Panda Cloud Antivirus Free marks the company's first foray into security freeware, and both reviewers and users find it a successful one. Panda Cloud uses cloud-based computing principles to deliver very good malware detection while minimizing system bloat. Instead of downloading and storing malware signature updates on a regular basis, Panda Cloud sends file information to Panda servers when scanning for viruses. Suspicious but unknown files are disabled until Panda can analyze them; known malware, on the other hand, is deleted right away. While this approach means that Panda Cloud Antivirus is quite a lean program, it requires a constant Internet connection to stay effective, and scans take longer than on competing programs. Reviewers also tend to agree that the software is better at identifying threats and preventing infection than thoroughly removing files from an already compromised system. If that's a concern, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012 (*Est. $25) gets widespread praise for its effectiveness and lean performance, and it is judged to be excellent at removing malware from infected machines.
Free antivirus programs don't get as much reviewer attention as fully featured, paid versions, but Panda Cloud Antivirus Free is looked at by experienced reviewers at PCMag.com, Download.com and PC World. Not all evaluate the finished release version, but user reviews are also posted at all three sites, providing some more recent, real-world evaluations.
Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition gets an Editors' Choice award at PCMag.com as the top pick among free antivirus software. Neil J. Rubenking says virus detection is very good, but cleanup isn't as good as on fuller, paid programs. He also likes the simple interface. A few user reviews are posted.
Review: Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.1, Neil J. Rubenking, June 9, 2010
Seth Rosenblatt calls Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition a "decent, reasonable security choice." His ambivalence comes from the program's limited feature set and lack of some crucial customization options.
Review: Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 1.3, Seth Rosenblatt, Oct. 27, 2010
3. PC World
Erik Larkin takes a look at the beta version of Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition. As such, he reserves judgment on the program's overall effectiveness and doesn't rate it. But he has a high opinion of it, praising its ability to block known malware.
Review: Panda Cloud Antivirus Beta, Erik Larkin, Aug. 24, 2009