Version 8 of Avira Premium Security Suite features a host of updates, including an improved UI plus several new features, including drive-by download, botnet attack and malicious download protection, not to mention a backup system.

All this is included in Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0 on top of the usual security suite features, such as antivirus and -spyware, firewall, antiphishing and antispam.

Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0's antimalware capabilities continue to impress. The combined virus and spyware protection scans files on demand, on access and on schedule; it also scans incoming and outgoing email.

In the most recent AV-comparatives.org tests, Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0 did very well indeed - in a 2.3m virus test, it came out top, detecting an impressive 99.6 percent, better than Norton AntiVirus's 99 percent score. Its scanning speed was also graded as 'Advanced +', again, a most creditable score. Since then, its scanning speed has been further enhanced, by up to 20% according to Avira. We can vouch for the fact that it is quite nippy.

Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0's antispam doesn't integrate with your email client per se but filters incoming POP3 email anyway. You can train it, by highlighting mis-identified spam emails - and you can set up whitelists, too.

Our ‘spam magnet' email address had more than 8,000 junk emails but it took Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0 a couple of seconds on average to process each one, which is tediously slow. It was, however, fairly accurate, with less than 2 percent of spam ending up in my Windows Mail Inbox - and almost all of that was correctly labelled as spam.

On inbound network traffic, Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0's firewall is as good as but not better than the one that's built-in for Windows. On outbound traffic it pre-approves certain known executables but you have to approve the unknowns, which can be a chore. It also seemed slow to respond when applications seek internet access.

There are a couple of new features that caught our eye. The first is the ability to download a bootable ISO image of an Avira Rescue CD and burn it to disc - handy to have in a crisis. The Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0 backup facility is rudimentary to say the least; however it does have one redeeming feature. Thanks to the modern miracle that is Plug'n'Play, you can trigger a backup simply by plugging in a USB drive.

The trouble with Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0 is that by modern standards it's not very smart - every time it detects malware, or a new program tries to access the internet, it asks you what you want to do, so it can be a bit of a pest. Best of breed AV software automatically makes intelligent decisions on your behalf.

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Avira Premium Security Suite 8.2: Specs

  • Pentium or higher, at least 133MHz
  • RAM: 192MB/512MB RAM for Windows Vista
  • 40MB free memory on the hard disk (more if quarantine is used)
  • 100MB temporary memory on the hard disk
  • Administrator rights are required for the installation
  • Pentium or higher, at least 133MHz
  • RAM: 192MB/512MB RAM for Windows Vista
  • 40MB free memory on the hard disk (more if quarantine is used)
  • 100MB temporary memory on the hard disk
  • Administrator rights are required for the installation

OUR VERDICT

Avira Premium Security Suite 8.0 is undoubtedly first-class at detecting malware but the AV game has moved on when it comes to factors such as usability, intelligence and hardware footprint. It's now looking relatively dated and awkward to use.

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