I have never paid for an anti-virus, the free products available, offer me the degree of protection that I need. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t pay one day.
So here are my needs:
Three laptops, two Windows, one Linux (That is another debate, do I need an anti-virus?)
Two Android Phones.
Under one price, I don’t want to buy separate licenses for phones and laptops, i.e. a family pack.
I have tested basically three products, but only one has all free demos:
Avira: Using the free versions across the board (except Linux laptop). Nice interface, easy to use, and one of the features I like the most a central web dashboard where I can see the AV status of all my devices, and for the cell phones, functionality for locating the phone, alerting, and remote wipe.
Avast: I have used the anti-virus on the laptops several years, never let me down, installed but not for long in the android device. Only recently I discovered that they also offer a central web page, but I have not had the opportunity to configure all my devices to be managed.
Now here the choice between Avira and Avast is a purely technical one, Avira has been better ranked by Virus Bulletin and AV Test successively over the last months / years, when combined both in the PC and Mobile categories.
Other products I have tested, in beta are: Sophos and F-Secure.
F-Secure is the only one to offer a clear multi-device / family pack subscription, but ranks in the expensive side, but you don’t have to buy separate products. When installed in an android device, additional to the F-Secure Antivirus, there is a Secure Browser, basically it launches Chrome in a safe mode, disabling addons and in incognito mode, could be interesting, i haven not tried it in a PC, and there is client for Linux. It also has some other perks, such as Freedome, a VPN solution for mobile phones (not sure if there is also a PC client) with a monthly payment.
Sophos, good product, but I feel they are more oriented towards enterprise solutions, Sophos Cloud is a good offering for enterprises, but not for personal use. And here is a funny thing, the Sophos Mobile Anti-virus detects F-Secure Freedome as an untrusted low reputation application (keep it clean guys!).
For both F-Secure and Sophos, I still find a their implementation for anti-theft in mobile devices crude, you have to pre-configure a trusted cell phone number and a password, where in case of loss, you can send a special text from the trusted cell phone with the password (clear text!) in order to wipe or locate the device. Really?
Anyhow, for now, my preference resides with Avira. If they offer a family pack, much the better, I would think to pay for their service. I am not interested in parental controls, dropbox, or pc-tuning utilities. It would be interesting (in case they are reading) to offer the AV – VPN combo for both PC and Mobile devices, even better, to have kept the Linux client, they dropped support one year ago, and keep offering the remote support utility, for both PCs and Mobile. That would be an interesting offer.