Compare Antivirus Lab Test Results:

Panda Free Antivirus Review 2017: No Ads and No Mandatory Sign Up

By: Dennis Z
Panda Security Free Review

Panda Free Antivirus is a lightweight security product the core of which is based on the company's servers - in the cloud.

This Panda Free Antivirus review compares this product to its premium version.

I discuss the missing features, upgrade prompts, bundled software and anything else that may impact user experience, when a user opts for this free security software.

For a complete overview of features, test scores and more, check out our complete review of Panda Security.

Panda Free Antivirus

Panda Free Antivirus

Pros and Cons of Panda Free Antivirus

Bear in mind that in this section I only consider the advantages and disadvantages of the free software versus the paid software, not the quality of features and the overall strength of the company's security product itself.

If you need more detailed information about the company and its entire line of security products, read our review of Panda Security.

Pros:
  • Real-time protection
  • On-demand scan scheduling
  • Creating an account isn't mandatory
  • No promotional pop ups
  • Additional useful features
Cons:
  • Bundled software enabled by default upon installation
  • No tech support for free users (only user forums)

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

We promise to only send really good deals and important updates. No spam.

Article Index

Reviewing Panda Free Antivirus

I stumbled across something odd as I set out to write this review and I think it's important to mention it.

When you download Panda Free Antivirus, you are redirected to CNET's downloads site.

Don't worry, that's fine.

Hosting proprietary software downloads on any site other than the company's official website is not a very common occurrence among serious security firms, but I guess Panda Security has its reasons.

Just click the big green download button, and run the file when the download is completed.

This will begin the installation:

Panda Free Antivirus Installer

Panda Free Antivirus Installer

4.0 / 10

Bundled Software Added to Installation by Default

There's one thing that I didn't like right from the beginning:

Not only is the Panda installer set up to install their SafeWeb browser toolbar by default, but it's also configured to change your homepage and your default search engine to their own website and default search provider.

Their search provider is Yahoo, BTW.

Bundled Software and Services

Bundled Software and Services

As you may already know, that's one way for a company that provides free software to earn money:

There's nothing illegitimate about this, but checking these boxes by default leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

So make sure you un-check those before you click on Accept and Install.

Opt Out of Bundled Software and Services

Opt Out of Bundled Software and Services

Of course you don't have to.

The toolbar is something you might find useful, and you can always remove it.

But whatever the case may be, I wouldn't recommend changing the homepage and the default search engine.

7.8 / 10

Free Features vs. Paid Features

Let's start with the features I was pleasantly surprised to see.

Antivirus Settings

Antivirus Settings

Schedule a Scan

Schedule a Scan

Antivirus Scanner Menu

Antivirus Scanner Menu

Silent Mode

Silent Mode

Process Monitor

Process Monitor

USB Device Vaccination

USB Device Vaccination

Rescue Kit

Rescue Kit

In case you can't find the latter 3 features, simply scroll down on the dashboard's main screen and you'll see them:

Bottom of Panda Free Antivirus Dashboard

Bottom of Panda Free Antivirus Dashboard

Lastly, it's important to mention that if you sign up for an account, which is free and very simple to do, you can access the web interface which allows you to monitor the mobile devices connected to that account.

This basically means you get anti-theft features - tracking, locking and wiping the device remotely.

You only need to install the free Panda app on your mobile device.

I talk about the sign up process later in this review.

Now that we discussed the good, let's talk about what's missing compared to Panda Antivirus Pro:

If you'd like to try the premium product, you can get a 30 day trial for any premium product.

Of all the premium products, I recommend Panda Internet Security.

Panda Internet Security and higher tiered products have even more features than the ones I told you about.

Try Panda Internet Security

9.0 / 10

No Ads and No Sign Up Required

When you finish installing Panda and open it for the first time, you're prompted to enter an email address.

Email Registration

Email Registration

It's not mandatory.

You can register, or simply click close and do it later if you need to, by clicking the account icon at the top right corner of the dashboard.

If you decide to register, after clicking the confirmation link in the email you receive you will have access to your account's page on the web interface.

Upon confirmation you'll need to enter a password and choose your country.

You can also opt-in to the marketing mailing list, but it's not the default choice which is commendable, unlike Panda's configuration with the bundled toolbar on installation.

The next form you will see is optional; you don't have to enter any personal details.

The biggest benefit of the online account is access to the device management section where you can remotely locate and control your device in case you lost it or if it was stolen.

There's also an option to contact support, but since tech support is reserved to paying customers, it's simply a link to Panda's user forums.

In terms of user experience panda really hits the nail on its head.

The dashboard has very few spots that advertise the premium product without interfering with your usage of this free antivirus software, and there are no promotional pop ups that bother you about upgrading.

My Conclusion

In terms of features and ads Panda takes the cake!

However:

The default opt-in to install bundled software and make changes to the user's homepage and search engine really bothers me.

Another aspect which is worth mentioning but I didn't discuss in detail, is the antivirus lab test scores.

Panda is a pioneer company in the field of cloud-based protection, so I'd expect Panda's security software to be light on the system's resource usage.

But Panda seems to consistently receive test scores which are lower than the majority of its competition, both in terms of protection and its accuracy and in terms of system performance impact.

Despite the multitude of features offered, I recommend giving Panda Free Antivirus a pass and trying one of the top free antivirus software instead.

Pros:
  • Real-time protection
  • On-demand scan scheduling
  • Creating an account isn't mandatory
  • No promotional pop ups
  • Additional useful features
Cons:
  • Bundled software enabled by default upon installation
  • No tech support for free users (only user forums)

Should you decide to try it out anyway, you can get it here:

Get Panda Free Antivirus

Once again, I'd like to extend my gratitude to Vlad Zhelezniak for digging through this security software in order to test it over time and reach conclusions regarding its marketing practices.

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.

More Stories By Dennis Z

Kaspersky Free Antivirus 2017 Review - Compared to Premium

Kaspersky Free Antivirus offers its users an award-winning anti-malware engine with... More >

How to Uninstall Avira 2016 - The Complete Illustrated Guide

Learn how to remove Avira antivirus correctly from your computer so that... More >

Avast Antivirus 2016 Review: The Most Popular Antivirus

Avast gained its popularity through its 2008 release of an antivirus... More >

Despite the fact that Panda Security offers features which other vendors don't, you might want to consider the issue of bundled software which is never a good thing to have. I hesitate to recommend it because of quite average protection scores along with the significant system performance impact.

Panda Security Free
Date published:August 6, 2017
7.3 / 10 stars

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

We promise to only send really good deals and important updates. No spam.