For a free antivirus program, Avast Free AntiVirus 5 offers a variety of benefits that propel it past the competition. Experts say Avast does an excellent job of detecting and removing malware -- in one test, the software detects 99.3 percent of the sample malware with few false positives. Compared to previous versions, the redesigned interface gets high marks for its attractive and intuitive design. It is easy enough for novices to figure out, but experts say there are plenty of reporting features to satisfy advanced users. Avast Free AntiVirus 5 also has a minimal impact on computer performance, so you won't encounter unnecessary slowdowns. Some experts don't appreciate the ads for Avast's paid software. We also saw one report that some scans require too much user input, which can be annoying and distract from other tasks. Norton AntiVirus 2011 (Discontinued) gets the best reviews overall, but reviewers say Avast is a worthy free alternative.
Avast Free AntiVirus 5 is included in a lengthy comparative test at AV-Comparatives.org. The in-depth testing covers a variety of criteria, and a summary report details installation and usability concerns. PCMag.com and PC World also have detailed test-based reviews. The analysis at Web User and Download.com is shorter but still useful. ReviewCentre.com is a good spot for user reviews, although some ratings apply to prior versions.
Avast Free AntiVirus 5 is evaluated in many of AV-Comparatives' latest antivirus tests. Although the summary report and whole-product tests relate to the paid version, the free Avast software is tested in a number of malware detection tests.
Review: Comparatives and Reviews, Editors of AV-Comparatives.org
Avast Free AntiVirus 5 earns a very good rating from PCMag.com. Although he says that scan speeds are slow, Neil Rubenking likes the redesigned interface and detailed reporting. Overall, he says it provides "very good malware protection at no cost."
Review: avast! Free Antivirus 5.0, Neil J. Rubenking, Jan. 21, 2010
3. PC World
PC World calls Avast Free AntiVirus 5 the best free antivirus software. The software has no false positives and gets high marks for removing malware, although some competitors boast higher detection rates. The telephone support is a huge plus.
Review: Avast Free Antivirus 5, Nick Mediati, Nov. 29, 2010
Avast Free Antivirus earns a Silver award from Britain's Web User. Roland Waddilove calls it "one of the most attractive and enjoyable anti-virus programs to use." The interface is simple but contains enough reporting features for advanced users.
Review: Avast Free Antivirus, Roland Waddilove, June 3, 2010
Download.com, which is a CNET site, gives Avast Free AntiVirus 5 a perfect 5-star rating, and editor Seth Rosenblatt calls it the "most complete free antivirus on the market." Rosenblatt says the interface is improved over previous versions, and the software boasts good results in independent tests.
Review: Avast Free Antivirus 5.1.889.110120, Seth Rosenblatt, Jan. 18, 2010
The reviews at ReviewCentre.com are for both the free and paid versions of Avast antivirus software, but they're worth a read. Nearly 250 people rate the software on this site, giving it a combined 4.5-star rating.
Review: Avast Antivirus Reviews, Contributors to ReviewCentre.com