Panda Global Protection 2014 is first of the new batch of 2014 IS products we've seen. Its main new claim to fame is its multi-platform provision. See all security software reviews.
Panda was one of the first companies to start using a cloud-based malware database as part of an Internet Security scheme. The lighter footprint of its scan engine is claimed to hit system resources less than programs that are fully resident. See also: what's the best security software?
To some extent other IS developers have caught up with this concept, as many now have cloud-based components to their suites, storing the bulky databases online, so they can be instantly updated with new signatures. Take a look at 5 of the best free antivirus programs for Windows PC, laptop or tablet.
Panda has taken the Windows 8 look to heart and the main interface is a brightly coloured set of tiles in a neat window within the classic desktop. The top row shows status results from recent scans, the next row calls up key features like scans, reports and backups, but also mixes in services and multi-platform support.
The bottom row shows the status of anti-virus, firewall, identity protection, anti-spam and parental control. At the bottom are tiny icons for things like password management along with a virtual keyboard.
The core functions are pretty much set and forget and Panda has tried the same approach with backup, where a complete online copy to the third-party service Mozy is included, as long as it doesn't exceed 2 GB. If you'd prefer a local backup, Panda offers drive C as the default location – an odd choice, given you should never back up to the drive you're trying to protect.
We successfully installed the Android version of the software on a Samsung Galaxy Mini. The Mac version requires a minimum of an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. When the Mac version is installed, it automatically scans any iPod, iPad or iPhone connected to it, too. There's no resident iOS version.
Panda claims the suite ‘enhances the features that have made the solution one of the best security suites on the market', but this doesn't seem to include scan speed.
The 2014 version of the suite took 41 min 52 sec to examine 456,376 files from our 50 GB basket, giving a scan rate of 181 files/sec.
Last year, its 2013 equivalent took 39 min 49 sec to examine 456,329 files, a scan rate of 191 files/s – slightly higher than the new product. When we repeated the test on the 2014 product, it was a bit quicker, but still tested exactly the same number of files.
We expected the software to fingerprint files, so it didn't retest those that were unchanged; the 2013 suite did this and tested 273,770 in 23 min 42 sec. It's a shame the new software doesn't reduce its overhead this way.
When we copied 2 GB of files without and with a scan running, the copy time increased from 43s to 53s, just 23 percent. This is good, low resource hit and well above average for the suites we've tested.
AV-Test hasn't tested Panda Global Protection 2014 yet, but the free version of the 2013 product, which uses the same cloud-based engine as Panda's 2013 product, scored 13.5/18.0, a very respectable result.