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Kaspersky Free Antivirus 2017 Review - Compared to Premium

By: Dennis Z
Kaspersky Free Review

My review of Kaspersky Free Antivirus covers the pros and cons of the free version of Kaspersky versus its premium versions - those that cost money.

The goal of this review is to determine whether the free product provides all the necessary features, how aggressive it is in terms of advertising and up-selling, and evaluate the value for money in the additional features you receive when you buy a premium subscription.

Our complete review of Kaspersky and its line of security products explores all the features and contains in-house and third-party test results.

Kaspersky Free Antivirus Dashboard

Kaspersky Free Antivirus Dashboard

Let's begin by looking at the pros & cons of this free antivirus.

Pros and Cons of Kaspersky Free Antivirus

These are the pros & cons of the free antivirus vs. the premium Kaspersky security products. You can explore the company and its products further in our general overview of Kaspersky.

Pros:
  • Top ranking in independent test scores
  • Plenty of useful features are available
  • No promotional notifications
Cons:
  • Installs a VPN without asking
  • A lot of promotions on the dashboard
  • Must register for a free account

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Article Index

Writing This Review

I started by installing Kaspersky, which you can download here:

FREE

Kaspersky Free Antivirus

The process is pretty simple and takes approximately 10 minutes.

Installing Kaspersky Free Antivirus

Installing Kaspersky Free Antivirus

Only after the installation was complete I found out that I have to register for a free My Kaspersky account which is basically an online dashboard for managing your subscriptions and devices.

Registration on My Kaspersky

Registration on My Kaspersky

After the registration was complete, the dashboard was available.

7.0 / 10

Kaspersky Secure Connection - a VPN Bundled with the Antivirus Installation

Another thing I noticed after the installation is that Kaspersky Secure Connection (a VPN product) was installed as well.

There was no option to opt out at any stage of the installation, but I did receive a notification about it in the Windows Action Center:

Kaspersky Secure Connection Windows Notification

Windows Alert

This free version of the Kaspersky Secure Connection allows you to use up to 200MB of data.

Secure Connection Client

Secure Connection Client

If you don't need it, you can uninstall it through the Add/Remove Programs screen in the Windows Control Panel.

Uninstalling Secure Connection will not affect the Free Antivirus installation.

9.2 / 10

Free Features vs. Paid Features

In general, free software tends to contain less features and more promotional material than its paid counterparts.

For example, Bitdefender Free has no ads, but aside from a scanner and real time protection it's stripped to the bone of extra preferences.

Kaspersky,on the other hand, offers a good variety of settings but it's a bit heavy on the promotional side.

Here are the main premium features you won't enjoy with this free antivirus:

All of these disabled features are displayed on the main dashboard which turns a large chunk of it into one big ad.

In addition, the "Recommendations" in the "Notification Center" advertise additional Kaspersky products.

Kaspersky Notification Center

Kaspersky Notification Center

On the bright side, I couldn't find any restrictions of scanning or scheduling scans!

Scheduling a Scan on Kaspersky

Scheduling a Scan on Kaspersky

The support options are limited to tickets if you're a free user, and you have to be logged in to the My Kaspersky portal to open a ticket.

Opening a Support Ticket

Opening a Support Ticket

If you need one of the missing components or options, you can get the premium version of Kaspersky, here:

PREMIUM

Kaspersky Total Security 2018

8.5 / 10

Unavailable Components

The free antivirus has a long list of disabled modules which you can activate by purchasing the paid version.

And there's a hefty chunk of its client's menus and dashboards that contain upgrade offers.

Protection Components on Kaspersky

Protection Components

I didn't experience any additional advertising except for occasional newsletters.

8.5 / 10

No Pop Ups

As I already mentioned, there are no pop ups on Kaspersky, unless when you hit an "Upgrade" button on the Client or on the My Kaspersky portal.

My Conclusion

Overall, Kaspersky Free Antivirus is pretty impressive in terms of features.

While it's pretty pushy in terms of upselling, I have to give it credit for not having ugly banners.

Another aspect is of course the brilliant lab test results of it's antivirus engine.

Our complete review of Kaspersky covers the complete set of features you can receive across the different security products, and several additional tests we perform ourselves.

Pros:
  • Top ranking in independent test scores
  • Plenty of useful features are available
  • No promotional notifications
Cons:
  • Installs a VPN without asking
  • A lot of promotions on the dashboard
  • Must register for a free account

FREE

Kaspersky Free Antivirus

Kaspersky Free Antivirus offers its users an award-winning anti-malware engine with quite a few convenient features, and you can get all that for free without finding yourself flooded by unsolicited pop up notifications.

Kaspersky Free
Date published:December 8, 2017
8.8 / 10 stars

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