Security for everyone - Review Avast Premier
The world of free antivirus products is dominated by a few companies, one of them being the popular Avast. They develop and distribute one of the best free antivirus applications you can find, but that is not the only security product they have in their portfolio. The premium security solution they sell is called Avast Premier, and it offers users an antivirus engine, a firewall module and all sorts of other security modules destined to protect your Windows devices. We have tested it for a couple of days and, after seeing all its pros and cons, we are now ready to share our findings with you, in this review:
What is Avast Premier good at?
Avast Premier is a security product that is good at:
- Looking good and being easy to use
- Finding and removing malware from your computer
- Protecting you well against network attacks, when you are connected to public networks
Avast Premier vs. Avast Internet Security
Both Avast Premier and Avast Internet Security offer the same core components, and both can protect you just as well. However, compared to the slightly cheaper Avast Internet Security, Avast Premier can also:
- Stop malware and hackers from accessing your webcam,
- Permanently delete sensitive files, and
- Automatically update third-party software installed on your computer.
Considering all that, if you can spare a few dollars more, Avast Premier is a better deal. However, if every penny matters to you, you can do just as well with Avast Internet Security.
Pros and cons
Here are some of the positive features of Avast Premier:
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- The antivirus engine is fast and efficient at cleaning viruses from your computer
- The firewall module offers excellent protection when you are connected to public networks
- The user interface has a nice design and is easy to use by beginners
- There are also many advanced settings for experienced users to enjoy
Here are the not so positive aspects of Avast Premier:
- The web shield module does not work as it should, and it does not stop you from loading dangerous phishing websites
- There are no logs for detailed information about what happened on your computer
- The antivirus module does not automatically scan, nor ask if you want to scan removable drives for viruses
- The security suite installs a web browser extension that has nothing to do with security: Avast Safe Price. This is just a method to monetize users, even if they have already paid for Avast Premier
- If you need complex support over the phone, you will probably have to pay more money to Avast
- Avast Premier slows down your computer's boot time
- Some of the bundled apps cost additional money, including the VPN service
- The security suite does not offer parental controls
Avast Premier is a security suite that has many positives as well as negatives. For positives, you get a good antivirus engine that can clean any infection, an excellent firewall module that can protect you against any network threat, and a user interface that looks good and is easy to use, especially for beginners. However, the antivirus engine does not react when you use removable media, the firewall module is only average when you use a private network profile, and the user interface lacks a good logs and statistics section. If you also take into consideration that the phone support or the VPN service that are bundled with the suite are things that cost additional money, we conclude that this is a security product that you should test before you buy. We do not feel that Avast Premier is a security product that we can recommend to everyone.
The download and installation experience
To install Avast Premier on your Windows computer, you must first download it from its official website, which you can find here. You get a small executable file named avast_premier_antivirus_setup_online.exe, with a size of 6.84 MB. Noteworthy, Avast does not ask for any personal information to let you download and install a trial version of Avast Premier.
What's strange about Avast Premier is that it will try to bundle Google Chrome alongside its protection modules. Bundling additional software is something you would expect from a free product, but not from a paid one. If you do not want to use Google Chrome as your web browser, pay attention when starting the installation of Avast Premier and disable this option.
Running the installer means that you get to download approximately 65 MB of files. However, the exact size of the download differs according to the protection modules that you choose to install. Because yes, this security product lets you select what you want to install and what not.
When choosing what components you want to install, think twice about the SafePrice browser extension, which does nothing for you regarding security. The SafePrice browser extension only gives you alternatives to the products you search online, on different shopping websites.
On our test computer, the download and installation processes took place without any interruptions or problems. At the end, the installation wizard asks whether you want to install Avast's security suite on your Android smartphone too.
Then, the security suite loads its user interface and asks about the networks to which you are connected. When the firewall detects a new network, it always asks whether it is a private or a public one. Depending on your answer, the firewall adjusts its protection level automatically, and it also changes the network profile set in Windows.
Taking a first look at the user interface, we also noticed that Avast Premier was already using the latest virus definitions available on the company's servers, and that is a good thing.
The download and installation experience we had for Avast Premier was a good one. We appreciated the fact that you do not have to provide any personal information to test the security suite, and that you can choose which protection modules you want to install. However, we do not appreciate the fact that Avast Premier tries to install a web browser extension (SafePrice) that has nothing to do with your security. It is just a way to make more money for Avast on behalf of paying customers.
Integration with Windows, web browsers and universal Windows platform apps
When we installed it on our test computer, Avast Premier automatically disabled both Windows Defender and Windows Firewall. That is a good thing because it will help avoid unwanted performance issues and possible conflicts. Avast Premier is also well integrated with Windows' networking features - we had no problems when creating or joining a homegroup, when sharing files and folders or when using universal Windows platform apps.
When you connect to a new network, the firewall module asks what kind of network that is. You can choose between a public and a private profile for each network, just like in Windows.
When it comes to your online security, Avast Premier protects you with the help of its web shield module, which filters all the internet traffic from your computer and blocks everything suspicious. However, Avast Premier also offers two different web browser extensions that should provide even more security. They are called Avast Online Security and Avast SafePrice. The Avast Online Security web browser extension is designed to block your access and notify you when you are about to visit an infected website.
The other one though - Avast SafePrice - is created to give you better deals when you are shopping online, by sending information to Avast and giving you targeted ads in return. In Windows 10, these web browser extensions are installed by default for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Our recommendation is to disable and uninstall Avast SafePrice because it does nothing to improve your security.
We also looked at how much Avast Premier increased the boot time of our test computer. To do that, we used BootRacer to measure the boot time before and after installing this security suite. Unfortunately, the increase was significant, about 30 percent. On another note though, we found that Avast Premier consumes little RAM, the average consumption being 65 MB of RAM.
To check whether the internet or local network speeds are affected by Avast Premier, we also ran a few tests with Speedtest.net and with LAN Speed Test. The tests that we ran showed that neither the download nor the upload speed was affected by the security suite. In other words, it has no negative effect on network transfer speeds and no effect on internet data transfers.
Avast Premier appears to be a security product that is well integrated with Windows and its networking features. However, we do not like it when a security product is bundling web browser extensions that promise "safe prices, better deals," and when it increases the boot time of our computer, like Avast Premier appears to be doing.
Ease of use & configuration
Avast Premier has a very good-looking user interface, with a design based on smooth gradients and thin lines. The accent colors of choice are green and purple, and the main console tells you in a glimpse what your computer's status is, while also letting you "Run Smart Scan." When you press this button, you trigger a scan on your computer for viruses, outdated software, browser add-ons with a bad reputation, network threats, performance issues, and weak passwords.
The left side of the user interface is home to a few buttons that let you access the most important features, tools, and settings offered by the suite. For instance, this is the place from which you can launch antivirus scans, start any of the tools bundled with the security suite or open the settings of Avast Premier.
Speaking of settings, most of them are easy to understand and configure, as Avast Premier offers both switches and check mark lists.
Avast Premier is also quite good at helping you understand what its tools and settings do. For instance, the settings that are a bit more technical have a small information icon on their right sides. If you click on it, you get more details about what the setting does. Also, if you need more in-depth help or support, Avast Premier has you covered: you can browse through detailed help documentation, send support requests via a contact, or ask for phone support. However, the latter option only covers installing and configuring your Avast product. If you have more complex issues, like the ones caused by a virus on your computer, Avast's technicians can help only if you pay an additional subscription, with a price that is definitely not negligible.
In case you are curious, you might also be interested in the logs and statistics displayed by Avast Premier. Unfortunately, we cannot say that we are satisfied with what it offers. The logs are hard to find, and the information they offer is poor, to say the least. If you want reports, you must manually configure the security suite to generate them, and that means that you get some text files which you must find on your computer using File Explorer. It is not a friendly approach at all.
Regarding alerts and notifications, Avast Premier is a bit more talkative than other similar software. We have seen popups related to malware being detected on our test computer but also notifications about other things.
Avast Premier has a good-looking user interface and finding your way through it is fairly easy. We appreciated the use of switches and checkmark settings, but we did not like the lack of logs and statistics. Also, in-depth support is available only if you buy a separate subscription that costs a lot of money.
On the next page of this review, you can see how capable Avast Premier is at protecting your Windows computer from network attacks and malware. You can also see what additional features are included in this security suite, and check our recommendations for what settings you should adjust.