Security for everyone - ESET NOD32 Antivirus review

4 out of 5 stars

No matter what version of Windows you use, it is essential to have an antivirus installed if you do not want to become an easy victim for malware. Although you can do pretty well with Windows Defender, there are some antivirus engines that are superior, and ESET NOD32 Antivirus is one of them. We wanted to see what it has to offer and how well this antivirus can protect its users. After using it and testing it for a while, here is our opinion about this product:

ESET NOD32 Antivirus: Who is it good for?

ESET NOD32 Antivirus is a security product that we recommend to users who want:

  • Antivirus software at an affordable price
  • Efficient protection against online and offline threats
  • An antivirus with an intuitive interface but also with access to advanced settings

Pros and cons

There are many positives about ESET NOD32 Antivirus:

  • The antivirus engine is excellent and protects you effectively against malware
  • The web protection module works great in any web browser you choose to use
  • It has no meaningful negative effect on your computer's performance
  • The user interface has a pleasant design
  • There are also many advanced configuration options, for power users

As for downsides, it lacks some useful protection modules that are found in ESET Internet Security, like the firewall, webcam protection, anti-theft, antispam, and so on.

Product Rated


ESET NOD32 Antivirus is an antivirus of good quality, which can protect you efficiently against any major types of threats. The antivirus blocks any malware coming from portable storage units such as USB memory sticks or SD cards, and the web shield can stop you from visiting websites with malicious content such as ransomware or phishing scams. If you want one of the best antiviruses for Windows, get ESET NOD32 Antivirus, and you won't regret it. However, for more complete protection, against more types of threats, we recommend ESET Internet Security.

The download and installation experience

To get ESET NOD32 Antivirus on your PC, you must first download an installation file called eset_nod32_antivirus_live_installer.exe. It has a size of only 5.20 MB, but during the installation, it downloads another 60 MB of data.

The wizard downloads the files necessary to install ESET NOD32 Antivirus

The first step of the installation wizard is to choose what language you prefer to use. After you accept the terms of use, you can enter the license details, buy a new license, or activate the trial version. Fortunately, if you only want to test the product, it is enough just to provide a valid email address and select your country of residence. You are not required to provide any other personal details, which is good.

Choosing how to activate ESET NOD32 Antivirus

Then you can choose if you want to contribute to ESET LiveGrid, as well as enable or disable the detection of potentially unwanted applications. We recommend that you enable both options. LiveGrid helps ESET to collect information about suspicious items and react faster to new threats. Potentially unwanted apps, though not viruses in the true sense of the word, can be as annoying and harmful as regular malware.

Enabling ESET LiveGrid and the detection of potentially unwanted programs

Once the antivirus finishes installing itself, it starts an automatic update process of its definitions and then launches a full system scan. This initial full system scan takes quite a long time, but its results are used to increase the speed of subsequent antivirus scans substantially.

Initial antivirus system scan run by ESET NOD32 Antivirus

Downloading and installing ESET NOD32 Antivirus is easy and fast. Although the initial system scan takes a long time to finish, the positive is that it speeds up the next antivirus scans.

Integration with Windows, web browsers and apps from the Microsoft Store

During its installation, ESET NOD32 Antivirus disables Windows Defender, which is great, as it eliminates potential conflicts or performance issues. It also scans the internet traffic going on your computer, protecting you regardless of what web browser you like to use. ESET also secures its running processes, so viruses shouldn't be able to stop your antivirus from working correctly. As for the resources it needs to run, ESET NOD32 Antivirus consumes less than 100 MB of RAM even when it runs a system scans, which is not much.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus needs roughly 100 MB of RAM

We have also checked the effect of ESET NOD32 Antivirus on the boot times of our test computer. BootRacer told us that, on average, the antivirus increased the boot time by less than one second.

To check if the internet or network transfer speeds are affected by ESET NOD32 Antivirus, we ran a few tests with and LAN Speed ‚Äč‚ÄčTest. The speeds we got were roughly the same before and after installing the antivirus.

This antivirus is well integrated with Windows 10. Its influence is minimal on your computer performance.

Ease of use and configuration

The user interface of ESET NOD32 Antivirus relies on the same design as other products from the company: ESET Internet Security and ESET Smart Security Premium. It is easy to use, and it looks good. It has large sections, big buttons and plenty of switches, thus making it easy to use on devices with touchscreens. The main tools and options are split into a few main sections which you access from the left side of the window, while the content of the current section is shown on the right. On the homepage, you can see the current state of security on your Windows device. If it's colored in green, everything is OK, but if it's red, then there are urgent issues that you need to take care of.

The homepage of the user interface of ESET NOD32 Antivirus

The tools and options in ESET NOD32 Antivirus can be configured individually by accessing each, one at a time. However, if you want quick and easy access to all the advanced settings and options, you need to go into Advanced setup by pressing the button with the same name in the lower-right corner of the Setup page.

The Advanced setup settings from ESET NOD32 Antivirus

Most actions and settings are well explained in the context. However, if you need more help or support, you can open the "Help and support" section, where you can access documentation as well as contact customer service.

The Help and support options offered by ESET NOD32 Antivirus

ESET NOD32 Antivirus also creates statistics and reports about your computer. They are easy to understand but are also detailed: you get text logs as well as visual statistics.

Security report from ESET NOD32 Antivirus

When something significant takes place on your computer or when you have to make a decision about your security, ESET NOD32 Antivirus displays notifications on your desktop.

The user interface offered by ESET NOD32 Antivirus looks good and is easy to use. It's designed both for non-technical users and for power users.

Antivirus and antispyware protection

To evaluate the effectiveness of ESET NOD32 Antivirus while protecting you from online threats, we have used the most popular web browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera) to visit websites with malicious content. ESET NOD32 Antivirus blocked all of them in all the web browsers. It is an excellent result.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus blocking a phishing website

We then checked the reaction of ESET NOD32 Antivirus when we connected a memory stick to the PC, that had lots of malware. It asked whether we wanted to scan the stick or not. We have, of course, chosen to scan it. After a few moments, the USB memory stick did not have any virus on it, which is an excellent result.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus notification when you plug in a USB memory stick

For our last test, we installed Windows 10 on a laptop, and then we infected it with several dangerous viruses, including ransomware. Then, we installed ESET NOD32 Antivirus. It immediately detected some of the infected files and processes, and after the initial scan of the system, the laptop was completely clean of malware. It is an excellent result that confirms the quality of the antivirus engine.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus detecting and removing malware infections

Another important factor in assessing the performance of an antivirus engine is the scanning speed. We measured the speed with which ESET NOD32 Antivirus scanned our 256GB SSD with approximately 50 GB of files on it. The average scan time was about a minute, which is fast.

Last but not least, we also looked at what other independent security organizations had to say about ESET:

  • AV-Test tested the previous version of ESET Internet Security and gave it a verdict of 5.5 points out of 6 for protection, 4 points out of 6 for performance and 5.5 points for usability.
  • AV-Comparatives also evaluated ESET. They gave it the maximum rating of Advanced+ in their performance test and a Standard verdict in their malware protection test.
  • Virus Bulletin rated ESET Internet Security with their VB100 Passed verdict and measured a WildList detection of 100%, a false positive rate of 0%, and a Diversity test rate of 100%.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus has one of the best antivirus engines in the world, and that means that you get top-notch protection against all types of malware threats.

Default settings you may want to adjust

ESET NOD32 Antivirus is configured well by default, but there still are a few things you may want to improve:

  • Enable scanning when the system is idle. You can enable this option in "Setup -> Advanced setup -> Detection Engine -> Malware scans -> Idle-state scan -> Enable Idle-state scanning."
  • Although ESET recommends that we run antivirus scans regularly, ESET NOD32 Antivirus is not set to run any antivirus scans by default. For a higher level of security, you might want to schedule such a scan. You can do it in "Tools -> Scheduler."
Enabling idle-state scanning in ESET NOD32 Antivirus

ESET NOD32 Antivirus has a good default configuration so there aren't many things we can recommend that you change. However, there are a few settings which you can improve nonetheless.

What is your opinion about ESET NOD32 Antivirus?

Now that you've finished reading this review, you know that we have a good opinion about ESET NOD32 Antivirus. Before leaving, we would love to read your opinion. Do not hesitate to leave a comment below, and share your experience or opinion about ESET's antivirus products.