Sunday, May 26, 2024

Bitdefender for Windows review: premium protection for all your devices

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A photo of Bitdefender running on a PC.

Bitdefender Premium Security

MSRP $80.00

Score Details

DT Editors' Choice

“Bitdefender Premium Security is a fantastic way to keep your entire family of devices secured.”

Pros

  • Good free antivirus
  • Near perfect protection for years
  • Quick and helpful support
  • Easy setup
  • Affordable multidevice plans

Cons

  • 200MB/day limit on VPN of low-cost plans

As the threat of malware, phishing, and ransomware continues to grow, cybersecurity is a topic everyone needs to be aware of. That’s why we’re reviewing top antivirus and security solutions to help you decide which one best matches your needs at an affordable price.

Contents

  • Tiers and pricing
  • Design
  • Features
  • Support
  • Privacy and security
  • Great protection at a fair priceShow 1 more item

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After putting it through its paces, I’ve come to the conclusion that Bitdefender is easily one of the best antivirus options for Windows computers. Your PC contains personal information, financial data, and logins to all your online accounts, and Bitdefender left me impressed at how comprehensively it secured my devices.

Tiers and pricing

Bitdefender offers a variety of security and antivirus plans. Digital Trends

Bitdefender has a free version of its antivirus software for Windows that can protect up to three devices. However, you really need more than the various free antivirus solutions to keep your data and your privacy secure.

Bitdefender offers several plans for Windows computers and other devices. Starting at $40 annually, Antivirus Plus protects up to three Windows computers and includes ransomware protection.

It’s wise to protect all your devices, and Bitdefender’s $70 Total Security covers up to 10 devices. This plan supports Windows and macOS computers, as well as Android and iOS devices. To protect an entire household, the 15-device protection of Bitdefender’s Family Pack is a good value. It’s currently on sale for $75.

A free VPN is included in all Bitdefender plans, but the 200MB-per-day limit is quite restrictive. If you need a VPN, a slight increase to the $80 Premium Security Plan removes that limitation. For identity theft protection, choose Ultimate Security for $90, regularly $180.

A 30-day trial lets you learn more before subscribing to Bitdefender. Digital Trends

If you’re uncertain whether Bitdefender is the right choice, some plans offer free 30-day trials to check out the features and test performance on your computer.

I tested the equivalent of Bitdefender Premium Security by installing a free 30-day trial of Total Security, along with a seven-day Premium VPN, and a three-month Password Manager trial. Bitdefender pricing is quite competitive. Total Security costs the same as Malwarebytes Premium Plus, but Bitdefender protects more devices. Norton 360 Deluxe has a feature-packed plan on sale for just $50.

While great antivirus deals can save you money, you should do a little research before making a decision about something that can have a big impact on your digital, personal, and financial well-being.

Design

The Bitdefender installer downloads quickly. Digital Trends

Bitdefender is easy to use and guided me through installation and setup. It alerted me that I had another antivirus solution installed and prompted me to uninstall before continuing. In a few minutes, I was ready to get started with the app. An initial assessment scans my system for threats and attack traces. Everything checked out on my PC, so I moved on to exploring the app.

A quick glance at the dashboard assures me I’m safe, and I can dig deeper to make certain everything is safe and check different aspects of security.

The Bitdefender dashboard shows if you’re safe with easy controls to customize protection. Digital Trends

The Quick scan runs a fast check for malware, while the Vulnerability scan alerts me to potential concerns. For example, it found my Microsoft Defender antivirus required an update. That’s only important if I uninstall Bitdefender, but Microsoft’s solution is a good backup.

A Microsoft Defender weakness was spotted by Bitdefender’s Vulnerability scan. Digital Trends

A full system scan takes longer — over eight minutes on my PC. It’s meant to run in the background without interrupting computer use, so I can start it anytime I have doubts about security, then carry on with my work and check back later for the report.

The Bitdefender app has tabs for Protection and Privacy that offer more control over how Bitdefender works, while Utilities provides tools to optimize my PC, totally erase deleted files, and set up custom profiles for work, streaming videos, and gaming.

Bitdefender Total Security is a well-designed app that makes it easy to get a quick overview of antivirus status and other security concerns. More details and customizations are just a few clicks away when I want more than the basic assurances.

Features

AV-Test tracked Bitdefender’s top security scores over years. Digital Trends

The No. 1 job of security software is to protect you from malware and myriad other threats to your privacy and the safety of your data. Bitdefender’s antivirus software earned a protection score of 6 out of 6 from independent security firm AV-Test.

The same report averaged results over January and February 2024, giving Bitdefender top ratings for performance and usability as well. Scores can vary over months and years, but Bitdefender’s record has been nearly perfect for the last 11 years.

Bitdefender passed a quick test of malware protection at WICAR. Digital Trends

A quick test of Bitdefender’s malware prevention properly flagged WICAR.org’s threat-free antivirus test file, which was developed by the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR).

I tested the VPN by selecting London as my location. Most streaming services detect VPNs, but BBC’s iPlayer was willing to let me watch Doctor Who if I had a British TV license. Thankfully, Doctor Who is also available on Disney+.

Bitdefender’s Premium VPN fooled BBC’s iPlayer, but I didn’t have a British TV license. Digital Trends

The password manager quickly imported my Edge browser passwords and secured them with encryption. It’s easy to check for leaked passwords and generate new strong passwords with this extension. It’s compatible with all major browsers.

Advanced features like ransomware remediation backs up select files as needed to minimize the impact on storage while saving a copy of files that malware could encrypt for ransom. Bitdefender Premium Security is packed with protection.

Support

You can search Bitdefender support or drill down through categories. Digital Trends

The Bitdefender app has a life preserver icon at the top right for quick access to the user guide, support center, and the user community.

On Bitdefender’s support website, I found a search box and categories of articles. That’s great for quick answers to common questions, but a live agent can help with more complicated issues and personal support for billing and account issues.

Rather than searching or drilling down through the help system, I scrolled to the bottom to find a link to contact support.

Digital Trends

A Bitdefender live agent arrived in chat quickly to assist with my question.

The contact page lists a series of choices to narrow down what sort of help I need. After a few clicks, I could chat, call, or email support. I selected live chat, which is available 24 hours a day, including weekends.

I asked for more information about trial subscriptions and received a helpful and informative answer. In my experience, Bitdefender support is quick and friendly with only a couple of minutes’ wait time for a response.

Privacy and security

According to Bitdefender’s privacy policy, your personal data is used only for security and protection. Bitdefender will comply with legal requests for personal data.

Any IT companies Bitdefender uses for hosting, support, statistical analysis, and marketing have contracts that require appropriate safeguards for data. Bitdefender may use your data to market its services to you, but doesn’t sell, rent, or give your data to third-party companies for any other purposes.

Regarding Bitdefender’s own security, there haven’t been any incidents since July 2015, when a hacker breached a single server and demanded payment. A Forbes article indicated the minor data breach resulted in over 250 customer usernames and passwords leaking online.

While it’s disheartening to hear of a security company getting hacked, it happens from time to time and sometimes on a much larger scale, like the millions of users affected by CCleaner’s multiple breaches.

Great protection at a fair price

Bitdefender has a great track record for identifying and blocking malware. The full-featured Premium Security plan adds several additional privacy and security features to keep your personal data safe.

Bitdefender is also generous with the number of devices protected, even when subscribing to its low-cost plans. With over a dozen options and a free version, Bitdefender has something for everyone, and it’s one of the best security solutions available.

As nice as Bitdefender is, there are plenty of other options for Windows laptops and computers. It’s wise to check around and see what other top antivirus software can offer.

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