Security for everyone - Reviewing Panda Global Protection
Panda Security is an IT security company headquartered in Spain, which focuses on developing and selling specialized antivirus software for home users and businesses alike. They have been around since the dawn of the internet, 1990 to be exact. They are well known for their security innovations based on cloud technologies and, generally, in preventing cybercrime. The most “complete” security solution that they develop for the home users is called Panda Global Protection and it has reached version number 17. For the last 10 days or so, we used and tested it, and now we’re ready to share with you everything we’ve found about it. If you’re curious to see whether this is a good security solution for you, read this review:
The download and installation experience
In order to use and test Panda Global Protection, we had to download and install a free trial version. To get it, you must visit Panda’s website and download a small executable file called PANDAGP.exe, with a size of only 1.73 MB.
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Then, you run it and you get to choose the installation folder, the language of the security suite, whether you want Panda Global Protection to install Panda Safe Web. This is a web browser extension which promises that it will protect you against malicious websites. It will also try to change your default search provider and the default home page of your web browser. Our recommendation is that you uncheck these two latter options. If you choose to enable them, you should know that Panda’s search provider and homepage are both powered by Yahoo.
Then, Panda Global Protection starts downloading the data needed for the installation to continue. It’s worth noting that you can’t choose the security modules that will get installed. And, it’s also possible that the installation will fail at this step. At least this is what happened to us, on two different computers. The installation repeatedly ended with the following error message: “There was an error during the process and it failed to complete successfully”.
Fortunately, the installation wizard offered us a way out: a Download button which opened the default web browser and initiated the download of the full installation kit for Panda Global Protection. It was an executable file with a size of 65.1 MB and, needless to say, this new installer worked flawlessly.
When the installation was repaired, it asked for a computer reboot. If you stumble upon the same problem, we strongly recommend that you reboot your PC, otherwise Panda Global Protection will not be able to fully protect you.
Then, after we restarted our computer and launched the user interface, we were greeted with a message that asked us to activate the product. This meant that we had to provide Pandawith a valid email address.
A few seconds later, the security suite was activated and we could see the user interface.
Downloading and installing Panda Global Protection on your Windows computer should be an easy task. Unfortunately, the installation wizard kept failing. Luckily, Panda offered an alternative installation package, which worked well and we managed to get security suite running on our test computer. This was not a positive start.
Integration with Windows, web browsers and universal Windows platform apps
The first thing we checked in terms of integration with Windows, was whether Panda Global Protectiondoes or doesn’t disables Windows Defender and Windows Firewall. The good news is that it does that during its installation. By doing so, Panda Global Protectionmakes sure that you won’t encounter unexpected conflicts or performance issues that can take place when you run multiple similar security products. This antivirus product is well integrated with Windows 10 in terms of networking. We were able to create and join a homegroup on the local network, and we had no issues when sharing files or when we used universal Windows platform apps.
We also wanted to see if the firewall module automatically changes its protection depending on the network profile that you set in Windows. Unfortunately, it doesn’t! Regardless of the network profile you have set in Windows, Panda’sfirewall always uses its Home protection mode. Even if you are connected to a public network, Panda’s firewall still treats it like a home network. We also found it rather strange that Panda Global Protectionuses three different network profiles: Home, Work and Public place. In modern Windows operating systems, like Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, the network profiles available are Private and Public. Panda is somewhat on another tune, if we may call it so.
When it comes to your online security, Panda Global Protection protects you by scanning and filtering all the internet traffic that goes on your computer. That’s a good thing because it means that you’ll get protection in any web browser or app that you use to surf the web. Additionally, it also includes a web browser extension called Panda Safe Web that’s designed to block malicious websites as well as make your web searches safer. This extension is available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
We looked at the RAM memory consumption of Panda Global Protection. We found that this security suite uses as little as 25 MB of RAM memory when nothing special is happening on your PC, and only about 50 MB of RAM memory when something does happen, like a virus being detected. These are low numbers, so we wanted to investigate further.
Then, we checked the boot time of our test computer, with the help of a little app called BootRacer. The times we measured were the same before and after Panda Global Protection was installed. This result confirms the low impact Panda has on your computer’s performance. To get an even clearer picture, we also ran PCMark 8’s Home acceleratedbenchmark tests and we had the same results prior and after installing this security suite. Our final conclusion is that Panda Global Protection has absolutely no negative effect on the speed and performance of your Windows computer. That’s great!
Panda Global Protection offers a web shield that filters all the HTTP traffic on your computer, which means that you will get protection in any web browser you use. It also offers a web browser extension which can also secure your web searches. The security suite does everything it’s supposed to do without affecting your computer’s performance and speed. The only thing we don’t like about Panda Global Protection is that its firewall module can’t detect the network profile you set in Windows and you have to manually adjust its protection each time you connect to a new network. This is a cumbersome task which most users won’t do.
Ease of use and configuration
Panda Global Protectionoffers a very interesting user interface, based on tiles, like those you see on Windows 8.1’s Startscreen or Windows 10’s Start Menu. Each and every module and tool has its own tile on the user interface, showing you brief information about it, as well a serving as a shortcut to that module’s available options, actions, and settings.
Unfortunately, the user interface is rather laggy. On the bottom of the main window, there are three buttons which can be used to switch to the second or to the third “screen” of the user interface. Each time we clicked them, the transition stuttered.
The way the user interface looks makes it feel a bit crowded because there are just too many tiles on it. The good thing is that you can move those tiles around, as well as remove (or add) some of them. If you prefer a simpler experience, with only the basics, you’ll probably remove many of the tiles that are displayed by default.
The good thing about using tiles, however, is that they are easy to use on any kind of device, even on touchscreen devices. That applies to settings too, as Panda Global Protection relies on large buttons and many switches in order to give you control to what it does.
In terms of help and support options, this product offers online documentation, access to community forums and to a Frequently Asked Questions page. There’s also an option to email or even contact Panda on Twitter in order to get help. Unfortunately, there are no offline help files and there is no live chat or phone support available.
One thing many will appreciate at Panda Global Protection is the fact that this security solution offers plenty of detailed logs and statistics. Also, it offers some visual reports about the security related events that took place on your computer.
In terms of notifications and alerts, Panda Global Protectionis neither verbose nor silent. During the time we tested it, we saw alerts when malware was found, which is good, but we also got annoyed by a trial expiration date notification that popped out each time we opened the user interface.
The user interface offered by Panda Global Protection is, to say the least, different from that of other security suites. While it is not difficult to use it alsoworkswell also for devices with touchscreens, the transitions between sections and screens are laggy. The company should invest a bit of effort into improving the responsiveness of the user interface and the way it is organized so that it is less crowded.
Go to the next page of this review and see how effective Panda Global Protectionis at protecting your computer from network attacks and malware. You will also see our final verdict for this antivirus product.