Eset Smart Security 7 review

Price when reviewed

Next to the complexity of many security software’s UI’s, Eset Smart Security 7 is a breath of fresh air. The interface is easy to read and navigate, with plenty of white space and a consistent set of controls spread sensibly across the six main tabs.

It helps that Smart Security 7 isn’t quite laden with bells and whistles as Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on features. Click into the Advanced Setup view and you’ll find pages of technical configuration options, including network and process activity monitors.

You’ll also find some nice secondary features. Besides scanning modules for files, emails and web pages, Smart Security 7 includes Eset’s SysInspector tool, which allows you to take a security snapshot of the state of your system. Processes, network connections and important Registry entries are recorded and heuristically assigned risk levels. If you make a snapshot while your computer is running smoothly, you can compare it to later snapshots to see if anything concerning has changed.

Eset Smart Security 7

Another headline feature is Eset’s anti-theft service, which helps you track down your laptop if it’s stolen. You can find it on a map, see what’s going on onscreen, and even use its camera to observe who’s using it. It’s similar to the anti-theft capability built into Eset’s Android app, although the two aren’t integrated. There’s also Eset’s Social Media Scanner, which blocks dangerous links on Facebook and Twitter, and can post automatic warnings to others to steer clear.

As a package, then, Eset Smart Security 7 takes a rounded approach to malware, and its overall protection score of 97% reflects a strong performance in our real-world tests. Meanwhile, safe applications generally ran without a peep: in our false-positives test, Eset scored comfortably above average, achieving a 96% rating.

Smart Security had minimal impact on system responsiveness. Its 91% performance score versus Microsoft Windows Defender represents a rating of 95% in the Explorer test, and 86% in our application benchmark: that’s ahead of any other third-party software. If you aren’t happy with the protection provided by Microsoft’s built-in system, this is as good as you’re going to get. Eset’s 403MB disk footprint is more space-efficient than any of its commercial rivals, too.

Eset Smart Security 7

All that stands between Eset and an award this month is the price. Unlike most of its rivals, Eset doesn’t offer big discounts through retailers, so a three-PC licence will cost almost double the price of Kaspersky’s Internet Security 2014. That’s hard to swallow when you realise the SysInspector and Social Media Scanner – two distinctive features – are offered as free, standalone downloads. Eset’s anti-theft service isn’t free, but it can be largely replicated by free services such as Prey.

As such, we can give Eset Smart Security 7 only a qualified recommendation. If twenty quid here or there doesn’t matter to you, by all means buy in: it’s a superbly effective and low-impact security suite with convenient built-in extras. However, there are cheaper options that are almost as appealing.


Software subcategoryInternet security

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Other operating system supportWindows 8

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