Last Updated: January 25, 2021
- VPN Included: Free version available
- Scanning Speed: 3 Minutes/ Critical Areas
- Malware Removal Rate: High
- Impact on system performance: Low
- Parental Controls: Yes
- Malware Detection Rate: High
- Ransomware Protection: Yes
- Customer Service: 3/5
Complete threat prevention across devices.
- Continuous monitoring
- Personal and Business solutions
- Prevents threats before they infect
- Prone to false positives
- Poor phishing detection
- Slow support chat response
Panda Security is an all-in-one security and full antivirus suite for computers and mobile security, with the main program for Windows and Mac, apps for Android and iOS. It has a separate VPN service with both free and premium features. You get solutions for personal users and businesses. For the latter, you are required to share some information before you can get a personalized quote on pricing.
The main antivirus software is called Panda Dome and can be downloaded for free. The free Panda antivirus can be tried for a month before you are required to pay for one of three premium plans as a personal user.
Panda Security differs from over anti-virus software in that it aims to detect online threats and offline based attacks before they enter your network via ‘smart technology’, ‘big data and machine learning’, and continuous monitoring of your system. In that sense, it is a privacy firewall and an antivirus program. You can, however, perform a Panda scan at any time and don’t have to solely rely on always-on security.
It will also download the latest definitions to detect known and emerging malware. Much of its functions run with no impact on system performance. Paying users always get access to new releases, so they are protected against next-generation malware.
Our Panda security review takes a closer look at all the features, what they do, and how they perform.
Panda Antivirus Features
Here’s why Panda features are so great.
Panda Virus Scanner
Panda AV provides a comprehensive virus scanning solution, detecting viruses, trojan horses, rootkits, worms, spyware, adware, and other threats.
You can do a fast Panda scan of ‘critical areas’ where viruses are known to attack and are known to do the most damage, a much slower deep scan of your entire system, or a custom scan, where you can choose the folders and files yourself.
The whole process is simple and familiar, and although a full scan can take several hours, you will still be able to do most computer tasks without things slowing down.
At the end of the antivirus check, you will be shown the results and it is up to you whether you keep the dangerous files on your system or have them removed. They won’t automatically be deleted in the chance that the files are safe, you want to keep them, or they are critical to their system. Our main criticism is that the scanner tends to make a lot of false positives.
This is a problem for less skilled users who may decide to automatically delete everything it suggests because they’re worried about malicious software but end up losing some important files or corrupting some of their programs.
Although we tested the Windows PC security software, the scanner works much the same on Panda antivirus for Mac.
Panda Free Antivirus
In terms of ‘Panda scanning’ and removing dangerous files, the Panda antivirus free version is exactly the same as the premium version. It does not limit you in any way, other than the trial lasting only 30 days. After that point, you will be required to buy one of the personal or business plans, which will also unlock much of the other features, mentioned in our Panda antivirus review.
You can perform critical, full, and custom scans, and safely remove any threats found with Panda security for free.
Panda Firewall & Real-Time Protection
Panda claims to use machine learning and ‘big data’, detecting threats in real-time before they actually attack your system. This is available in the paid version and simply involves turning on the real-time protection feature.
Although it is difficult to assess detection and prevention rates beyond third-party aggregates when we knowingly sent a couple of exploitive malware files to our own machine they were automatically blocked. In that sense, it definitely reacts instantly to malware.
However, it should be noted that real-time protection only applies once you have performed your first scan. I.e. it can detect incoming threats but not necessarily existing threats unless the virus or malware attempts to perform some kind of new process in the background, i.e. heuristic-based detection.
You should always start a new antivirus program with a quick scan, followed by a full scan, before using any real-time or additional protection.
File Encryption Features & File Shredding
Panda’s encryption feature essentially makes the files and folders of your choice impenetrable to hackers or nosy people on a shared computer.
First, you set a password, encrypt it in an archive, then anyone who wants to decrypt and extract the file will need to enter it. There is also a password manager function to help you keep track of your passwords securely.
The file shredder is a simple right-click feature that allows you to delete files for good, bypassing the Windows recycle bin and completely off the hard drive. Not even data recovery tools or hackers will be able to get the files back.
The upshot of course is that you must be sure you yourself really do want to shred the file, because once it’s gone – it’s gone forever.
The rescue kit is a helpful feature that allows you to create a USB drive with Panda’s scanning technology on it. It will automatically run when connected to a heavily infected computer or one that barely even boots up due to sophisticated malware. The Panda scanner will start working right after you get the software. It will bring the infected computer back under control. This is especially true if you have a virus that locks various normal functions or disables and locks other antivirus software.
While using Panda means you probably won’t ever get to the state that you will need the rescue kit, it is helpful for friends, family, or work colleagues whose computers need rescuing.
It’s also a good starting point if your PC is heavily infected and you have yet to install Panda in any form.
The free Panda AV solution works well and is rarely found in other antivirus suites, so the company definitely gets a star for including this.
Panda antivirus reviews also mention the cleanup tool. While it is not as advanced as some dedicated cleaning programs, as part of the premium bundle it is a great addition and a good way to help clean up and speed up a PC after first getting rid of its viruses and malware.
The Panda cleaner has three main functions:
- Disk Cleanup: Scan and remove ‘junk files’ including remnants of old uninstalled programs and old cached internet data, to free up space on your hard drive.
- Boot Manager: Choose which programs run when you start up your PC, so you get a faster boot-up speed and no annoying updates or open programs. I.e. block Skype from opening and updating until you purposefully open it.
- Defragment Drives: Speeds up your hard drives and makes accessing your data more efficient by rearranging unseen data in the background. This works best on old PCs and older hard drives. Newer machines with solid-state drives won’t see much improvement.
Panda Security offers a limited free Virtual Private Network (VPN) and a premium service that costs £2.16 a month. They have essentially partnered with Hotspot Shield, an already well-known free and premium VPN service.
For those that don’t know, a VPN secures your internet and network connection by hiding your IP address. It is able to block intrusions and filter network traffic through different geographic regions. This essentially stops websites, hackers, and even your own ISP from monitoring your traffic and the sites you visit and is therefore good for identity protection.
Overall, the VPN bolsters security and privacy whenever you are connected to the internet before a firewall and real-time malware protection even comes into play, for example, for safe online banking.
The VPN is software-based and easy to use, though it is not the fastest and not suitable for intensive gaming, streaming, or having lots of connected devices doing different things. You also have to disconnect and reconnect if you’re having speed issues or wish to change locations. For another fast, anonymous, and secure surfing solution, you would need a dedicated service from the likes of ExpressVPN or NordVPN. However, it’s still positive that Panda offers such a service. It works well enough for businesses that don’t use a lot of bandwidth.
The premium version can be used on 5 devices at the same time, has unlimited bandwidth/downloads, and 24/7 customer support. It’s also compatible across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Panda Cloud Scanner
Panda Cloud Cleaner, sometimes called Panda online scan, is designed for emergency malware and virus situations. It is also the same tool used in the Rescue Kit mentioned above. It installs fast, scans right away, and does deep scans quickly. It can also be put on a USB stick or CD to run on bootup when viruses render a computer unable to even boot.
When the process is complete it will categorize threats based on risk and whether it has found straight-up malware or PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). You have full control over virus and spyware removal, though their suggestions are usually accurate in emergency situations.
It’s to be used when needed, as the main Panda suite should be more effective and will prevent your system from getting to the point of needing the cloud cleaner. But it’s good if you come across a compromised machine or a friend needs help.
What’s more, it’s the only lifetime Panda free virus protection tool available, so it’s definitely worth having on a USB. It is perfect if you’re looking for a quick antivirus download for PC.
Panda Mobile Security
There are also versions of Panda antivirus for Android and iOS mobile devices, providing real-time virus protection, system scans (including any attached SD cards), and the ability to track your device if it is lost or stolen – lock it down and wipe sensitive information remotely. It will even snap a photo of the culprit if someone fails to enter your pin three times and locks themselves out.
You also have a second layer of access to your app management, allowing you to clearly see and revoke various permissions that have been granted to apps.
We were particularly impressed with the number of features available to premium users. They include call blocking, individual pin numbers for apps, motion alert (get an alert to another device if your protected device is picked up), and a remote alarm that can be set off if your device is stolen – very effective in public places.
Parental Advisor Controls
Another great feature is parental control. Parents and teachers can block websites that aren’t kid-friendly and easily pull up the child’s browser history. Furthermore, if you install the mobile app you can also track their location to check that they’re safely on their route or are headed where they said they were going.
On Windows, the filtering is applied via the user account. It’s important that your child has their own user account on the computer, and you are the overall Administrator.
Another useful but somewhat redundant feature is the Panda Shield, which offers multi-layer ransomware protection. This allows you to encrypt certain files, particularly those at risk of infection, where data, or access to it, is blocked by an attack and only released if you make some kind of payment.
This prevents ransomware from both accessing the data and deleting it if you fail to meet the conditions because the attacker will not have the decryption key.
A ransomware shield like this is particularly useful for those that store databases, personal/customer information, or financial accounts. It’s a great cybersecurity solution.
One method a hacker could use to gain access to your passwords is by secretly installing a keylogger program that tracks what you type and identifies words that are likely passwords. Panda uses what they call a ‘virtual keyboard’ which is software that blocks what you’re actually typing and feeds it through its own ‘keyboard’ that cannot be logged.
It does this by simply popping up a keyboard on the screen that you can click with a mouse when entering passwords, so no strokes are logged. Our only qualm is it’s a little on the small side and can be a bit temperamental to use, especially if you have a really long password to enter with special characters (which is the norm these days).
This unique tool protects your passwords, secures your transactions to prevent fraud when you log in to online banking, and hides any personal info you may be typing.
Web & Panda Internet Security
Panda Security also offers Panda Safe Web – real-time protection for general browsing and banking protection or opening emails online, detecting suspicious links, and blocking you from loading malicious sites. I.e. phishing/spoof sites that pretend to look like genuine sites to steal your passwords and other information.
It works to a degree; during our own testing for this Panda internet security review we were blocked from several obvious phishing sites, including an email from my own spam folder pertaining to be PayPal that was soon detected as such when the login page didn’t even have PayPal in its URL – though it looked the part.
Nonetheless, it might not be as sophisticated as other real-time anti-phishing solutions on the market such as BitDefender or Avast. In another test we opened an obviously fake Facebook login page and it let it through without a hitch.
We believe anti-phishing to be one of the software’s least effective tools. It does not have a very high rate of detection judging from an aggregation of other Panda internet security reviews and third party testers, and we hope it improves, which would easily make Panda one of the best all-round solutions.
Still, it’s worth turning on rather than having no protection at all, and all you have to do is click on the safe browsing feature to benefit from web security.
Premium users also get access to a software update manager. It scans your program files and lets you know if any of your software is out of date and needs updating. Software security is also a risk factor, with older programs tending to need patching because of a previously unknown software vulnerability.
While many programs will let you know when they need to be updated, many don’t, and it was nice to have everything under one roof.
Panda Endpoint Protection
Aimed at businesses, Panda provides centralized protection across your entire network of devices and servers, including mobile devices. This also covers using email, browsing the web (phishing), and plugging in external devices.
You must contact Panda directly to get a quote for your business, which may vary, based on its size and complexity.
For added insight into how well Panda Security performs we turned to the independent tests and Panda Security reviews by AV-Test.org who put all antivirus programs through great lengths on infected machines.
As of October 2020, Panda’s antivirus scanning scored 6/6 for overall protection, 3.5/6 for performance, and 6/6 for usability.
The performance score may relate to the relative slowness of deep system scans.
Meanwhile, the Cloud Cleaning tool got 6/6 for protection, 5.5/6 for performance, and 5.5/6 for usability, reflecting a much faster scan speed.
For internet security, it got 4.5 out of 6 for protection, reflecting those missed phishing sites, 4.5/6 for performance, and 4.5/6 for usability.
What’s clear from the results is that overall, Panda Security does a great job where it matters – protecting your computer from threats. Its many added features are a bonus.
Interface and Ease of Use
Writing this Panda software review was a pleasure, mainly because everything was so easy to navigate. It is unquestioningly one of the easiest to use antivirus programs, with a nice modern interface and intuitive design. Even if you have never used an antivirus before or don’t have much software experience, you’ll be able to follow the antivirus installation steps and prompts to get the job done. The installation itself only takes a few minutes.
The program easily closes the tray and runs non-intrusively in the background unless a threat is detected. You can swiftly reopen the software by double-clicking the tray in Windows or right-clicking and selecting from the key features it provides.
Most features simply involve setting the option on or off, while parental controls come with an easy to follow guide. Creating a rescue kit USB drive can be done in just a few short minutes.
A number of Panda Security reviews suggest that while customer support staff for paying users are generally knowledgeable and helpful, response time itself can be slow, with live web chat taking over an hour to initiate, despite the 24/7 promise. We can agree with that. Free users have to rely on email support with no guaranteed response time.
We, however, did not get the chance to use the phone support option available to all premium users. We assume it may be quicker in initial response time.
Panda Antivirus Pricing
All paid Panda plans are available for an unlimited number of devices, while the VPN service is limited to 5.
- 30-day Antivirus Free Trial
- Essential: $26.24/ year or $2.99/month
Scanning, real-time protection, Wi-Fi protection, scan external devices.
- Advanced: $35.24/ year or $3.99/month
Advanced virus protection, personal data protection, parental controls.
- Complete: $53.24/ year or $5.99/month
Protection from cyber-attacks, Encryption and password management, junk file cleaner.
- Premium: $89.24 year or $9.99/month
Premium VPN access, Update manager, 24/7 customer support.
- Separate VPN: $2.36/month
At the time of writing, there’s a discount.
Panda Security Review: Verdict
Cybersecurity awareness is growing among businesses and homes, and everyone should consider some kind of preventive solution. Panda Security is a formidable antivirus program that provides great protection on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It is extremely easy to use and has a whole host of helpful extra features as you move up the pricing plans.
The rescue kit is particularly great. The ability to add extra layers of security via encryption and password protection makes it unlikely that a threat will get through.
Although the regular deep scan can be slow and it wasn’t the best when it came to detecting phishing sites, testing proves it to be one of the best solutions for cross-platform malware protection. Pricewise, however, it is certainly not a budget antivirus suite.
Overall, having Panda protect your personal or business devices is a good solution. With every feature combined, you shouldn’t even have to worry about zero-day malware or new viruses because it won’t get to the stage of infection.
We hope our Panda antivirus review has given you a good overview of what you can expect from the software. We have answered some of your commonly asked questions below to give you further insight.
Panda virus protection and its wider suite of security tools are owned by the WatchGuard brand, which was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. However, Panda Security itself was a separate company based in Madrid, Spain, until 2020 when it was acquired by WatchGuard.
Panda itself has been around since 1998 and has grown into a popular software suite with over 30 million users in 180 countries. It was the first of its kind to launch a behavior-based scanner and begin testing the idea of a proactive protection system in 2004. The first Panda Cloud antivirus tool was launched in 2007.
All-in-all our Panda security review proves they’re a trusted and reputable company with good scanning, a high malware detection rate, and real-time protection to prevent infection from computer viruses and other threats.
No, from our various panda security reviews and tests, Panda and its suite of tools do not have any major impact on your computer’s performance. It will not hog resources in the background or send you annoying notifications that aren’t genuinely security related. The only time there’s a noticeable impact is during a deep scan but even moderately fast computers will still be able to handle regular tasks without any trouble.
Furthermore, if you’re a gamer or go full screen with certain videos or software you can turn on gaming mode, which keeps the antivirus running quietly in the background and makes no compromise on system performance. Once you’re done, any notifications will be delivered once you’re out of full screen.
If you have been looking for the best antivirus that won’t slow down your PC, using a Panda virus scan is a good solution.
Furthermore, you do not have to use every associated tool if you’re worried about your PC slowing down, especially if it’s old. Simply turn most of the features off and dedicate a set time to perform a system scan and you should be ok.
Panda Cloud Cleaner, sometimes called Panda Online Scanning, is a free Panda Security tool that scans your PC for viruses using an ever-growing collective of information it stores in the cloud for superior threat detection. It claims to find malware and spyware other programs cannot and does not require you to download any of the databases/definitions yourself as they are stored in the cloud, making signature-based detection much faster.
Since Panda Security cloud antivirus is free, it’s a useful tool but not needed if you pay for a personal or business license – that suite has its own in-built scanner that is just as, if not more, powerful.
This tool is aimed at those who know or suspect they have a problem and need a quick tool to get it fixed. They also offer a bootable USB/CD tool if your computer is so infected it doesn’t boot properly.
Avast is certainly the most well-known antivirus brand out of the two, especially when it comes to free options. In practice, they are both very similar in function and results. Panda stands out because it has a whole range of extra tools that Avast does not, such as a firewall monitor, parental control, and a virtual keyboard that helps you stay protected from keylogger attacks. Panda even has a remote location feature to track down stolen devices.
Overall, if you’re going for the paid option, Panda has many more features. The free version is much closer in the race to Avast. It all comes down to your personal preferences.
Yes, the Panda antivirus free download version is safe and legitimate to use on Windows and Mac or your mobile devices. It does not force you to install any ‘bloatware’ or additional programs or apps. There are also limited ads for the premium version.
We found it to be in no way intrusive or annoying like some free trials can be.
You can use the main Dome antivirus functionality for free for 30 days, meaning you can immediately quick scan or deep scan your PC, remove any threats, and uninstall without paying a penny. It also lets you test out the program before deciding whether to commit to purchasing a license.
Just go to the Panda antivirus download section of their site to get the free trial.
Yes, compared with other antivirus and security software, Panda Antivirus is a good solution that is easy to use, relatively fast, and has little impact on the speed of your computer. In fact, its extra tools may even speed up your computer.
It has a high malware and ransomware protection rate and stands out in its ability to scan mobile devices as well.
Although it is not fully actualized, its real-time, so-called ‘machine learning’ and ‘smart technology’ does result in a competent form of real-time protection. It’s great businesses, particularly if they have a large vulnerable network where people can be inserting dangerous USBs or carelessly browsing the internet. Read our Panda antivirus review above for a full rundown of each feature.