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Avira Free Security Suite and Free Antivirus Review 2017

By: Dennis Z
Avira Free Review

In this review of Avira Free Security Suite I discuss he main advantages and disadvantages of using the free software as opposed to using the paid one.

The main focus of this review is the Avira Free Antivirus, but I also briefly discuss the additional tools which the complete Free Security Suite provides, such as the free versions of Avira's VPN and System Speedup tools.

For a complete review of the security features provided by Avira's various products, read our complete Avira review.

Avira Free Antivirus

Avira Free Antivirus

Let's start this review of Avira Free Antivirus by looking at the pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Avira Free Antivirus

Important to mention once again that I'm looking at the benefits and drawbacks of the free version versus the paid version, rather than compare Avira to other antivirus software.

Pros:
  • Real-time antivirus protection
  • Free forever
  • No bundled junkware
Cons:
  • Popups every 24-48 hours
  • Web protection disabled
  • Email protection disabled
  • No gamer mode
  • No tech support

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Article Index

Reviewing Avira Free Antivirus

I started by downloading the free trial of Avira Antivirus Pro which you can download yourself, here:

Try Avira Antivirus Pro

I looked at the interface for comparing it to the free version afterwards.

Here's how the interface for the paid antivirus looks like:

Avira Antivirus Pro

Avira Antivirus Pro

After reviewing the paid version, I removed it and downloaded Avira Free Security Suite.

Since the suite is filled with additional tools, the installation is significantly longer, but for a one time installation it's not an issue in my humble opinion.

8.7 / 10

Free Features vs. Paid Features

As with any free security product, there's a difference from the paid product in terms of features and/or an intentionally reduced user experience.

Avira Antivirus Free contains the essential security features, including real-time protection and automatic virus definition updates.

Disabled antivirus features on the free version of Avira:

An additional drawback of the free version is the lack of personal tech support.

If you have a problem, phone and email support is only available to paying customers.

Free users have to rely on the online knowledge base and the community at the Avira Answers forum.

7.2 / 10

Avira Connect: A Dashboard for Selling You Avira Products

If you choose to install the Avira Free Security Suite rather than simply installing Avira Free Antivirus, you will receive the following free products:

Along with those products, you'll receive apps that run on startup and slow down the boot time, and background processes which provide an additional load on your system resources.

Avira Connect Dashboard

Avira Connect Dashboard

Here's how it looks after I installed the entire thing, without actively using any of the tools:

Avira Connect Background Processes

Avira Connect Background Processes

That's not great, folks.

Limitations apply to the free versions of most of these tools and you're encouraged to upgrade them to the paid versions.

However, I have to say that Avira does it tactfully without nagging too much or being too intrusive.

Software Upgrades via the Avira Connect Dashboard

Software Upgrades via the Avira Connect Dashboard

If you only install the Free Antivirus, you will get the Avira Connect dashboard whether you like it or not. You can install additional tools if you need them, without overbearing your system with the ones you don't need.

Let's review the core drawbacks of these additional products.

Avira Free Software Updater

This tool allows you to keep track of outdated software, thus closing known exploits in third-party software as soon as an update is available.

The paid version monitors 120+ different programs, and unlike the free version, allows you to set automatic updates for selected programs, or use a one-click-update feature to choose which of the programs to update.

Avira Free Software Updater

Avira Free Software Updater

Avira Free Phantom VPN

The paid Avira Phantom VPN doesn't limit your traffic, unlike the free VPN which limits you to a monthly cap of 500MB.

Another feature missing from the free version is an "emergency shut down" switch.

If you must remain anonymous and all of a sudden the VPN connection drops, this feature will block all internet traffic ensuring you're not exposed.

Avira Free System Speedup

An ad on right of the interface will remind you that it's a free product, along with a small "Pro" tag near features which are blocked to free users.

Here are the core differences between the free and paid versions of this extra tool:

Avira System Speedup - Free vs. Paid

Avira System Speedup - Free vs. Paid

As you can see, aside from a few basic tools, the entire Free System Speedup is an ad for the paid version.

Avira Scout Browser

A Google Chrome based browser which automatically imports your settings and bookmarks from your default browser upon installation.

The main benefit of the Scout is that it keeps you in private mode, which every other modern web browser allows as well.

It's 100% free and doesn't have a paid version.

Avira SafeSearch Plus

This is a browser add-on which is installed automatically and sends you to Avira's search engine which is based on Google.

There's nothing exceptional about it which other similar browser extensions don't provide, such as site rating, download monitoring and an indicator for an SSL connection on the search results page.

Just like the Scout browser, it's completely free.

7.8 / 10

Occasional Pop Ups

As with other free programs, you will receive occasional notifications prompting you to upgrade your free products.

This, for example, is a pop up you see immediately upon installing Avira:

Avira Popup

Avira Popup

With Avira this happens every 24-48 hours, based on your preference.

If you click on the small "no notification" icon in the top right corner of the pop up, you'll see the settings.

The default setting is 48 hours, and disabling these pop-ups is only possible for paying users.

Avira Notification Settings

Avira Notification Settings

In addition to these occasional pop ups, you will see promotions for the paid version of Avira Antivirus within the software itself, but it's very subtle. No huge banners screaming at you, simply options to upgrade here and there.

Aside from that, you might receive promotional emails from Avira if you register on their website.

My Conclusion

Avira Free Antivirus is a great product overall!

Independent antivirus lab tests rank it at the top of the charts, and consistently so.

Much less great is the Avira Free Security Suite which feels more like a big and complicated ad.

If my review gave you enough information to conclude that Avira Free Antivirus is good enough for your daily needs, start by installing it. If you need additional tools, like a VPN, you can install it separately when you need it from the Avira Connect dashboard.

If you still have questions about Avira's security products, read our complete review of Avira.

Pros:
  • Real-time antivirus protection
  • Free forever
  • No bundled junkware
Cons:
  • Popups every 24-48 hours
  • Web protection disabled
  • Email protection disabled
  • No gamer mode
  • No tech support

Get Avira Free Antivirus

Kudos to Vlad Zhelezniak for testing this free antivirus for a couple of weeks and providing the core insights for this free antivirus software review.

By Dennis Z

Privacy fanatic & online marketing guru

A millennial privacy freak who wouldn’t normally even put his first name anywhere, not to mention his last name or his photo. Having learned basic programming at the advanced age of 11, computers have always been a part of his life in every aspect.

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Avira offers a free antivirus for anyone who's interested and a free security suite with additional security and privacy tools. Before you go ahead and install the entire bundle, check this review of Avira's free products to make sure you're not installing anything you don't really need.

Avira Free
Date published:July 18, 2017
8.5 / 10 stars

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