The good: Panda Antivirus 2008 includes antispyware protection.
The bad: Panda Antivirus 2008 has not been reviewed by many independent antivirus test sites, making it hard to say how effective it is; it tends to be slower than the competition; support is light, with almost no documentation and a requirement that Panda own any personal information sent via e-mail technical support.
The bottom line: Panda Antivirus 2008 is slower than the competition and lacks independent, third-party antivirus test results, and thus doesn't receive our recommendation.
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CNET editors' review
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This year, Panda offers two distinct antivirus products. To compare with other products tested and reviewed by CNET this year, we chose the Panda Antivirus 2008. A second product, Panda Antivirus plus Firewall 2008 was not reviewed. The $39.95 price for a three-user license is at the low end, which is good. However, when compared with the also economical BitDefender Antivirus 2008
, Panda comes up short, lacking some features and, more importantly, similar test results. Panda is slower and is mostly unrated in independent, third-party antivirus test results. If you're looking for economy, chose BitDefender. If you're looking for the best antivirus product for 2008, we recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2008
, our Editors' Choice.
Panda Antivirus 2008 includes three PC licenses for $39.95. By comparison, BitDefender Antivirus offers its three-user license for $29.95. Kaspersky offers a single license at $49.95 and charges $59.95 for its three-user license. Panda Antivirus 2008 runs on Windows 2000, XP, and Vista, while Norton AntiVirus 2008 works only on XP and Vista.
After downloading the 35MB file, Panda performs an initial scan of your system, and in our case, found eight different examples of spyware. Unfortunately, Panda didn't tell us precisely what spyware it found; only that it deleted it. Later, we could find no record of this scan for reference, although we did find subsequent log files of spyware that had been removed. We prefer to have control over what is quarantined or removed from our machine, and wish Panda had provided us with more information.
Should you want to remove Panda Antivirus 2008, there is an uninstall wizard available. Upon reboot, we did not find any traces of Panda left on our machine.
Panda Antivirus 2008 includes an interface with bright, contrasting colors and basic graphics.
Compared to the interfaces found with other antivirus products, Panda Antivirus 2008 is simple, even cartoonish: bright, contrasting colors, with basic graphics; as though Fisher-Price made antivirus interfaces for kids. We were, however, pleased to find configuration options within easy reach.
During a manual scan, we were unable to open other features of the program, something we could do in other antivirus apps.
Panda Antivirus 2008 includes TruPrevent, Panda's heuristic engine that proactively blocks viruses. However, it blocks only viruses. The full version of TruPrevent, which blocks other forms of malware as well, is available in the Panda Antivirus and Firewall and Panda Internet Security products.
Antiphishing protection is included with Panda Antivirus, but Panda Antivirus and Firewall and Panda Internet Security products include additional protection from malware lurking on Web pages.
Panda scored near the middle of the antivirus products in CNET Labs' performance tests. On our iTunes test, Panda was fast at 270 seconds, just 2 seconds more than our test system. On our
Microsoft Office test, Panda was solidly in the middle at 1,355 seconds. In a test scanning a single folder with compressed and media files, Panda scored a fast 135 seconds, however, the default setting excludes many of the compressed files used in our test. And in terms of boot speed, Panda came in dead last at 39 seconds. To find out how we test antivirus software, see CNET Labs' How we test: Antivirus software page.
In terms of protecting your PC, we cite results from two leading independent antivirus testing organizations. Panda was not tested by AV-Comparatives.org. CheckVir.com tested Panda Internet Security 2006 and awarded it a Standard rating, meaning it was evaluated only on its ability to search for viruses, but not the removal of them.
Although we were told U.S. residents didn't have to accept this disclaimer, the notice still appears in domestic downloads of Panda Antivirus 2008.
Support is extremely light for Panda Antivirus 2008. The built-in Help file lacks significant detail. The Panda Web site includes an interactive troubleshooter, which seems promising until it takes you to the weak knowledgebase section. Other antivirus apps have interactive self-diagnostics, so be careful of this terminology; Panda uses something else. On the Panda knowledgebase page, when you type in a query, the site spits back an FAQ in response. If you want to cut to the chase and see all the preanswered questions in advance, simply click Hot Topics. There is a secondary PDF document; it, too, was light on technical details. Nor could we find a user forum, chat, or telephone support section.
E-mail technical support includes a curious box that says any personal information you send to Panda becomes property of Panda and its business partners. We could not advance our query unless we agreed. When we asked our Panda representatives, they explained that users within the United States should not have seen that box, that it is a requirement only within Europe. After waiting six weeks for Panda to remove this check box, we downloaded a fresh copy of the program and found that it still included the checkbox.
We do not recommend Panda Antivirus 2008. For the price, we think that BitDefender Antivirus 2008 is a better deal in both protection and features. Overall, we recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2008 as the best antivirus product for 2008.