Updated · Aug 03, 2022
Best for: Multi-device protection
Online threats are here to stay. It’s important to have an all-round solution to protect you from the numerous malicious software, exploitive malware, and other e-threats out there. The premium Total AV security package is one of those tools. For this Total AV review, we put the full antivirus suite through its paces.
Its cross-platform malware protection is available for Windows and Mac and has associated apps for iOS and Android mobile devices. There is also Total AV free for free basic protection.
As well as ultra-fast scanning for detecting threats already on your computer, it also has tools for detecting threats in real-time.
In our comprehensive Total AV review, we take a closer look at the following features:
The Total AV app and software comes with a bunch of neat features. You get additional cybersecurity protection and even a VPN as you move up the pricing ladder. To thoroughly review TotalAV, we looked at every aspect of the program.
With Total AV Free Antivirus, you get to use the core threat detection scan for free, allowing for virus and spyware removal. It will also get rid of trojan horses, worms, adware, and the gambit of other nasties that might already be on your computer.
Since this ‘smart scan’ is the same on all versions of the program, we’ll dive right into our TotalAV reviews of each premium feature.
Smart, Quick, System Scans
All virus and malware detection starts with an initial scan of your system. Our testing of Total AV antivirus reviews the three options:
- a ‘smart scan’ available on Free TotalAV, which looks at the most critical areas of your computer and the most common areas to find known and emerging malware
- a system scan that slowly goes through every part of the system, which is not available on the Total AV free security scan
- a quick scan - the app performs a basic scan, reviewing Desktop, Startup, Browser, Folders, Cookies, and Cache.
The catch is, if you want the best protection then you need to do that full system scan first, to be sure there’s nothing lurking.
Here’s how it went:
The smart scan was lightning fast, taking only a couple of minutes to do an antivirus check of the most critical areas of the system. Our personal testing came up with nothing, so we weren’t in any immediate danger. You should perform the scan regularly, and a full scan perhaps once a month.
It took longer, but we were still surprised how fast it got through our three drive PC. In just 30 minutes it had our results, with some suspected dangerous video-converting software which we admit never really worked and was full ads (bye-bye).
It also detected several cheat trainers for our video games. Other TotalAV reviews have noted that the program often returns false positives. While we would indeed consider these false positives (since we paid for these trainers from a trusted site), game trainers from free sites are often loaded with bad threats. So, TotalAV gets a thumbs up for that.
The good news is that all suspected threats go to a secure quarantine folder first. It is up to you whether to remove the files completely, leave them in a vault where they can’t do any harm, or restore them to their former glory.
There was no impact on system performance when we did the smart quick scan. The full scan is a little more intensive, and we’d advise you to do this during lunch or at least when you’re not doing anything time-consuming.
Once you are on a paid plan, TotalAV virus protection works in real-time and reacts instantly to malware to prevent infection.
This always-on security means whenever you download a new file it gets scanned immediately. If it looks scary from the outset, you’ll even get a warning as to whether to proceed with the download.
You’ll also be protected when you attempt to install something new, or even when your computer accesses an existing program. With no compromise on system performance, AV quickly checks that nothing dangerous is trying to be executed in the background.
We were overall impressed with this aspect of real-time malware threats protection. All bad files were spotted before the damage could be done.
Safe Site - Total AV Web Shield
Our Total Antivirus review also looked at its real-time web shield and internet security features. They extend to your browser and look out for suspicious websites and background activity. This is particularly beneficial for shopping browsing and banking protection.
It works for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, but not for old IE or other lesser-known browsers.
The system maintains a backlist of sites it considers dangerous. Such include those known for using your computer for crypto mining, sites that have excessive ads and pop-ups, or those that contain extreme content, etc.
Visiting a suspicious URL will give you a warning and the choice to proceed at your own will. You will still be protected from dangerous files or other activities if you do open the site.
If you find this to be blocking you from normal sites you can add them to a whitelist to get straight access.
The web protection also includes real-time anti-phishing. This means it will detect spoof sites that pretend to look like real ones and block them, so you don’t hand over your details to cyber-criminals and hackers. Ideal for safe online banking and shopping.
Test results show Total AV to have a particularly good anti-phishing module, detecting upwards of 89% of bonafide phishing sites.
Anti-Spyware and Anti-Adware
When people think of an antivirus program, they think of viruses and malware. However, there are many types of threats and knowledge, so cybersecurity awareness is crucial.
Common threats also include:
- Adware: Software that may or may not work, but aggressively advertises other products or tricks you into installing them.
- Spyware: Software that goes beyond its remit in collecting your personal data in order to sell it on for a profit.
Total AV provides protection against spyware and adware. It ensures software security by detecting the problem programs when you download them, or at least after a scan.
It’s also wise to keep everything up to date in case a software vulnerability gives rise to an attack.
The review process of Total AV pointed us to a surprising number of programs that were outdated or potentially dangerous.
Ransomware is a cyber crime where attackers gain access to your computer via rootkits, trojans, and other common methods. They block access to certain files or your entire system until you pay them money. Even then they may not bother giving you back access.
It is often used by enterprise hackers to extort businesses but is still targeted at individuals too.
Fortunately, the Total AV app has a multi-layer ransomware protection approach. It combines its real-time protection, safe browsing features, firewall, VPN, and system scanning to create a ransomware shield.
The threat is stopped before it really becomes one or is quickly removed before any damage is done. For example, if you click a dangerous link the AV can blacklist and block the site. If not, and it tries to force you to download something, the antivirus app will quarantine the file.
Unlike some security suites, however, AV security does not provide any backup or bootable recovery tools. For that, we knock off half a star because if ransomware does take hold it can be extremely difficult to get back in.
Total AV also comes with a privacy firewall and the settings are easily found under the security tab on the left. It works in the background scanning incoming and outgoing internet traffic and when you’re browsing the web - checking for security certificates on sites, which secures your transactions to prevent fraud.
Much like Windows 10’s own firewall, it will block intrusions and filter network traffic, giving you a warning if something needs access to your network.
In the right scenario, this could just be saving your gaming data to the cloud. If that's the case you can allow it to bypass the firewall. In other cases, it’s a hacker trying to gain access to your network for nefarious reasons.
The remote firewall is a particularly useful feature. It allows you to have a full business-style firewall across your entire network that only allows trusted devices or those with the password to even access it. As long as you are the admin you can manage it from any of your devices, hence the term ‘remote’.
This coupled with the VPN feature makes for fast, anonymous, and secure surfing, before even factoring in the core antivirus functions.
Virtual Private Network
The Total AV app VPN adds an extra layer of security to your network by encrypting all of the data you send out via the internet.
This means a hacker, law enforcement, or even your own internet service provider cannot intercept the data. Furthermore, websites cannot accurately track your behavior because they won’t know where your hit came from, which is ideal for identity protection.
You’ll unlock the virtual private network feature once you pay for the midlevel ‘internet security’ plan. You can also pay $39 to use it along with the free program or the ‘Pro’ plan. The latter option doesn’t make sense though because upgrading between the two plans is cheaper than paying for the VPN separately.
VPNs are useful for general privacy protection. When you select your pretend-location, you can also get around geo-restricted content. For example, a UK user could have their VPN routed through the US and then sign-up and watch the US version of Netflix.
The software can configure the service (i.e. not at the router level). Good news is you don't have to manually set anything up on your network. Simply go to the VPN section on Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS, and you can easily turn it on.
While you can choose most regions of the world to spoof your location, this is also where the VPN server itself is located. You will get faster speeds the closer you are to home.
Our Total AV review found that anywhere is suitable for general web browsing but if you’re in Australia and choose the US, streaming in HD from US Netflix might not be an option. You’ll want a premium service outside of an antivirus bundle to get a lightning-fast internet security solution.
A common feature among antivirus programs that has also found its way onto TotalAV is a system optimizer. Unfortunately, this is not available on the Total AV free version.
This allows you to scan your computer for junk files, which are typically remnants of old uninstalled software or installers, duplicate files, and redundant system registry entries. You can also clear your web browser cache and history.
Nothing is finalized until you approve, but we managed to remove GBs of junk that can only be a good thing for system performance.
You can also specify exactly which programs you want to launch on startup, so you have a faster and less annoying experience when booting up your computer.
A similar optimizer extends to your mobile Total AV app, with the added ability to reduce background app processes from slowing down your device. Many Android users fail to recognize that when they leave an app it’s still running. That said, it still may be dormant and hogging RAM until you completely end the process.
TotalAV facilitates this without damaging apps or data.
Other security features you unlock by purchasing the ‘Total Security’ plan include:
- Ad Blocker: This recognizes the majority (though not all) adverts on websites and stops them from loading. This makes for a faster, less annoying, and more private web browsing experience. It also reduces the risk of infections, because some viruses can spread through innocent banner ads.
- Secure Password Vault: This essentially creates a master password to safely store all of your online passwords in an encrypted digital vault, like a password manager. You only have to remember one super strong password. You can still recover or reset your other passwords from the individual sites as normal.
Cloud scanning is a unique feature available in the premium plans. It speeds up scanning and has less impact on your computer’s resources by utilizing your internet connection. It offloads the process onto a secure cloud network operated by TotalAV.
Simply put, your PC isn’t doing the scanning, their network is.
It allows for cross-referencing potential viruses with the definitions you periodically have to download to the program. It also features cross-referencing with the company's malware database.
Once you’ve done a few cloud scans, data about your system will also be remembered, allowing for more efficient and faster scanning, and solutions tailored to you.
TotalAV for Mac review
Although we used the Windows version of the software in our testing, the Mac version offers all the same features and has an almost identical user interface. The download comes bundled with all versions and will install whatever one is relevant to your device.
Other TotalAV for MAC reviews praise its speed, lack of impact on your system’s performance, and overall ease of use. So, it’s definitely worth giving it a go if you’re a Mac user.
Antivirus App Download
A main TotalAV program is available on Windows and Mac with supporting applications for Android and iOS. These are free if you are a license holder of one of the main programs. If not, you get a free trial for both.
The TotalAV Android and iOS apps are available from their respective official app stores. Both include the following mobile security features:
- The ability to scan your devices for viruses, malware, and problem apps.
- Free memory by killing app processes that don’t need to be running in the background.
- Scan for junk files that you can safely delete to free up space.
- Add an extra password to open any app you choose.
- VPN support if you have it as part of a TotalAV premium plan
We found the Android app to be intuitive and easy to use. The password protector was a nice addition.
Not only can you protect apps that contain personal information but aren’t natively password-protected, but it’s also a good parental control. E.g. If you let your young children play with your mobile devices, you can stop them from accessing certain apps.
Independent TotalAV reviews run by cybersecurity leader AV Labs give the software the certified stamp of approval. The lab awarded it 5.5 out of 6 for overall protection, with top marks for performance and usability.
It got 98% in protecting users against ‘zero-day malware’, which is a brand-new one that hasn’t been fully tracked down.
Furthermore, TotalAV got 100% protection against malware that’s at least 4 weeks old.
If you’re looking for the best Antivirus that won’t slow down your PC, TotalAV is certainly a contender.
Note: These tests are carried out on the premium version and are not a free Total AV review, which has limited protection.
Ease of Use
In terms of ease of use Total AV is the ultimate antivirus. It utilizes a modern and clean interface with all of the main features listed by icons down the left side of the program. The antivirus download for PC went in a flash and there were no complicated antivirus installation steps.
When you launch TotalAV, it will automatically take you to the ‘malware protection’ screen. It allows you to alter your real-time protection settings or run the standard smart scan. The deeper scan option and custom scan option are on the next tab down.
Hovering over a primary icon will also open up further features, such as links to the quarantine area of files already deemed a threat but not yet removed.
There’s also the optimizer page and one dedicated to ‘Security Enhancements’ such as the password vault and ad blocker. We found it to be non-intrusive, only popping up when there’s a genuine security threat or to ask if you want to install updates to the program or its virus definitions.
It’s important not to ignore these because a lot of virus detection is based on a database of known threats – the signature-based detection method. This works alongside the heuristic-based detection method, which can tell by examining the code or suspicious characteristics of potential threats it doesn’t yet know for sure.
Either way, keeping the software and definitions updated will give you the best chance of being protected from next-generation malware.
Ultimately, TotalAV couldn’t be easier to use. All features are within a few clicks away, its overall layout is intuitive. If you face any challenges, there are ‘info on hover’ hints when you need to know more.
Customer support at TotalAV is generally good, allowing you to contact them 24/7 by email, live web chat, and even by phone.
There is also an extensive knowledge base with articles about protecting your computer and devices in general. Additionally, you can find guides on how to use the software, the Total AV app, and further details about the features.
There is also an FAQ section where you can find the most common queries and their answers.
When we tested the live online chat feature, there was no queue at the time. A support agent appeared in about a minute. He was helpful, and it seems to work on a two-pronged process.
Ask the support agent a question; if it’s general knowledge, they’ll help you right away. If it’s more technical, the reps will forward you to the right department. Otherwise, the agent will spend a few minutes relaying your question and getting back to you.
Compared to other antivirus suites, their customer support is more than adequate. TotalAV reviews from years past had fewer positive things to say, but things have definitely gotten better.
Like the auto-renewal issue, it seems the company has improved all around.
All TotalAV plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and allow you to use their associated iOS or Android apps on mobile devices. You also get a 30-day free trial of the first premium plan before you are locked to the free plan or must pay for a premium plan. Here’s how the pricing shapes up:
Note: These prices are only for the first year. The Total AV cost jumps up to $99, $119, and $149 respectively.
The wisest approach is to take advantage of these deals then cancel after a year and choose from the other great PC security software out there.
TotalAV Review - Verdict
Overall, TotalAV is an affordable cybersecurity solution for the first year and provides a high level of security against malware according to independent testing.
Its real-time and web protection, along with VPN privacy protection and firewall, add multi-layer protection that stops almost any threat.
While other antivirus suites offer a few more extras like file encryption features, webcam protection, or anti-keylogging software, TotalAV has enough to make it worth your while. The addition of functional mobile apps at no extra price is a big plus.
If you’re looking for a budget antivirus suite, we recommend going with TotalAV for the first year.
Is total AV legit?
After the testing for our Total AV antivirus review, we can attest that the software is legitimate.
We do know that there have been pricing issues in the past and a somewhat hidden auto-renewal policy that left some customers angry. However, most of this has been fixed and you will be well aware when it’s time to renew and what the price for the next year will be. You also can cancel your subscription easily online to avoid renewal.
TotalAV picked up all threats during our own tests and has proven a competent antivirus program.
The software is owned by the UK-based company Protected and was founded in 2016. This makes it one of the best antivirus suites for UK citizens as well. There are no significant reports of problems with the software or its parent company.
Is Total AV really free?
While Total AV has several tiers of paid plans that offer the best features, there is a free Total AV antivirus. It can perform a ‘smart scan’ and remove any viruses and malware found.
The catch is that you can only scan the most important areas of your computer and the places where viruses are most likely to be found. You cannot perform a full system scan unless you pay for at least the ‘Antivirus Pro’ plan.
Total AV free also isn’t a full-blown malware shield and offers no real-time protection from viruses. There’s no web or phishing protection, firewall, VPN, optimization, or other security features.
Furthermore, you are only limited to one device, i.e. your PC or Mac, and are not entitled to the iOS or Android mobile apps.
So, yes, while Total AV really does have a free version, it is very limited.
Full Total AV virus protection begins on the ‘Pro’ plan as seen above. There is also a free trial of the premium version of the software. This only lasts 30 days before requiring payment or for you to revert to the free ‘smart scan’ only version of the program.
How good is the TotalAV app?
Overall, we found TotalAV to be a competent antivirus suite. Is it the best in the world? No. Does it get the job done? Yes!
We particularly like that the software is cross-platform and if you get the main Windows or Mac program, you can use it on your mobile devices as well. Competitors often try to charge for completely separate mobile apps.
Is Total AV better than Norton?
We looked at other AV reviews to help compare Total AV, starting with one of the longest-running and well-known antivirus suites, Norton.
While TotalAV comes close, to the point that virus detection rates are almost the same, Norton has the slight edge. It’s also just as easy to use and has little impact on system performance, so the veteran Norton gets the nod this time.
Is TotalAV better than BitDefender?
TotalAV vs BitDefender is a close battle with both offering high malware detection and removal rates and great performance. I.e. Neither software will slow down your PC or take forever to scan.
BitDefender does have a slight percentage point on TotalAV when it comes to detecting newly made viruses, but the difference is negligible – just 0.01% over the last couple of months of testing. Meanwhile, TotalAV provides a better user experience in terms of navigating the software and using the features.
So, if you want the absolute best defense BitDefender has the edge. However, TotalAV is easier to use and certainly has superb security as well.
Is Total AV better than Avast?
Where Avast falters is that it has more of an impact on the performance of your computer than TotalAV and other antivirus programs. The last thing you want is software designed to improve your PC, slowing it down. This time, we give TotalAV the victory.
The difference in malware detection rates is negligible. Both are almost perfect.
Is Total AV safe?
Yes, Total AV is a safe and trusted software suite.
We used the software on a Windows 10 PC and Android mobile device when doing our Total AV review with no problems and no significant performance issues. Mac and iOS users report a similar experience.
In fact, using the optimizer feature we were actually able to clear out some junk files and improve our boot-up speed. So, if anything the software makes your system faster.
Independent tests from the likes of AV Labs show that TotalAV has a 100% malware protection rate on malware that is over 4 weeks old and a just over 99.8% detection rate for novel viruses.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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