Eset Smart Security 8 review
Eset might not have the feature set of the Norton or Kaspersky security suites, bit it makes up for it with an efficient user interface, exceptional protection and the kind of advanced, security-focused tools that power users will appreciate.
It isn’t that Smart Security 8 is short on features, more that they’re specific to internet security. The basic anti-malware tools and firewall are backed up by anti-theft protection for laptops, unobtrusive web-access protection, with anti-spam and anti-phishing protection, and optional parental controls.
There’s a gaming mode that suppresses pop-ups and pauses scheduled tasks until you’ve finished playing, and a social media scanner to protect accounts on Twitter and Facebook – but Eset doesn’t cram in optimisation or clean-up tools.
The user interface works along similar lines, with a straightforward, pane-based approach that puts the most important information up-front and makes it easy to find the different tools and settings. Malware scans include a basic smart scan that makes intelligent decisions about where and what to analyse, custom scans and removable media scans.
Look in Setup, meanwhile, and you’ll find options to enable and disable all components, or even disable them for a fixed period of time – ideal when you need to temporarily turn off antivirus to install a new application. An Advanced Setup panel allows even more fine-grain control, down to how and when you see notifications and message boxes, and set passwords to protect your configuration.
Eset also scores big for its reporting features, and for hidden extras such as the ability to scan running processes to tell you whether or not any risks exist.
Eset can be slow when running scans, with our first scan on the ageing dual-core test PC taking just over an hour, although subsequent scans were faster. It’s also quite resource-hungry when a scan kicks off, hogging an average of 32% of the CPU and 21% of test machine’s 2GB of RAM.
Luckily, the results are worth it: Eset is the only package we’ve reviewed recently to have defended against every single threat in our tests, although it falls behind Kaspersky when identifying legitimate software. A great suite for the pros.