Panda Security Antivirus 2023: Review and Test

The fact that good virus protection does not necessarily have to cost money is proven by the free "Free Panda Antivirus". Various tests have shown that this virus protection currently offers the best overall package for everything to do with PC security and also outshines established competitors such as Windows Defender.


    Panda Security - what's behind it?

    Panda Security is one Spanish provider for antivirus Software, which was founded in 1990 in Bilbao and specializes in IT security solutions for companies and private users. This company has grown continuously over the past 30 years and is now active worldwide.

    The offer includes besides Panda Security Freewhich is completely free of charge as well Panda Dome Premium, which can be viewed as a premium package. This program not only ensures data protection and security, but also optimizes the performance of the computer. The security programs from Panda are offered for the Windows and Android operating systems as well as for MacOS and iOS.

    The free protection software offers users a variety of useful features and numerous advantages. However, it also has some disadvantages:


    • The start menu is extremely convenient.
    • In addition to Wi-Fi security, it also includes a firewall.
    • The program has a virtual keyboard.
    • Panda Free Antivirus is compatible with Windows and Macs.

    The disadvantages

    • Annoying advertising pop-ups are displayed.
    • The setting options are difficult to use.
    • Both the community forum and the FAQ area are only available in English.

    This is how Panda Free Antivirus is set up and operated

    Step 1: the download

    If users want to use the Panda Security Free protection software, they can download the software directly from the manufacturer's website via a CNET link and need it for this no account settings. Only premium customers have to enter their billing data and decide on a payment method before downloading.

    You do not need your own Panda account for the download. However, this is necessary for the administration of the subscriptions.

    Step 2: the installation

    Once the two megabyte install file is downloaded, Panda Free Antivirus is free installed within minutes. And Panda Dome, in contrast to many comparable programs, does not use much computer power.

    Step: Use

    The interface, in which all functions of the software are combined, is visually appealing. On the Main window the current security status of the computer is displayed first. In addition, the user will also find information about how many files have been scanned and icons with all the important functions of the program. The user gets a general overview when he clicks the button under his status. The screen is supplemented by a message bar, which can be turned off using the settings.

    The user can access the other functions of Panda Dome in two ways:

    1. Either he scrolls down to make the other icons visible, or
    2. he clicks on the hamburger symbol, which is located on the top left of the screen. This will open a new menu. The menu items from this list are partly identical to those in the icons.

    However, this duplication is not an optimal solution because the arrangement seems arbitrary and the premium versions seem overloaded with icons. This problem can be solved simply by sorting the features into different categories. In addition, the arrangement is not always logical. The “Scans” icon suggests that future scans can also be planned here. However, this function is instead housed in the "Antivirus" section. It takes a little practice to find the features you are looking for.

    The functions of Panda Security

    Protection of the computer is the same with Panda Security as with all Antivirus programs with real-time protective measures and manual scans that are made specifically. This protection is completely free for Windows users with Panda Security Free.

    The manual scan is divided into three categories:

    1. In the category "Critical areas“It searches for viruses that are currently active. With this variant, the scan only takes a few minutes.
    2. The complete scan can take a few hours because the entire PC has been scanned to determine whether there are any threats.
    3. There is also the option of one custom scans, in which the user selects which folders should be searched.

    Planned scans, which are carried out at regular intervals, are created by the user in the "Antivirus" submenu. The scans can also be further configured. However, it is not possible with the free version either external devices to scan. Panda only offers this function from the Essential tariff.

    There is one in Panda Security Free for that Firewall contain. This enables the user to monitor incoming and outgoing data traffic and deny access to the computer for unauthorized persons. Basically, the user can choose whether he is in public places, at work or in the home network. You can use the settings to further configure the firewall and, for example, define your own rules for each individual program.

    What the Real-time protection As far as is concerned, Panda Free Antivirus only offers the functions that are absolutely necessary. Additional functions such as WLAN protection, which secures the entire network, must be paid for.

    Not included in the free version either Online security while surfing, banking or shopping in the web. This is only available for so-called "advanced" users, as is ransomware protection.

    What is ransomware?
    Ransomware protection protects the computer from the so-called Blackmail trojans. These encrypt files on the computer and, as it were, take them as digital hostages in order to extort ransom from the user. In addition, there is also a child safety feature. The owner can use it to grant his children access rights to apps and manage the use of the Internet.

    Other features are available from the "Complete" package. This includes data shielding, with the help of which it is possible to encrypt confidential data, set up an additional level of security and hide the data behind it. Furthermore stands here a Cleanup tool available, which improves the performance of the computer with the help of a performance boost. Also included is a Password managerwhich, however, does not provide top performance.

    Ultimately, the protection software shows its full potential with the premium tariff. Even in the free version, users can use the VPN function to use, but here the limit is 150 megabytes per day. With the premium tariff, on the other hand, it is possible to surf indefinitely with a VPN connection. However, like with the password manager, Panda uses third-party software.

    What is missing is a dedicated one Email protection, with the help of which emails and their attachments can be checked for threats. Also not included is a Webcam protectionwhich makes it impossible to spy on the user via his own webcam.


    The mobile features

    A Panda Security app is of course also available for iOS and Android smartphones:

    • The protective function has even been expanded here, for example by a Anti-theft feature. If the mobile phone falls into the wrong hands, the anti-theft device is extremely helpful. Because it enables confidential data to be deleted remotely, to lock the device or to locate the mobile phone via GPS.
    • In addition to manual scan and real-time protection, there is also one Data protection check, in which the different rights of the apps are listed. Here the user can set the application through which location tracking or access to news and media should be possible.
    • If you opt for the Pro version, you can also use the Deny access to certain apps. An additional security barrier such as a PIN is set up for this.


    The protection and performance of Panda Security

    In order to assess both the protective effect and the performance of Panda Free Antivirus, the two test laboratories conducted AV-Comparatives and AV-Test do a test, which is done at regular intervals.

    When AV-Test was tested in December 2018, Panda Dome achieved Security full marks and received five out of six possible points for performance. In terms of protection, the free version has been getting good marks for years, but it shows small weaknesses in terms of performance.

    In the AV Comparatives Real World Protection Test, which was carried out in October 2019, Panda only achieved two out of three possible stars. However, this point deduction is due to the fact that there had been an above-average number of false reports. In terms of performance, Panda achieved 83 out of 100 possible points.


    The support at Panda AV

    Panda Dome is equipped with a In-app support hub, in which there are four links. One of them directs the user to the English language support forum. All questions are answered here, but the forum is not particularly active. Another link directs the user to the FAQs, which are arranged in a somewhat confusing manner.

    If a user would like to contact the support personally, there are several options:

    • So the employees are about one Hotline personally available Monday through Friday for nine hours.
    • In addition, Panda offers Support tickets. In this case, the user can expect an answer within 24 hours. However, these answers are not necessarily tailored to the individual requests of users.
    • In addition, a so-called "Total Care" support be booked additionally. In this case, the support staff can be reached around the clock via the hotline and can also provide help via remote control in the event of problems.


    The pricing of Panda

    Während Panda Security Free is completely free the paid version is available in four different packages that contain different features. These paid packages can be paid for either monthly or with a slightly cheaper annual subscription. Compared to other providers, such as Eset or Intego anti-virus, Panda moves in terms of price mittelfeld.

    Conclusion on Panda Security

    Panda Security is one solid virus protection that comes with numerous features equipped, but still has one or the other small weakness. The interface is not optimally solved and the extras, which come from third-party providers, do not do that well in terms of their performance and protection results.

    • Thanks to the various tariff packages, however, it is possible to configure the virus protection individually.
    Despite the mentioned small weaknesses, this software is user-friendly and offers good protection without reducing the performance of the computer too much. This also shows the high level of satisfaction among Panda's customers. At most, the payment processing and support are criticized by customers.
    Panda SecuritySolid antivirus with a lot of featuresProvider Website
    Panda logo
    • Easy to use: Convenient menu design
    • Very good protection: Top ratings from test institutes
    • Extensive functions: WIFI protection, firewall, various scans, e-mail protection, real-time protection and much more.

    About Jasmin Fuchs

    Jasmin Fuchs studied linguistics and trained in information technology and IT management.