Bitdefender Antivirus Review – The Pros and Cons of Using Bitdefender

By Conner Sinclair | Antimalware

Last Updated on

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus has previously topped out with the major testing labs as offering exceptional virus and spyware protection.

The PC protection program was certified by AV-Comparatives, Virus Bulletin, West Coast Labs, and AV-Test independent testing labs.

Bitdefender is a 18-year old company launched in 2001 offering a number of different security products over the years.  The latest version of its antivirus protection has undergone an interface redesign offering new security features that enhance protection for your home PC.

The following are just a few of the security products that Bitdefender has to offer:

  • Antivirus Plus
  • Internet Security
  • Total Security
  • Mobile Security
  • Antivirus for Mac

Clearly, Bitdefender has a lot to offer, but do its security solutions provide the best bang for your buck? Is it worth the investment, or is Bitdefender just another lemon? I’ll help you answer those questions by picking apart the prices, features, and real-world threat prevention efficacy of Bitdefender.

Top Bitdefender Features

  1. Complete data protection – protects against viruses, malware, worms, Trojans, ransomware, zero-day vulnerabilities, spyware and rootkits
  2. Advanced threat defense – uses behavioral detection to keep a close watch over background processes and applications to monitor suspicious activity
  3. Multi-layer ransomware protection – provides a “quarantined zone” where stored personal files will be impervious to ransomware encryption
  4. Rescue mode – can be run in rescue mode, which can eliminate viruses that run before or as your computer is booting
  5. Anti-phishing – blocks bad URLs that contain viruses and malicious activity
  6. Anti-fraud – warns you before you visit dubious websites that may try to scam you
  7. Secure browsing – scans your search results before you visit any links
  8. Bitdefender autopilot – completely automated virus protection
  9. Bitdefender photon – adapts to your unique hardware configuration to maximize efficiency
  10. Cloud integration – scans data signatures in the cloud to further lessen the impact on local memory and CPU utilization
  11. Game, movie, and work modes – smart software can detect if you’re gaming or watching a movie to avoid inundating you with messages and alerts
  12. Battery mode – special mode designed for peak energy efficiency
  13. Online identity protection – the unique browser will protect you from online fraud and identity theft
  14. Social network protection – scans potentially harmful links on social media for added protection
  15. Password manager – free password manager to securely store all your usernames and passwords
  16. File shredder – permanently deletes sensitive data in a manner that can’t be recovered

I have to say, wow – that’s quite a laundry list of features that surpass the functionality of most other competitors. Given that there are so many advanced features, I can easily see why Bitdefender costs a little more than the average provider, and I think the quality justifies the price.

Bitdefender Free Antivirus Features

I was pretty impressed with the free version of the software, and think that it offers more features than the average free antivirus program. For that matter, it even includes better features compared to some paid subscriptions’ low-end plan. If you’re strapped for cash or just don’t want to spend money on an antivirus application, then you could certainly do a whole lot worse with another provider.

The free version has four main features, as follows:

  • Virus scanning and removal, which protects against viruses, malware, Trojans, worms, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, and zero-day exploits
  • Behavioral threat detection that monitors apps and processes for suspicious activity
  • Anti-phishing features that help identify bad URLs and raise warnings
  • Anti-fraud

While I do wish the free version had more features, it’s still refreshing to see a free version include web security features. Too many free antivirus solutions only slide by with the bare minimum, which is infection identification and removal. These days, you really need a tool that can help actively protect against web threats, even if it is only a free version.

Independent Testing and Benchmark Data

bitdefender

Next, we’re going to take a closer look at how the software actually performed. The core value of any antivirus application is its ability to prevent viruses and phishing attempts from attacking a user’s system and to identify and remove any viruses that have already infected a system.

Every single antivirus provider will claim that they can protect against viruses, malware, spyware, adware, and more, but not all antivirus applications were created equal.

Some are simply more effective at removing viruses, some have a lower impact on your system performance, and some generate more false alarms. By comparing these metrics, we can objectively measure the efficacy of the actual antivirus portion of the software. To that end, I have included data from av-tests that shows how well Bitdefender scored compared to the other leading solutions.

The data measuring Bitdefender’s performance is as follows:

  • Performance test (impact on the host system’s resources) – Bitdefender had a moderately low impact on system performance with a rating of 7.5, which was the same as Kaspersky, Avast, and AVG.
  • Anti-phishing test – Bitdefender successfully blocked 91% of phishing attempts but failed 9% of the time.
  • False alarm test – Bitdefender only generated 2 false alarms, compared to the highest number of tested false alarms by CrowdStrike, which generated 125 false alarms.
  • Malware protection test – Bitdefender blocked 99.95% of threats, generated 2 false positives, and failed 0.05% of the time.
  • Real world test – Bitdefender successfully blocked 99.9% of tested threats with five false positives.

On the whole, Bitdefender performed extremely well. There are only two areas that concerned me. First of all, I thought its anti-phishing score was relatively low. A 9% margin of error may not sound like a lot, but I personally think its a rather low score. Comparatively speaking, however, Bitdefender was able to perform better than other anti-phishing tools, but there are two caveats.

First of all, you need to purchase the version of Bitdefender with phishing protection. Secondly, the most recent anti-phishing data is a little stale, since it was collected in 2015.

Additionally, Bitdefender wasn’t a leader with regards to having the smallest impact possible on the host system. It did blow several other competitors out of the water, but as you can see on the graph, it performed close to average compared to other solutions. So it’s not the best, but certainly not the worst in terms of system performance impact.

That said, note that Bitdefender scored tremendously high in terms of antivirus efficacy.

Bitdefender Pros and Cons

Bitdefender has continued to score high with independent testing labs for offering solid virus and spyware protection. A few of the pros and cons include:

Pros

  • A newly designed interface is easy to understand.
  • 24/7 tech support is available via phone, email, Twitter, live chat, and via the Bitdefender forum.
  • Solid protection against phishing attacks.
  • Proactive scanning of social networking profiles.
  • Privacy protection and online transaction security.
  • Top of the line anti-phishing protection (aced many independent tests)

Cons

  • VIP tech support costs just under $50 for help from a certified Microsoft technician.
  • Password management feature for your digital wallet can use improvement.
  • Installation requires a time investment.

Bitdefender Prices

Bitdefender is available at a cost of $49.99 here which covers up to 3 devices in one year.  The devices can include PCs, laptops, smartphones, and tablet PCs.  There is no free trial for this version of Bitdefender.

The bottom line is Bitdefender Antivirus ranks high on the list of PC protection products for this year.  The company also offers a host of other PC protection suites, including those that are designed for Mac devices.

Final Run: Is Bitdefender Worth it?

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So, what does it all boil down to? Would I recommend this antivirus solution? You bet I would! It’s superior to the majority of other antivirus applications in so many ways. First and foremost, I think it’s feature set isn’t missing anything, and can offer complete protection.

In fact, I think the password manager and file shredder may even be overkilling a little bit since most people could (but probably wouldn’t) download those tools from third-parties for free.

Also, Bitdefender score very high in the lab tests, and showcased its ability to thwart viruses at every turn. And that’s the whole point of antivirus software, isn’t it? I didn’t have goo-goo-eyes for the price, but I did think the price was reasonable and easily justified. So, I would highly recommend giving this solution a chance.

Lastly, if you were turned off by the price, then please take advantage of the free version!

How does BitDefender compare to other antiviruses?

Bitdefender Antivirus

$59.99
8.8

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Malware Protection

8.5/10

Phishing Protection

9.0/10

Additional Features

8.8/10

Industry Love

9.5/10

Pros

  • High grades from independent testing labs
  • Excellent anti-phishing response
  • Great password management features
  • Nice additional financial privacy protection

Cons

  • Longer installation
  • VIP tech support costs money
  • Malicious URL blocking needs some work
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About the Author

Conner is a self-professed tech nerd, obsessed with digital security and privacy. He loves debugging "lost causes" and thwarting hackers. When not in his depressing cubicle in Corporate America, he's blogging here.