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Panda Dome Antivirus review


Panda Antivirus review

Panda Dome is a contender for the best-looking antivirus service. If you go through their screenshots, you'll see pretty icons and beautiful transparent backgrounds. No other service that I've tried comes close in terms of visuals.

Yet looks aren't everything, and there's more to a good antivirus than its UI. So, in this Panda Dome review, I'll go through their security suite, bonus features, pricing, and customer support to get the full picture. If you want to learn everything you need to know about this service - you've come to the right place.

Rating:
4.0
Free version:Yes
Price:from $44.24/year or $4.99/month for 1 device
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get Panda Dome, now 50% OFF!

Panda Dome security features

Panda pros and cons

Visit Panda to read more about its features

Password manager

Panda Dome password manager screen

If you have Panda Dome Complete or Premium, you will get a full-fledged password manager with your subscription. However, if you're using the Free, Essential, or Advanced editions, the password manager button will redirect you to the web variant.

It turns out the software itself is a modified version of the Password Depot password manager. It works very much the same way as many other password managers – you create a master password and add your credentials to a vault. Much like Password Depot, Panda's password manager also adds a password analyzer. This tells you how many of your passwords are strong enough and how long it would take to crack them.

There are also other helpful additions like a password generator. It generates a random selection of symbols and you can create secure passwords by clicking on them. This is great for those who are worried that someone could've figured out the generative patterns.

PC Cleanup

Panda DOme pc cleanup screenshot

Complete and Premium Panda Dome users also get a cleanup tool. This is a combination of the Defragmenter, Boot Manager, Registry Cleaner, and Scheduled Cleanup. Every function does pretty much what it tells you. The Defragmenter opens the built-in Windows 10 tool. So, they do not actually include their own third-party feature.

Boot Manager has its own UI, but I couldn't name a single thing that's different about it compared to Startup Options in the Windows Task Manager. The same applies to Scheduled Cleanup, which launches the same cleanup tool with time options.

In fact, the only feature that could be fully attributed to Panda Dome is their registry cleanup tool. So, on paper, this feature sounds like a much better deal than it actually is. You will be getting about as much value as you would with Avast's Cleanup Premium or AVG TuneUp.

Safe Browsing

Safe Browsing is available on all Panda Dome paid plans. As you would expect, this is a web filter that blocks malicious URLs retrieved from Panda's blacklist or specified by the user. You can allow addresses to bypass this block by adding custom rules. They can specify exact addresses or use a broader rule, including all addresses with a similar beginning. This dramatically raises the usefulness of the feature.

If you head to the Safe Browsing tab, you can find the chart of how many URLs were actually blocked and how many were allowed. This even separates the addresses into two main categories: malware and phishing.

Update manager

Panda dome updater

Keeping your software up to date is essential to ensure that your apps don't have vulnerabilities hackers can exploit. However, the process cane be quite tedious, so few users will bother manually checking (which is sometimes necessary).

Panda Dome offers a helping hand and tries to provide an easier solution to keeping your software updated. You can set it up so that it only looks to bother you for critical updates. There's also a readily accessible update history tab, so if you start noticing that your system is going haywire after patching, this will help verify the source of the issue.

You can also schedule update searches, which helps =manage how many system resources your antivirus will use. After I ran the search, the results showed that (among others) WinRAR and Firefox could use an update. While the severity of the former patch was listed as Low, the Firefox update was ranked Critical, so there is a logical basis for the differences in severity.

USB Protection

Panda Dome usb protection

If you're running a business that heavily relies on multiple people giving you data on USB thumb drives, you might be setting yourself up for infection. It might not always be feasible to launch a full system scan to ensure that no harm was done by the last USB stick you inserted.

Panda Dome has a pretty simple solution – they have automated USB Protection. After you enable this feature, every thumb drive you insert will be automatically scanned before it spreads anything nasty to your hard drive. This should also remove the malware from the thumb drive itself, meaning that it should no longer be hazardous to other devices.

Data Shield

Panda Dome data shield screenshot

With the Data Shield, you can create a barrier against malware and ransomware. It works because you specify a particular folder or program, which locks out all unauthorized access to it. That way, it cannot be overwritten or otherwise corrupted.

So, suppose you do manage to end up with ransomware on your device. That particular encrypted partition won’t be accessible to other programs, including ransomware. This means that you, in theory, could just unplug your hard drive, plug it into another computer, and just copy the files without having to pay hackers. Most providers have some form of ransomware protection. Still, it mostly focuses on malware from ever ending up on your system. Panda Dome takes a completely different approach.

Anti-theft

Subscribers of Complete and Premium plans get a remote monitoring suite called Anti-theft. After you enable it, you have to confirm your account and password. Even if you're already logged in. Then you have to add your device to the protected list. Once you confirm everything, you should be able to track your device remotely. So, when you log into your Panda Dome account, you'll see your laptop on the map, provided that it's connected to the Internet.

Some different iterations of the same feature are also available for mobile devices. I'd argue that they provide more value simply because you can force them to always be online. Just don't forget to couple this feature with an adequate screen lock method.

VPN

Panda dome vpn

The VPN functionality is only reserved for Premium plan users. Panda Dome isn't the direct provider of the feature. It's actually licensing Hotspot Shield's VPN services (Bitdefender is also taking the same route for its VPN). Though you could get much better service if you were actually buying directly and cutting Panda Dome as the middleman.

First of all, none of the apps for Panda Dome has a kill switch functionality built-in. This makes this service pretty much unusable for high-discretion activities when getting your identity exposed is completely unacceptable.

Secondly, the app provides much worse customization options. Also, the simultaneous connections limit is tied to the number of licenses that you can activate. So, if your plan allows installing Panda Dome on five devices, you will only be able to get five simultaneous connections out of it.

The key area where the service redeems itself is speed. The speeds are breakneck in classic Hotspot Shield fashion and could rival even some dedicated third-party VPN scores.

Is Panda Dome safe?

Panda Dome is a perfectly safe antivirus suite, but it has some drawbacks. Their malware lab test scores don't seem to be that impressive, especially when stacked against the competition.

AV-Comparatives tested Panda Dome extensively in March. They found that their overall detection rate was 99.98% when combining online and offline methods. However, the average number of false positives was a bit on the higher side – 65 cases. Most services that qualify for the best scores find only up to 10 false positives, which puts Panda at the worse end of the scale. Their final evaluation is Standard, which is below the Advanced, and Advanced+ ranks, entirely due to the false positives.

The most recent AV-Test evaluation was in 2018 - several years ago. They did get the AV-Test certified badge, and their malware scores were pretty good. However, more recent results would give users more confidence.

Overall, Panda Dome's antivirus proficiencies seem very good, but more data wouldn’t hurt, and neither would fewer false positives. Depending on the edition you'll be picking up, the number of features available to you will vary.

The gap between the Free edition and Premium is pretty big - you could almost review them as separate products. I will be looking at the full suite of features, so keep that in mind when considering a subscription.

Plans and pricing

Panda Dome actually has five different plans: Free, Essential, Advanced, Complete, and Premium. Each one has different pricing and different sets of available features. Some features, like the VPN or password manager, can also be purchased separately, which I wouldn't recommend doing because the antivirus bundle with these features will cost you less.

VersionFeaturesPricing
FreeMalware scans, real-time protection, VPN (150 MB/day), Smart Shopping, Secure browser, USB protection, Rescue kit, Process monitor$0.00
EssentialAll the features from Free, with Safe Browsing, Firewall, Application Control, Wi-Fi protection, Virtual keyboard, Anti-theft (mobile-only)$44.24/year for 1 device
AdvancedAll the features from Essential with Parental controls, Web filter, and Data shield$53.24/year for 1 device
CompleteAll the features from Advanced with full password manager, anti-theft tools, file encryption, shredder, and PC Cleanup$80.24/year for 1 device
PremiumAll the features from Complete with update manager, VIP tech support, and unlimited VPN$125.24/year for 1 device

Panda Dome Free

If you're dead-set on saving every nickel, Panda Dome does have a free version. For absolutely no cost, you can get a hold of quite a lot of features.

  • Real-time offline protection
  • Extensive malware scans
  • VPN with a data cap of 150MB/day
  • Smart shopping (a plug-in that finds better deals when you're shopping online)
  • Secure browser
  • USB protection
  • Rescue kit (creates a copy of portable Panda Dome on your thumb drive to scan other infected devices)
  • Process monitor

This plan used to include Safe Browsing, which got moved to the Essential edition. This means that Panda Dome might be good enough for an offline checkup, but your online channels won't be covered. Only after you download malware will Panda Dome be able to do something about it, at which point it could be too late. However, you are getting the service for free.

Panda Dome Essential

Essential is the cheapest paid option you can get. It adds the same features that are available in the free version and expands them further:

  • Safe Browsing
  • Firewall
  • Application Control
  • Wi-Fi protection
  • Virtual keyboard
  • Anti-theft tools for mobile devices

This plan expands the online options, making it a more well-rounded suite. This comes for a price, though. The Essential plan costs $44.24/year or $4.99/month for one device, so it will be cheaper if you were to opt for a longer subscription.

Panda Dome Advanced

If you live by the rule that the best wine is always the second-cheapest, you might consider Panda Dome Advanced. It also offers every feature from their lower pricing tier and adds more:

  • Parental Controls
  • Web filter
  • Data shield

The prices follow suit, and for the second cheapest option, Panda Dome is asking $53.24/year or $5.99/month for one device. At this point, you should be really taking a close look at the offer and decide whether these three added features constitute a good basis for a more expensive purchase.

Panda Dome Complete

Judging from the name, it would seem like their Complete edition has all the features and is the most expensive, but that isn't the case. Complete is only their second most expensive plan. It expands on the Advanced plan with these features:

  • Full password manager functionality
  • Laptop anti-theft tools
  • File encryption
  • File shredder
  • PC Cleanup

This is a much stronger suite, and the price reflects it. Complete starts from $80.24/year or $8.99/month for one device.

Panda Dome Premium

If the rest of the plans left you desiring more features, there's Panda Dome Premium. It's the final version and includes all of the features, so if you must get absolutely everything, this is the one to pick. It adds:

  • Update manager
  • VIP tech support
  • Unlimited VPN

Their VIP support isn't just limited to their live chat. This covers even areas like email security settings, social media account privacy checkups and even includes assistance with peripherals like printers. Essentially, you're getting your personal IT consultant that will help you with almost anything that could go wrong.

The cost is $125.24/year or $13.99/month for one device. That's certainly a pretty penny, but the value you get (assuming you need all the features) is massive.

Is Panda worth the money?

If their Free plan leaves much to be desired, the paid version does its best to shower you with features. Panda Dome is truly a premium service in every sense of the word. My intuition says many users won't be able to justify the cost of the more expensive Panda Dome plans. But some will, and if you need all the features, this antivirus suite can be a great deal.

Ease of use and setup

The service was built with respect for newer users, and it shows. Every setup step will be as stress-free as possible. You won't encounter tricks like Avast installing other apps alongside your antivirus. This even applies to their free version. So, no matter which platform you're using, your setup should go smoothly.

Windows app

The Panda Dome Windows app is probably the best version of this antivirus. At first, it seems like there are only five options on the home screen, though, after a while, I figured out that you can scroll down and reveal four more rows of additional features that you can access. What can be confusing is that some are a bit hard to figure out just from the icons you have to click.

panda dome main screen

Also, some of the features do not live up to the quality of others. For instance, the defragmenter tool just opens the built-in windows defragmentation tool. The update manager was not as responsive and fast as I had hoped, but other than that, the number of features is huge.

macOS app

It is way leaner compared to the Windows app, and it has a completely different design. It is more playful and animated. The only features that got to the macOS version of the app are the antivirus, web filter, and VPN. It could be argued that these are the most important. Still, it's a bit strange that the password manager, parental controls and the firewall didn't make the cut.

panda dome macos

Not to mention that the password manager just works through the web browser. I was appalled by the time it took for the quick scan to complete. It took around 30 minutes to get halfway through instead of just under a minute on Windows. Our test macOS unit is a bit slower, so don't take this as a direct comparison.

Android app

The app has a pretty clean and straightforward interface, so the quick scan is actually pretty fast. Many features like anti-theft, app locking, and parental controls also make their appearance in this version.

panda dome android ui

There some exclusives like a call blocker and Privacy Auditor. The latter can show you what kind of permissions every app on your phone has. Overall, I would say that this app stays between Windows and macOS versions in terms of features. Which is more than could be said about most antiviruses for Android.

iOS app

The features are very similar to the Android app, though some features are missing. Parental controls, Anti-theft, VPN, and the antivirus itself are the only features that are available in this version of the app.

panda dome ios ui

It doesn't seem that Panda Dome doesn't break the inferior iOS app tradition.

Customer support

If you need help with anything, Panda Dome has an extensive FAQ section. There, you will be able to self-diagnose and solve the most common issues that might arise when using the apps. The guides are up to date, and you should easily find your way around.

However, if that doesn't quite cut it and you need human assistance, there is a ticket system. Once you fill out all the required information, their customer support agents will get in touch with you.

Premium plan subscribers can take advantage of 24/7 unlimited technical support for all your needs. This might be the most extreme customer support option I've ever seen. With that said, its price tag is also significant.

How good is Panda antivirus?

Panda Dome is a great antivirus service: it provides good malware protection and useful subscription benefits. Even with the free version, you're getting a VPN and malware scanning. Paid options take this to new heights, with numerous features expanding potential usability options.

That said, their malware removal tools have some false positives. At the same time, some features use built-in OS tools and some of the more expensive pricing plans are definitely on the expensive side. With all that said, even at its most expensive, Panda Dome will be useful to those who need the advanced features.

FAQ


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