Avast Mobile Security: Erratic Performance

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We liked its huge assortment of powerful anti-theft and privacy tools including some for rooted phones only , and its good, if not quite perfect, malware -detection rate. Avast’s mobile protection has gone through some changes in the last couple of years. Things got a little bumpy in our testing last year, when the app went to a completely free ad-supported model but lost ground with a lower malware-detection rate and heavier system impact.
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Mobile Security & Antivirus

We liked its huge assortment of powerful anti-theft and privacy tools including some for rooted phones only , and its good, if not quite perfect, malware -detection rate. Avast’s mobile protection has gone through some changes in the last couple of years. Things got a little bumpy in our testing last year, when the app went to a completely free ad-supported model but lost ground with a lower malware-detection rate and heavier system impact.

Avast even discontinued a few of our favorite unique features. This year, we again see Avast changing things up, with a return to a freemium model. The malware-detection rate for the app has recovered somewhat, becoming more consistent even if it still isn’t quite perfect.

But the call blocker didn’t work, and the anti-theft features, while powerful, had trouble connecting to the Avast web portal. For users looking for a free solution, we now recommend the free version of Norton Mobile Security. Some of the benefits of the premium plan include the robust Anti-Theft features, App Locking formerly a separate paid app , removal of ads from the app, and direct support from Avast within the app. Avast’s premium pricing is fairly inexpensive, at first glance. But unlike the others, Avast continues to break out some of the extra features into separate apps, with varying pricing schemes among them.

Finally, Avast offers its SecureLine VPN app with a seven-day or day free trial, depending on whether the user opts for a monthly or yearly plan. Malware Protection Avast puts malware scanning front and center with its app. The very first thing you see at the top of the screen when you open the app is a big green button that just says “SCAN. It took between 45 seconds to a full minute for a scan to complete. The app allows users to schedule scans by both day and time, so you can sleep right through this slower-than-average scan when it runs at 4 a.

I attempted to visit multiple malicious sites, but the browser successfully identified and stopped me from reaching them. The app detected These scores aren’t perfect, but they’re very good.

They also beat the average detection rates of I attempted to receive calls from blocked contacts and from private numbers, and both kinds of calls came through as normal. Avast’s malware-detection rates are more consistent than those of some other vendors. In July , Avast scored It allows users to create a blacklist that blocks either specific phone numbers or categories of numbers, and, unfortunately, it was exactly as unreliable in real-world testing as it was last year.

I attempted to receive calls from blocked contacts and from private numbers, and both kinds of calls came through as normal, which shouldn’t have happened. Again, the only setting that I was able to get to work was the blocking of specific area codes. This remains a good-looking feature that in practice simply doesn’t work.

App Permissions This feature, also referred to as Privacy Advisor, scans your installed apps for the the system permissions each takes and provides a list sorted into high, average or low permissions. It provides a bit more information, specifically regarding permissions and ad networks, than what you can see in the main Android settings menu. Users may find App Permissions useful as a way to take a look at some of the worst privilege offenders.

Assuming you are running Android 6. Our primary complaint with this kind of feature from any antivirus app is that it ignores Android 6. Anti-Theft After marveling that this feature wasn’t built into the core Avast app last year, I was pleased to see that the company did exactly that in the interim and did away with the stand-alone anti-theft app.

I would not trust this app for a mission-critical task like anti-theft. Avast’s remains by far the most powerful anti-theft offering of any antivirus app that I tested. The sheer number of features available to Avast users in this area is remarkable for both free and Pro users, with a lack of SMS commands being the only obvious omission.

Now for the bad news: This year I experienced even greater connectivity issues with the web portal than I did last year. The portal would simply report that it was unable to connect to my phone, sometimes for hours, even when I was viewing the portal on a computer in the same room and on the same Wi-Fi network as the phone. Obviously, this drastically undermines the value of Avast’s anti-theft feature. It’ll cover what is available when everything is working properly, but please be aware that I would not trust this app for a mission-critical task like antitheft.

The standard anti-theft options are naturally all present, including the ability to locate, lock and wipe the device, and to trigger a siren. The command to track the device automatically triggers location requests at regular intervals, which can be set to be as frequent as every 5 minutes.

The Mark as Lost function is a combination of the above commands — it tracks and locks the device, fires off the siren and disables USB debugging so that the phone can’t be meddled with. Getting into the more unusual capabilities of the the anti-theft feature, there is the ability to forward all calls or texts sent to the device to another number. While most Android users will have their contacts backed up by Google, you nonetheless can issue a command to download your contacts, calls and SMS from your phone.

The last category of anti-theft commands involve contacting the device directly. You can do this either with a customized message that will display on the device or by forcing the device to call a phone number of your choosing. The app attempts to hide this call, so it’s up to you whether you use this feature to speak to the individual who has your phone number, or just to listen in on them.

Firewall Only rooted phones can use this feature, which allows you to control internet access for individual apps. I was unable to test this feature as I did not possess a rooted device at the time of the review. The first captures photos of the individual holding your device when an incorrect lock-screen PIN is entered. Our performance impact results put Avast Mobile Security in second place with just the app installed, but in last place during a malware scan.

Finally, paid users are able to activate the microphone on the device to record ambient audio for set durations when noise is detected. App Locker Avast has made some much-needed updates to this feature since I reviewed it last year. Most critically, support for using the fingerprint scanner to unlock individual apps was introduced, with a PIN required only during setup as a fallback option. Last year, I was able to see the contents of an app before the app-lock screen showed up.

That notable glitch is now gone. Setup of the App Locker feature remains an area in which Avast could use some help. It’s a one-time thing to go through and toggle the switches for the apps you want to lock. The straightforward interface will have you connected to either the most optimal VPN server available, or to a server in the country of your choice if you are looking to avoid regional restrictions. In my testing, the connection held reliably and was typically working in under 2 seconds.

But unless you really want the integration with Avast, or need the VPN service only for your smartphone, there are better options out there.

Wi-Fi Finder If you are constantly on the search for a reliable open Wi-Fi connection, this tool is potentially for you. The app displays nearby Wi-Fi networks on a map and integrates with SecureLine VPN to protect you in the event that it is an unsecured network.

System Impact To evaluate the performance impact of constantly running Avast Mobile Security in the background, I ran multiple tests using the Geekbench 4 Android benchmarking tool on my Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android 7.

Following installation of Avast Mobile Security, the phone’s performance scored 0. During a full scan, it scored 7. These results put Avast Mobile Security in second place for performance impact with the app installed, but in last place for performance impact during a malware scan. Bitdefender Mobile Security had the least system impact during a scan.

With all of the various settings and additional apps to install, it was approximately 10 minutes from start to finish. There are portions of the installation that are quite well-handled.

When users are required to grant specific permissions or toggle device settings to get the app working properly, there are helpful animations to walk them through the process. Avast’s user support is handled mostly through a series of FAQs and a moderated forum. The last resort for users is email support, and this is presumably where the priority treatment for paid users comes into play.

Interface After having used heavily simple images in the background of each screen in the core app last year, Avast has now stripped things down across the lineup, with either pure white backgrounds or basic gradients. While I was kind of fond of the imagery used, I can understand that it may not have been a hit with everyone. But given its virtually empty interface, having something to look at in the app makes sense.

Looking beyond the Avast app’s appearance to its usability, things have improved, but that is likely due to my spending most of my time using the Pro version, which does away with ads. For the most part, you will find the options you are looking for immediately, without scrolling. Moving down the screen usually just sucks you into extra features or ads.

While the apps are occasionally a mashup of a few different Material Design standards, they stick reliably enough to the familiar navigation schemes that you will find your way. Hopefully, this new pricing model will work for Avast, and the company will get a chance to further refine the new design without having to do yet another ground-up rethink before next year.

Bottom Line Avast Mobile Security remains one of the most customizable and comprehensive Android antivirus offerings on the market, and many of its individual components or add-ons are best-in-class regarding user interface and implementation.

Its malware-detection rate has returned to its former level, even though that’s a notch below perfect. However, we ran into several problems, with some of those features simply failing to work reliably, including the otherwise amazing anti-theft features.

With a security product, that is simply not acceptable. While its overall feature set is less compelling that Avast’s, we recommend Norton Mobile Security as the best free Android antivirus app, both for its malware performance and for the reliability of its features.

However, if you’re willing to pay for Android malware protection, we recommend Bitdefender Mobile Security.

Editors’ Review

There are a number of robust security solutions available for download from the Google Play store, many of which offer both virus scanning and intrusion protection, or firewall, support. Separate the best of these from the rest by combining their number of downloads and user ratings on Google Play. In addition to antivirus and inbound security protection, its features include anti-theft protection, a call and text message blocker, realtime scanning, a task killer, remote lock and device wipe capabilities, and battery monitoring. It also has a unique tool that identifies insecure device and application settings and advises you on how to fix them. AVG Antivirus Security is a free application, and its operating system requirements vary depending on the device you are using. Avast Mobile Security Avast Mobile Security is a mobile security solution with over 10 million users worldwide.

VIDEO: Free Android Antivirus App | Avast Mobile Security

avast! has just about every security feature you could want, and then on your phone, but it is generally foremost on the minds of consumers. Your phone probably has sensitive information on it, so it may be a good idea As a genuinely free app for the Android platform, Avast Mobile. Avast! Free Mobile Security gives you mobile antivirus protection and mobile Gives you remote control via SMS or Web (cell phone tracking, activate siren.

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