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ESET Antivirus review: is it secure enough?


ESET has a reputation for being one of the most secure antivirus products on the market. Users appreciate ESET’s extensive offering of excellent protection features like the anti-theft tool for stolen devices, strong performance in independent lab tests, and a great Android application.

Although it’s not quite as well known as the likes of Norton 360 or Bitdefender, it still boasts more than 100 million users across 200 countries, most picking the tried and trusted ESET Home Security Essential plan with all the best security features ESET offers. Frankly, it’s not difficult to see why it’s so popular.

But is ESET really as good as it sounds? What security features does it offer? And how much does it cost? Read our full ESET antivirus review to find out everything you need to know about ESET.

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⭐ Rating:
4.3
🥇 Overall rank:#6 out of #25
💵 Price:From $49.99/year
✂️ Free version:No
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
🔥 Coupons:ESET coupon up to 15% OFF
Best alternatives:

ESET pros & cons

Visit ESET to learn more about the features

Is ESET any good?

ESET is a safe antivirus that's really good at protecting your devices from malware, phishing scams, ransomware, and other online threats. While testing the program, we found that it kept our devices completely secure while browsing online. In addition to this, ESET has some great features to help you recover your device if it gets lost or stolen. It also lets you keep an eye on who’s logging into your Wi-Fi router.

However, if you seek to protect multiple devices with antivirus software, then ESET prices start to become a lot steeper. Especially when you can compare this software offer to another antivirus leader on the market – TotalAV, which offers great protection for more than half the price for multiple devices.

Best alternative to ESET
TotalAV is one of the best antivirus products on the market, offering excellent virus detection rates, a great user interface, and one of the best prices among competitors.
cybernews® score
4.9 /5

You don’t need to blindly believe us when we name ESET as one of the most secure antiviruses. In independent lab tests, ESET performed almost flawlessly for protection, performance and usability.

AV lab test for Android

According to AV Test Institute, ESET antivirus gets a perfect six for all three categories on Android and a nearly perfect 17.5 total score when tested on Windows. So it’s definitely one of the best antivirus solutions on the market.

AV lab test for Windows

In addition, ESET provides great Android security features with the ESET mobile security plans. You really can’t do better than ESET to protect your mobile devices from online threats.

ESET Antivirus security review

ESET provides almost flawless antivirus protection by offering a really sophisticated suite of security features. Let’s take a look at what these are and how well they perform.

Multi-platform protection

ESET offers comprehensive protection for Windows, macOS, Android, macOS, and Linux, which means you can protect a wide range of devices. And not only that – depending on which plan you choose, you can protect multiple devices with the same license. Thus, you can use it on your laptop, smartphone and tablet.

A license for ESET NOD32, for example, can be used to activate ESET Cyber Security or ESET Cyber Security Pro on a Mac. So you know that, no matter what operating system or device you use, you’ll be getting a comprehensive suite of security features tailored to the platform you’re using.

Ransomware protection

Ransomware is one of the worst types of malware. Once it sneaks into your device, it encrypts all your files, demanding a ransom. Ransomware is difficult to get rid of, that’s why it’s important you take all the necessary measures to prevent it.

Luckily, ESET is able to prevent ransomware from entering your system. Of course, to be 100% safe, you should also back up all your important files and avoid opening suspicious email attachments or links.

Banking and privacy secured

ESET promises to keep your banking details more secure, enabling you to shop online without worrying about your payment details being compromised. This feature activates automatically whenever you visit a recognized financial site. It will help you switch to a secure browser in order to protect your payment data.

Once you’ve opted to use a secure browser for a financial website, it will then automatically open in a secure browser whenever you visit it.

ESET firewall desktop screen

ESET Antivirus extra features

Like most antivirus programs, ESET offers a few additional features in addition to its security options. Let’s explore them below.

Anti-theft

ESET comes with some handy features to keep your devices safe from theft:

  • Location tracking lets you label your device as missing in the ESET anti-theft web interface if you ever lose it. This handy feature will then automatically monitor your device and display its position on a map by using the Wi-Fi networks in range as soon as the device comes online. You can then access this information using ESET’s anti-theft feature whenever you need to find out where your device is.
  • Anti-theft optimization makes it easy to configure Windows auto-login and operating system account passwords. This helps you increase the level of security by prompting you to modify your key system settings.
  • Laptop activity watch works by letting you access your laptop’s built-in webcam to watch the thieves who stole your machine. You can even collect snapshots of your missing laptop’s screen and save recent photos to help you recover your laptop.
  • One way messaging lets you create a message and display it on the screen of your missing device to increase the chances of you getting it back.
  • Phantom account means you can create a fake account for thieves to log into. This means they can log into this fake account without a password, so they won’t be able to access any of your personal files.
  • Browsing history and IP address access lets you see what a thief is searching for on your device. Also, it allows you to track your device’s location by looking at its IP address.

These tools are actually really useful if your device is lost or stolen as it can help you recover it. And the anti-theft features are a particularly handy addition for your mobile device or your laptop.

ESET Password Manager

ESET has bundled a password manager with its premium plans. And it’s pretty good, as password managers go, although there are other programs out there that offer more features.

The main thing is that the ESET password manager is very secure. It uses 256-bit AES secure encryption to protect your passwords from hackers.

And it’s convenient, too. It allows you to sync passwords across all your devices, so long as you have the ESET app on them. And on your desktop, it comes as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

In testing, ESET’s password manager worked well, auto filling and auto saving my passwords without any errors or prompts. It really is very intuitive.

However, it’s worth noting that it can only import passwords from a select number of third-party password managers. This can cause a major problem if you’re transitioning from an existing password manager to ESET.

It’s more worisome that ESET’s password manager is missing some pretty essential features you’ll find on many of its competitors. This includes breach monitoring, auditing, password sharing between users, and emergency access.

All in all, if you don’t have a password manager and you’re thinking of signing up to one of ESET’s more expensive plans, you might as well use the password manager included. But if not, you’d probably be better off using a third-party password manager that has more to offer.

Browser Privacy & Security

ESET launched the Browser Privacy & Security feature with four crucial functionalities:

  • Secure Search. With this functionality, it’s easy to check Google, Edge, and Firefox for phishing links that may be hidden in search results.
  • Browser Cleanup. Cleaning cookies, history, and other related data has never been easier, as the new feature enables scheduling regular browser cleanups.
  • Metadata Cleanup. This feature removes metadata (GPS location and camera type) from pictures uploaded online. The feature is available for ESET Home Security Ultimate plan subscribers.
  • Website Settings Review. You can now review and change website permissions like location and microphone access using your ESET antivirus. The feature is available for ESET Home Security Ultimate plan subscribers.

Identity Protection

Another great feature that comes with ESET antivirus is Identity Protection. Unfortunately, it is only available to those who subscribe to the ESET Home Security Ultimate plan. The feature performs monitoring, delivers alerts, and offers recovery services to help protect against identity theft.

ESET’s Identity Protection feature covers the following:

  • Credit and credit score monitoring
  • Social security number tracking
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Social media monitoring
  • Insurance coverage up to $1 million USD
  • Identity restoration services

VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is an essential privacy and security tool for internet users. It encrypts traffic to ensure your search history remains private even if you live in a country where internet users are heavily monitored and content is censored.

ESET’s VPN enables you to create a secure and private connection over public networks. All data transmitted between your device and the VPN server is encrypted and hidden from anybody who tries to intercept it.

A VPN can offer more than security and privacy. It also can help bypass certain geo-restrictions that block users from accessing streaming platforms or certain libraries. It also makes file-sharing more secure and anonymous. Moreover, if an internet service provider (ISP) throttles internet speeds, a VPN can help avoid that.

Plans and pricing

ESET antivirus provides excellent protection against online threats and has loads of useful features to keep your devices safe, even if they’re lost or stolen. But how much does it cost? There are three different price points. Let’s break them down to help you decide which, if any, of these plans is right for you.

PlanFeaturesPrice
ESET Home Security Essential
Real-time protection, fast scans, safe banking and browsing, smartphone and smart home protection$49.99/year
ESET Home Security Premium
Password manager, encryption for sensitive data and photos$59.99/year
ESET Home Security Ultimate
Metadata cleanup, unwanted notification blocking, identity theft protection, unlimited VPN$179.99/year

ESET Home Security Essential

The first and most basic offering from ESET is the NOD32 Home Security Essential plan. And what you get with it depends on what platform you’re using.

If you’re using Windows, the ESET Home Security Essential plan gives you access to ESET’s antivirus and real-time protection from ransomware attacks. But it doesn’t come with any of ESET’s more premium tools. In case you have Android, however, none of the ESET NOD32 Essential Protection features will work on your device.

For those who use macOS, the ESET NOD 32 Home Security Essential package will give access to ESET’s basic antivirus security suite. It also offers excellent protection from ransomware. But, as with the Windows version, it doesn’t come with any of the premium features. If you’re using Linux, however, the ESET Home Security Essential plan gives you exactly the same security features as on the more expensive plans.

Prices start at $49.99/year for one device. However, there's an option to protect up to 10 devices at an additional cost.

ESET Home Security Premium

For a few extra dollars, you can get a lot more in the way of security features. ESET’s Home Security Premium package comes with all the antivirus and ransomware protection included in the NOD32 Home Security Essential plan. But it also comes with a few extra tools to keep you safe from online threats.

If you’re using Windows, the ESET Home Security Premium package comes with:

  • Network and ransomware protection
  • Safe browsing
  • Wi-Fi network protection

If you use an Android, the ESET Home Security Premium plan is pretty great. It comes with:

  • Malware protection
  • Ransomware protection
  • App permission request management

If you’re using macOS, the ESET Home Security Premium package is a great choice because it has the same features as the ones included in the most expensive option. Including ransomware and network protection.

The plan for Linux gives you an identical set of features as the other plans. It comes with access to its antivirus software and the ability to keep your computer optimized with a small system footprint.

The ESET Home Security Premium plan starts at $59.99/year for the first year. The price increases based on the number of devices you wish to safeguard. By paying a few extra dollars, you can secure up to 10 devices

ESET Home Security Ultimate

As you might imagine, ESET Home Security Ultimate plan comes with absolutely all of ESET’s security features to deliver maximum protection from online threats.

If the OS of your choice is Windows, this is where the ESET Ultimate package really stands out. Together with all the features included in the ESET Home Security Ultimate plan, you also get access to the metadata cleanup feature, unwanted notification blocking, identity theft protection, and an unlimited VPN

All this would cost you $179.99/year, which is pretty pricey for antivirus software, particularly when you consider that this price only covers you for one device. Similar to other plans, you have the option to protect up to 10 devices by paying an additional fee.

ESET solutions for business

If you want to protect your small business from viruses, ESET has you covered. It offers a few different plans for enterprises, covering from five to 100 devices.

You can manage all the devices from a single dashboard, examining and reviewing each threat separately.

Here are the different plans ESET offers for businesses:

  • Protect Entry includes security management, endpoint protection, and file server security.
  • Protect Advanced includes everything from Protect Entry together with full disk encryption and cloud sandbox.
  • Protect Complete includes everything from Protect Advanced together with mail security and cloud app protection.

Ease of use and setup

We found ESET pretty easy to set up and use. It didn’t take long to download, and it had simple step-by-step instructions to make sure users enabled all the correct permissions.

As soon as it’s installed on your machine, ESET begins scanning your device for viruses and then flags any potential issues. These can then be resolved by ESET’s software with just a click of a button.

The desktop interface is clean and free of clutter, with a handy features menu listed on the left side of the app. I liked the simple, colorful layout and found it very intuitive and easy to navigate.

It’s really easy to do an antivirus scan and the options for customization are not difficult to set up. So it’s great for both advanced and average users.

ESET mobile app

ESET’s app works really well on Android. However, it’s not available on iPhone. So if you’re on iOS and you want antivirus software, you’ll need to look for another security solution.

eset mobile app

Therefore, we tested the Android version. And as antivirus smartphone apps go, it’s actually really good. It comes with a load of handy tools and features:

  • Antivirus scanner lets you scan your device for viruses straight away. It also has options to let you schedule scans or allow it to perform an antivirus scan as soon as you’ve plugged in your device.
  • Anti-theft protection helps you locate your device if it gets lost or stolen by using GPS and checking its IP address. You can also see the browsing history, and you can even take screenshots from your device to see exactly what it’s being used for. This should help you locate it.
  • Anti phishing protection keeps your personal information safe by blocking any website or domain listed in the ESET malware database.
  • Payment protection adds an additional layer of protection whenever you’re using a banking or payment app.
  • App Lock works to protect your privacy by preventing others from going through the personal data on your apps to guard against unauthorized access.
  • Call filter blocks any unknown or hidden numbers that keep bothering you. It also lets you filter calls by the caller’s ID and the time of day.
  • Connected Home allows you to see all the devices connected to your home Wi-Fi network and scan your router for potential vulnerabilities.
  • Security Audit lets you review and adjust your device settings and app permissions

How good is the ESET mobile security app?

While testing the ESET application, we were pretty impressed by how successful it was at blocking malware threats and flagging suspicious apps we tried downloading from the Google Play Store. Of course, considering it’s perfect score in the independent lab tests, it’s hardly surprising that it performed flawlessly.

The anti-theft feature was particularly useful and helped locate a missing device very quickly during testing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an alarm that you can set off remotely to alert anyone to the fact your phone has been stolen. And it doesn’t have the option to wipe your personal data from your phone.

Aside from that, ESET’s mobile app for Android works really well and provides an excellent level of protection without costing the earth.

You can test ESET Mobile Security risk-free for 30 days. ESET supports not just smarthpones but also tablets and foldable devices.

Customer support

Unlike a lot of antivirus software providers, ESET actually makes its phone number easy to find. In fact, it’s included in the footer of the website. There are loads of other useful contact details available, with numbers and email addresses for each department. So whether you want to reach the Sales team, Marketing, Customer Service, or IT Support, you can find an easy way of contacting them.

This is so much more useful than having to go through endless help guides and preliminary questions before you can find the contact details, as is the case with the majority of antivirus software sites.

There’s also a Customer Support option on the mobile app, which is really useful.

Most of the departments are open and able to respond to emails and answer calls between 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. Which seems pretty reasonable, although it’s not ideal if you encounter a problem out of hours.

ESET’s website does claim that it offers 24/7 email support, although we definitely had to wait until office hours for an answer. Still, this is pretty good, and we really liked the fact that ESET doesn’t try to put you off getting in touch.

And if you would rather try to resolve your issue without speaking to someone, ESET does have plenty of help guides and FAQs to guide you through any common problem you may be having with your ESET software or account.

ESET Video review

Want to know all ins and outs of ESET? Check out our ESET video review:

ESET Antivirus alternatives

In case you’re not sure whether ESET is the right antivirus for your device and want to see how it compares to other top products of the market, check out some of the short comparisons below.

TotalAV

TotalAV is one of the best antivirus software providers on the market right now. Not only does this antivirus software provide the best security from already known and zero-day malware threats, but it also provides additional security features, for a very approachable price.

When comparing ESET vs TotalAV, TotalAV is a much more reliable and secure option that includes a VPN, password manager, and identity theft protection features. Check out the TotalAV review for more information.

Bitdefender

Bitdefender is yet another great antivirus solution.. That’s because it’s not only inexpensive but also packs lots of security features that will help you sleep better at night, knowing your system is fully protected.

When it comes to ESET vs Bitdefender, the latter offers more advanced features like anti-webcam hijack, a VPN, and Profiles. You can read our Bitdefender review for more info.

Norton 360

When comparing ESET vs Norton, it’s quite apparent that they are programs of a similar caliber, from virus detection rates to app quality. However, Norton 360 has a slight edge on ESET in terms of the selection of features.

For example, it has webcam protection, dark web monitoring, and a VPN in lower-tier plans. Also, the basic package of Norton 360 is cheaper than the standard plan of ESET.

Is ESET antivirus worth getting?

In practice, we found that ESET’s antivirus protection worked really well. It detected potential threats and managed to protect against various threats. Furthermore, it performed really well in independent lab tests.

However, ESET’s security suite is not without its faults. The secure browser that promises to encrypt everything you type sounds great, but it doesn’t actually offer that much added protection. After all, it doesn’t keep you safe from screen loggers.

Aside from that, the spam filter wasn’t as useful as it sounds. It only works on Microsoft Outlook, which is hardly the most popular email service.

Overall, if you’re after a decent level of online security, ESET’s anti-phishing, firewall, and Wi-Fi monitoring are great. But if you want something a bit more robust, Norton 360 or TotalAV might be a better way to go.


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