Avast One is a much needed improvement with
excellent pricing, and all the features you've come to expect from
this premium suite. Both the Individual and Family plans are well
worth a look for anyone looking for a solid third-party security
There are two things Avast's paid security suites have been
known for besides solid protection: good design and high prices.
That's changing a little bit, and for the better, with Avast One,
the company's new top-tier product. Avast still offers Premier as a
step down, but Avast One is a suite well worth considering if
you're interested in solid antivirus plus some extra features and
multi-device coverage. It has a new design, three pricing tiers, a
lot more features included without extra cost, and the pricing is
much better than last we looked.
For this review we're looking at Avast One Individual.
Avast One includes an entirely new desktop app. Gone are the
blue and purple tones, and the orange splotch logo. In place of all
that, you get a more subdued aesthetic, with a lot of whites and
lightly shaded colors, accented by a bolder, and easily spotted
blue for the interface buttons.
The left rail has four simple menu items: Home,
Explore, Messages, and Account. This
makes Avast One look deceivingly simple, but there are a ton of
features once you start digging in.
The first time you fire up Avast One it asks to run a smart
scan, a not uncommon feature in a number of antivirus suites. Smart
Scans combine a security scan with scans for other problems such as
browser trackers and an excess of temporary files. The basic idea
is to clean up your PC and keep it running smoothly, as opposed to
just scanning for malware.
This is a good idea since many top suites come with PC cleaning
and maintenance utilities, but often require you to activate them.
A smart scan gets you to use at least some of these capabilities,
which is important considering some of them used to cost extra and
now are just included in the suite. The one issue with Avast's
approach is that it does the scan in three stages: browser threats,
viruses malware, and PC cleaning. That's fine, but it
requires user intervention to initiate each phase instead of just
plowing through the entire scan and delivering a report at the end.
The constant requirement to continue at the end of each phase gets
a little annoying. Not a deal breaker, but this could be handled
While the smart scan is the primary scan Avast asks you to do,
scroll down Avast One's Home page and you get shortcuts to run a
deep scan, a targeted scan on a specific folder or set of folders,
initiate a VPN scan, or use the PC optimization tools.
Moving on to Explore you get into the meat of Avast
One's features. Explore is really more of a launchpad for
all the deeper controls of the security suite. For example, under
Explore you have Scan Center, which has its own
screen and includes the controls for all the types of scans you
want. This includes the types of scans we've already talked about,
as well as a boot-time scan. You can also save scans in the
Custom Scans section if there's a type of scan you want to
run repeatedly. This is also the section where you can schedule
scans, such as running a deep scan once a month, and peform a quick
scan every day.
Explore section. Image: IDG
Other key security features inside Explore include file
shield for monitoring changes to files for malicious behavior,
ransomware protection, web shield for staying safe online, a
firewall allowing you to block internet access on a per-app basis,
webcam protection, and a number of other features.
The firewall is particularly nice since it offers customizable
security in a very simple interface. It's not the most advanced
firewall you can find, but it's a firewall that even non-techies
can use if they feel the need. For paid users, the firewall hides
key identifiers of your PC from other devices on the same network
such as the PC's name and the type of device. If another device
starts doing a port scan on your PC, the firewall will notify you,
and it's built to deter man-in-the-middle attacks.
Avast's built-in VPN allows unlimited bandwidth as part of the
paid packages, with a wide range of country locations to choose
from. Free users also aren't left out, with a solid 5GB per week.
This is quite a switch from the prior suites that wanted more money
to use the VPN. The paid version supports peer-to-peer transfers,
as well as streaming servers for viewing geo-restricted content.
Avast can also automatically turn on the VPN when you do things
like go to banking or shopping websites. Those are nice additions,
though be aware that you really shouldn't be going onto a banking
website over Wi-Fi on a network you don't trust.
The paid version also has what is commonly called dark web
monitoring but what Avast calls Password Protection. This feature
alerts you if any of your passwords for online services ever get
revealed in a data breach.
The other two parts of Avast One are for managing your account
and receiving notifications from the company. That's it. The
interface is far more simplified than it once was, and it already
wasn't very complicated. This is an excellent design and is easily
navigable by anyone from a grizzled PC veteran to a novice
Avast One's messaging
alerts you to actions that should be carried out.
Testing house AV-Test gave Avast Free, which uses the same
detection engines as Avast One, a 100 percent score for protection
against 0-day malware and widespread and prevalent malware. The
testing occurred in July and August 2021.
AV-Comparatives' September 2021 Malware Protection
Test found that Avast blocked 99.97 percent of threats from
more than 10,000 samples. That's good, though Avira, Bitdfender, G
Data, McAfee, Norton, TotalAV, Total Defense, and Vipre scored
slightly betterâ€”we're only talking hundredths of a percent
AV-Comparatives' real-world protection test for
July and August found that Avast blocked 99.7 percent of threats
from 380 samples. Only Norton, Panda, and Trend Micro had a better
score, while AVG, Bitdefender, K7, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft,
Total Defense, and Vipre scored the same.
For our in-house hardware performance tests, we found that Avast
had no real performance impact on our large file transfer test,
archiving test, and the Handbrake encoding test. The only
noticeable change is that unzip times were actually a little bit
faster at just under 7 minutes with Avast installed compared with
around 8 minutes without.
For the PC Mark Extended test, the PC performed slightly better,
with an average score of 1630.67 after three consecutive runs
compared with an average of 1643 without Avast installed. The main
performance impact was found in the productivity tests that deal
with spreadsheets and text documents. That's perhaps not surprising
given that Avast One is monitoring files for malicious changes. The
difference isn't too huge overall, however; and unless you're
opening a ton of large datasets in Excel you shouldn't see much of
a performance impact. Gaming performance was unaffected by Avast
Old habits die hard.
Despite all the changes, Avast still offers to install Google
Chrome during setup. Image: IDG
Avast One Individual costs US$48 for the first year for new
customers, with a regular price of US$100 per year. For that price
you get one Avast account that covers five devices. That's quite a
switch from Avast's old Premier pricing that would cover a single
PC for US$70.
Avast One Family provides six accounts and coverage for up to 30
devices and is priced at $72 for the first year for new customers,
and a regular price of US$140 per year.
If a paid suite isn't your bag then there's also Avast One
Essential, which includes a lot of features for free, including
that 5GB of VPN usage every week. But you miss out on items like
the sensitive data shield, webcam protection, and optimization
features such as the disk cleaner and driver updater.
Avast One is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Avast One is a very good suite. The price is right, the
protection is excellent, and the performance impacts are negligible
for most users. Avast is also a good value with the One lineup,
which is not something I would've said about Avast Premier a few
years ago. If you're looking for a new security suite, or want to
upgrade your current Avast lifestyle, I'd highly recommend looking
at Avast One.
Editor's note: Because online services are
often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements
over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately
reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or
our final review verdict will be noted at the top of this