TotalAV Antivirus Pro review: A lot of promise and value with weak spots

This base level suite offers a surprising amount of tools.

Credit: Protected

The world of antivirus is a well-established industry made up of major players that are already pretty well known. Every now and then, however, a newcomer shows up for a piece of the pie. One relative newbie is TotalAV from Protected, a UK-based company founded in 2016.

TotalAV offers three different levels of protection: Antivirus Pro, Internet Security, and Total Security. Each tier adds a few more extra features, though you get a surprisingly good amount of value with the base level Antivirus Pro.

Note: This review is part of our best antivirus roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

Features and services

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TotalAV Antivirus Pro dashboard.

The Antivirus Pro dashboard is a simple affair. At the top is a status message indicating whether the system is protected based on the usual red, yellow, green color-coding scheme. Below that is the option to run what the company calls a “Smart Scan.”

TotalAV’s smart scan is reminiscent of the PC Matic approach. In addition to looking for security issues, the scan also looks for junk and duplicate files, browser history and cookies, as well as performance issues. Once the scan is complete, TotalAV provides an option to take action on everything the scan finds.

To access a standard security scan click on the shield icon in the left rail to see options for a full system scan, quick scans, and a customized scan.

The smart scan is a nice touch beyond typical malware scans, especially the duplicate finder. In our tests, it did a pretty good job of analyzing duplicate files based on their contents. Features like this are pretty rare on base-level antivirus programs. Typically, these types of premium features are reserved for the more expensive suites.

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TotalAV’s duplicate file finder.

Clicking on the speedometer icon in the left rail shows all of the various system tune-up options available including an application uninstaller, startup manager, and browser cleanup. We aren’t huge fans of these utilities since features like this are either already built in to Windows 10 or available for fee. Still, to see this in the basic suite is a surprise.

Antivirus Pro’s internet security section (the fingerprint icon) offers protection against malicious websites, as well as a data-breach check. Upgrading to the higher tiers adds a VPN with 32 country locations, and a browser add-on for blocking ads and trackers.

Dipping into settings, there are a number of items to tweak here. By default it scans removable drives and archives, but that can be deactivated. Scan scheduling also happens in the settings. The WebShield options allow white listing for domains if TotalAV gets too aggressive, and there’s an option to exclude files and folders from duplicate scans.

TotalAV Antivirus Pro costs $29 to cover three devices for the first year. The price after that rises to $99.

Performance

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An active TotalAV smart scan.

Currently, AV-Test is the only testing house we follow that’s looked at TotalAV. Its results were mixed. In the zero-day malware attacks test, with 331 samples, TotalAV scored 91.5 percent in November and 97.4 percent in December. The industry average is 99.1 percent, putting TotalAV noticeably below the norm.

Results were a little better with the widespread and prevalent malware-detection test. In both November and December, TotalAV scored 99.8 percent. The industry average is 100 percent, but that is pretty close and larger antivirus names can often fall a little short like this from time to time. The bigger issue is the poor showing in the zero-day malware attacks test.

For our in-house performance tests, TotalAV didn’t impress in the PCMark 10 test. Without TotalAV, the test PC scored 1,665. With TotalAV Antivirus Pro installed, and after running a full system scan, PCMark 10 scored 1,602, a drop of 63 points. TotalAV’s drop was not as drastic in the gaming section of the test, nor was the drop too bad during the rendering and visualization portion of the digital content creation test.

Performance was a little better with our file-transfer test. Transferring a large set of files of around 50GB was about a minute faster with TotalAV running. TotalAV also shaved off about 8 seconds from the archiving test. The unarchive time was about a minute faster with TotalAV running, and encoding a large video file with Handbrake was nearly five minutes faster with TotalAV installed.

Those are some seriously mixed results. TotalAV’s got you covered for the most common forms of malware, but its zero-day chops are concerning. Performance is good in a number of areas, but overall it has some improvement to do.

We wouldn’t expect to see much of a performance hit for beefy desktops and laptops, but underpowered budget machines might not be as happy with this suite.

Conclusion

There are a lot of promising features here, including a very good interface and a nice suite of tools. Power users with high-powered computers who like the idea of having all the extra system tune-up tools, and don’t mind running Malwarebytes Free to detect zero-day threats, might be happy with TotalAV Antivirus Pro.

Overall, however, TotalAV has some improvements to make in performance and detection before we can wholeheartedly recommend it.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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