it’s a valuable addition. The automatic software updater and driver fixer are also worth the extra cost, as they saved me so much time and effort.
This package only covers either 1, 3, or 5 devices.
I would much rather purchase this package than the Antivirus Pro package — as it is a much better value for the money.
Avira Prime — The Best Avira Package Available
Avira’s Prime package includes all of the previously mentioned features, but it also includes:
- Phantom VPN (with unlimited data and 40+ server locations).
- Advanced PC optimization.
- All other additional features mentioned here.
This package is a really good value for the money, especially with the huge range of additional features. I would compare it to the features offered by Norton, whose 360 packages also have a wide range of options, including device optimization tools.
The Prime package covers a minimum of 5 devices, and you can also choose to cover an “Unlimited” number of devices — but “Unlimited” only applies to the devices used in one household.
Overall, Avira Prime is a great choice for users with more than 5 devices to protect and who also want a super lightweight antivirus with a huge range of additional tools.
Avira Ease of Use and Setup
Out of all of the antiviruses I’ve tested, Avira is one of easiest antiviruses to set up and use.
The installation took around 15 minutes in total, which included me having to restart my computer. While other antiviruses I’ve tested installed slightly faster than Avira, like TotalAV, Avira’s entire installation process was very easy — only requiring a couple of clicks to complete.
The only issue I had was with enabling the real-time protection on my PC. Eventually, I had to reinstall the software which allowed me to then enable real-time scanning. I didn’t have this issue on my Mac, so it may have been a one-off glitch.
Avira’s features are really intuitive and easy to use. Running an antivirus scan and using the device optimization features will be simple for most non-tech-savvy users.
However, as there are so many additional features, some beginner users may be overwhelmed. But in most cases, the important features that beginner users would want to use — like the antivirus scanner and junk file remover — are super easy to function.
Avira’s full scan barely affected my CPU compared to other antiviruses. It only took up around 20-25% of my CPU power, which is nothing compared to when I tested Panda and McAfee on my PC — which both took up over 50% of my CPU when running a virus scan. With Avira, I was able to use my PC as normal when the scan was running, so I could edit videos and browse YouTube without any system slow downs.
Overall, Avira is easy to install and simple to use. Even beginner users will find it easy to use all of the antivirus and device optimization features. It’s also extremely lightweight, and the scanning engine won’t affect PC performance while using CPU-intensive programs.
Avira Antivirus Mobile App:
Avira has both an antivirus app for Android and for iOS. My girlfriend and I tested both versions — she tested the Android version on her Galaxy S10, and I tested the iOS version on my iPhone X.
Avira’s Android app includes:
- Real-time malware protection. Blocks all malware applications from running.
- Antivirus scanning. Detects and removes any currently installed system viruses.
- Camera and microphone protection. Stops apps from accessing the Android’s mic and camera without permission.
- App locker. Secures apps containing personal data behind a password.
While my girlfriend prefers the Norton Android app for its ease of use and app permissions protection, she still really liked the Avira app for its camera and microphone protection features.
I really liked Avira’s iOS version, especially the app’s layout, which makes it super easy to navigate.
The iOS app includes:
- Siri protection. Blocks Siri commands from being logged on Apple’s servers.
- Identity breach alerts. Sends a notification if online account credentials have been leaked in a data breach.
- Phishing attack protection. Blocks malicious sites from stealing personal data.
- Wi-Fi network scanning. Ensures Wi-Fi connections are safe to use.
While I prefer McAfee’s iPhone app for its anti-theft tools, my girlfriend and I both liked using the Avira app. Both versions of the app are lightweight and really easy to use.
Avira Customer Support:
Avira’s customer support options include:
- Email support.
- Phone support.
- Knowledge base FAQ.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a live chat option — which is my preferred customer support option.
The only customer support option for free users is the knowledge base (FAQ) section on Avira’s website. I used it to try and fix a few issues regarding the antivirus setup. I was actually really pleased with it, as it offered detailed answers that solved my issues.
There is a toll-free number for premium users, which offers customer support between 9am–11pm Central European Time for 30+ countries, including the US as well as many European and Asian nations. Countries that cannot access the toll-free number have the option to call another number, but they will be charged their local phone rates.
I tested their phone support, and it only took a few minutes to be put through to a representative. The person I spoke to was really friendly and responded with clear solutions to my questions.
Premium users will also have the option to contact support via email. I tested the email support by sending a few questions about how I couldn’t get the real-time protection to turn on.
It took them 3 days to respond to my email request, which simply isn’t good enough — even though I expect email responses to take a little longer, I shouldn’t be kept waiting for days. Not only that, the response I received didn’t help at all. They simply said that I was using a free product and they couldn’t help me, but I was actually using their most expensive package, Avira Prime.
I replied explaining that I was using Prime, and I received a response 6 days later. The response simply told me to uninstall and reinstall the software — which I had already tried (and indeed, had already solved my issue). If I was a beginner who knew nothing about internet security products, I would have been furious that it took Avira so long to respond to my question (a pretty serious one!) — and that all they suggested was a simple fix which definitely didn’t take them too long to think up and write out in an email.
That said, Avira’s support team was helpful when I requested a full refund. The customer representative responded within 24 hours and immediately began to process my refund request — which appeared back in my account two days later.
Overall, Avira’s customer support was decent. While my experience with email support was pretty poor, the knowledge base was very detailed and resolved all the issues I was having — one of the best FAQs I’ve seen from any antivirus brand.
Is Avira a Good, Reliable, and Secure Antivirus for 2020?
Avira is definitely one of the best antiviruses that I have ever used — a claim supported by its high malware detection rates, its intuitive software, and its wide range of included internet security features.
Overall, Avira is really easy to use, making it a great choice for non-tech-savvy users. For such an advanced antivirus scanner, Avira is also really lightweight — taking up less CPU power than most other antiviruses that I’ve tested.
I was also impressed by the range of additional features, including the device optimization tools, password manager, and automatic software updater. The VPN was okay, but I’ve tested better VPNs that come with antivirus packages.
Avira is also a really great value for the money, but only if you opt for one of the more advanced packages (Avira Internet Security or Avira Prime) — as they offer many more advanced features for a better price.
Overall, Avira is an excellent antivirus, and it comes with a full, 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out and see if it’s the best antivirus for you.
Avira Antivirus Review — Frequently Asked Questions
Is Avira’s antivirus protection good?
Avira scored a perfect 100% malware detection rate in my tests. Both its antivirus scanner and real-time scanning engine managed to detect and block viruses, ransomware, spyware, rootkits, and more.
Avira has combined its scanning engine with cloud-based technology to provide fast, lightweight, and thorough malware detection.
Along with being really powerful, Avira is also really easy to use — making it a great choice for non-tech-savvy users who want to keep their devices protected.
Is Avira antivirus free?
Avira does offer a free version of its antivirus, which uses the same powerful scanning engine and the premium version.
It scans and protects against a huge range of malware, and it includes real-time protection (a rare feature for a free antivirus).
That said, the free version is limited in terms of additional features.
For instance, you can install a free version of the Phantom VPN, but the data limits are very low and you don’t have the option to choose different server locations. To access all of Avira’s security features, you can try one of the premium packages free for 30 days, including the Avira Prime package.
Will Avira slow down my computer?
Avira won’t slow down most devices.
It’s an extremely lightweight antivirus software, and as shown in my test results, it only took up a fraction of my computer’s processing power when compared to other antivirus brands.
One of the reasons why Avira is so lightweight is because it uses cloud-based technology as part of its scanning engine — meaning files are securely scanned in Avira’s cloud.
Is Avira’s VPN safe to use?
Yes, Avira’s VPN is safe to use.
The most important things to note about Avira’s Phantom VPN is:
- It has a strict no-logs policy. Meaning they don’t track or sell your browsing data.
- Fully protects your IP address. So websites or hackers can’t find your real location.
- It offers unlimited browsing data. But only for premium users.
While Avira is good in terms of privacy, it isn’t the best for speed — it was pretty slow when I tested it across multiple server locations, both for download and upload speed.
But Avira’s VPN is missing some essential features, like a kill switch — which cuts all internet connections if the VPN connection gets interrupted, so websites or hackers can never see your location, even if the VPN cuts out. For features like a kill switch, you’ll need to get a standalone VPN like NordVPN or ExpressVPN. But for a basic, secure, and no-logs VPN, Avira’s is pretty good.