Avast Internet Security 2020 Test & Review

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Avast is an excellent – and free – solution for Android. We would choose a different option on Windows or Mac.

Refund Policy: 30 days
Customer Support: 24/7 Free
Protected Devices: 1 – 5
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS

The Good

  • Excellent protection for all devices: Avast scores well in the independent test labs, making it a safe choice to protect you from online threats.
  • Great, and free, protection for Android: Although we would not recommend Avast’s free solution for Windows, for Android it’s great.
  • Exceptional user reviews: Avast has more than 5 million user reviews in the Google Play Store, giving it an average score of 9.1.

The Bad

  • Will slow down your MacBook: Avast did not do well on the tests for Mac, influencing the operating speed significantly.
  • Expensive: If you want the full protection for Windows, it comes at a price. There are better and more affordable options, such as BitDefender.


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Avast Internet Security 2020: Full Review

Below you can find the full review, test methods, and data sources

How We Test

Using the best antivirus to protect yourself online is crucial.

To know whether Avast Internet Security 2020 is for you, we have analyzed it in detail according to 6 categories. As all of them are important, but not equal, they each have a different impact on the final score. 

In the graph below you can see each category, and the impact it has on Avast’s final score. If you don’t know what the categories mean, keep reading. We explain each in detail, tell you how Avast scored, and which data sources we have used.

  • Protection from Malware 50% 50%
  • Impact on Performance 15% 15%
  • Devices & Features 10% 10%
  • User Reviews 10% 10%
  • Value for Money 10% 10%
  • False Positives 5% 5%

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Tibor Moes

Tibor Moes

Technology analyst

Tech enthusiast and founder of SoftwareLab. He has degrees in Engineering and Business, and has been active in the analysis of software, electronics and digital services since 2013.

Avast 2020: Protection from malware

The Good: Avast has excellent protection scores in the tests, scoring ahead of the industry average on Windows 10, Mac, and Android. Great!

The Bad: Nothing.

What is a protection test?

The independent test labs, AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, analyze the best antivirus software several times per year. One of the categories they test, is called protection.

In this test, the antivirus programs are subjected to a range of challenges that test their entire range of security features. These features can be divided into three segments:

1. Protection from known malware

Known malware are malware that have been discovered before. When a cybersecurity discovers a malware threat, it uploads its digital signature to a huge online database for future use.

You can imagine this digital signature as the fingerprint of a burglar. It is unique to the malware, and can help the antivirus to easily recognize it. Just as the police would use the fingerprint to identify the burglar.

On your device, the antivirus frequently runs system checks. During such a check, it scans for digital signatures to see if there are any malware infections.

This method is the most straightforward of the 3 security segments. It is called signature-based detection, but also often called virus scanning.

2. Protection from unknown malware

More complex are unknown malware samples. After all, these have never been seen before, so how to detect them? The signature-based method described above it useless against these new threats.

Here, a different strategy comes into play. The antivirus use something called heuristic file scanning. What this means, is that rather than searching for digital signatures, the antivirus search for suspicious behavior.

Imagine suspicious behavior as anything a normal program wouldn’t do. For instance, rapid file replication across a network, file deletion, or the hiding of specific files.

When an antivirus discovers such behavior, it flags the program executing it as potential malware. It then moves the malware to a safe environment, called a sandbox, where it can securely analyze the program without it being able to cause damage.

3. Protection from user-focused threats

More an more cybercriminals target users directly these days. You have probably been targeted yourself. Common examples are:

Ebay scams. Imagine you are attempting to sell something on Ebay. Quickly someone, often from Nigeria, contacts you. He or she requests you to first send the product, after which you will receive payment. Just to check the quality of the product, he or she says. Of course, in reality, payment will never come.

Phishing scams. Imagine an email arrives in your inbox. It says “urgent, verification required”. It seems to come from PayPal, and it requests you to verify your login details. In truth, however, the email comes from a cybercriminal attempting to trick you into handing over your login details.

As these type of attacks are not classical malware threats, antivirus had to evolve their protection methods. These days, they include many advanced features such as anti-phishing, spam filters, wifi scanners, web advisors, and many more.

Avast 2020: Windows 10 protection score

Avast scores a 9.4 in the protection tests for Windows 10. This places it ahead of the industry average, including McAfeeBullGuard, and Panda. But it still falls behind Norton and BitDefender, who both have a perfect score.

Avast 2020: Mac protection score

Avast, just like BitDefender and Norton, scores perfect antivirus test scores for Mac.

Avast 2020: Android protection score

Avast scores excellently on Android as well. Easily surpassing the industry average, and falling online slightly behind Norton and BitDefender, who achieved a perfect score.

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Avast 2020: Performance Impact

The Good: Avast scores around the industry average on Windows 10. Meaning it only has a small speed impact and can be safely used.

The Bad: The same cannot be said for Mac, however. Here Avast has a significant speed penalty.

What is a performance test?

To keep you safe, antivirus operate in the background of your PC or Mac, scanning your system at regular intervals. Although this requires some resources from your device, it is often not noticeable.

However, in some cases, antivirus software require too many resources to do their job well. It can then have a severe negative speed impact.

The independent test labs analyze the antivirus software for their speed impact on Windows and Mac.

Avast 2020: Windows 10 performance score

Avast does fairly well on Windows 10, having only a limited performance impact. It still falls behind BitDefender and McAfee though, which both require less resources to do their job.

Avast 2020: Mac performance score

There is no way around saying it: Avast should not be used on MacBooks. The performance impact is simply too great. In both Mac tests by AV-Test since January 2017, Avast had a significant speed impact on Apple’s operating software.

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Avast 2020: Devices & Features

The Good: Avast offers a complete security solution for Windows and Android. On Windows, we would definitely recommend the paid versions. On Android, the free one is all there is, and it is really good.

The Bad: Protection for Mac is limited, but not bad. Before installing it though, keep in mind that Avast for Mac has a terrible performance impact.

What is a supported devices test?

We analyze the supported operating software and the security features offered on each. We also compare this to the other antivirus to see which offer the best protection per device.

A note on iOS:

Not all antivirus create an antivirus app for iOS.

Although it is true that iOS is a safer platform than Windows, Mac, and Android, users could still benefit from a security solution that offers them anti-theft, a VPN, a web advisor, and perhaps some parental controls. 

Avast 2020: Devices and features score

Avast is a little different than most antivirus providers, as it offers its basic antivirus for free. Outside of that difference though, it follows the same formula as the rest: Extensive security features for Windows, several for Android, a few for Mac, and almost none for iOS.

For Windows 10, Avast’s free version offers its antivirus software, password manager, and wifi security advisor. The paid versions add anti-ransomware, anti-phishing, a firewall, sandbox, file shredder, webcam protection, and a VPN on top.

Overall, the paid versions are definitely worth the upgrade from the free version. Although we would opt for BitDefender as it offers better protection for Windows at a lower price.

For Mac, Avast offers antivirus, wifi protection, and anti-phishing. All for free. Pay a bit extra, and it adds anti-ransomware on top. It should be said though, that Avast has such a big speed penalty on Macbook’s that we don’t recommend using it here.

For Android, its app is for free and a very complete security solution. It comes with antivirus, anti-theft, app-lock, VPN, and wifi speed check. It sadly didn’t have the same protection scores as Norton and BitDefender, but hey, it’s free…

For iOS, there is no antivirus available. However, Avast does offer its standalone VPN and password manager.

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Avast 2020: User Reviews

The Good: Avast knocks it out the park. Over 5 million reviews ( 5 million ! ) rate it with a 9.1 in the Google Play Store. That is incredible.

The Bad: Nothing

What is a user review test?

User reviews play an important role when selecting a product. Sadly, however, they have also become a marketing tool. Used by many product manufacturers and comparison sites alike, to sell products.

It is therefore important to select the sources of the user reviews well. In our test, we analyze the user reviews from TrustPilot and the Google Play Store.

TrustPilot is the leading independent platform for verified user reviews. And the Google Play Store being the gateway to apps on Android, simply has the largest amount of user reviews in the world.

Avast 2020: User review score

Avast has an incredible amount of positive user reviews. In the Google Play Store, it has over 5 million positive reviews, rating it with a 9.1. 

In TrustPilot, the average comes down a bit. Here around 2500 users rate Avast with a 7.4, which is still a decent score.

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Avast 2020: Value for Money

The Good: Avast offers a free antivirus for Android, which is a great product, offering excellent value for (no) money.

The Bad: To get complete protection for Windows, you would need to opt for one of the paid options, which are more expensive than the competition.

What is a value for money test?

We compare the protection, bonus features, and price, to the offering of the other antivirus software in the market.

Avast 2020: Value for money score

Avast offers a few free products, of which the antivirus for Android is highly commendable. It is a very complete security solution with over 5 million user reviews in the Google Play Store.

For Windows, it would be better to opt for the paid versions, as the free version is very basic. However, the paid versions are a fair bit more expensive than the competition by BitDefender, Panda, and BullGuard.

For Mac, there isn’t really any value for money to speak of. Avast for Mac has such a significant speed impact, it should simply not be used.

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Avast 2020: False Positives

The Good: Avast has very few false positives on Windows, Mac, and Android. Meaning it won’t mistake many clean files for malware.

The Bad: Nothing

What is a false positive test?

When an antivirus program mistakes regular software for malware, this is called a false positive. It is nothing to worry about, but can be annoying when it happens frequently.

AV-Test and AV-Comparatives both measure the number of false positives the antivirus software have across the various operating software.

Avast 2020: Windows 10 false positives score

Avast does well on Windows 10, scoring before Norton, Panda, and BullGuard. Only slightly behind BitDefender and McAfee.

Avast 2020: Mac false positives score

Avast scores a perfect score for Mac, as did all the other tested antivirus.

Avast 2020: Android false positives score

Avast scored slightly ahead of the industry average, and just behind Norton and BitDefender, who both scored a perfect score.

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Data Sources

Below you can find all the sources we have used in our analysis

Data sources we use

Protection, performance, and false positives data:

Protection, performance and false positives make up the core of any antivirus analysis. That’s why, together, they account for 70% of the total score. The data comes from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, the two leading IT security test labs.

The two European test labs set up several tests per year. For our analysis, we have included each test since January 2017. This spans over 20 antivirus software, challenged in more than 30 tests.

We found BitDefender, Norton, Panda, BullGuard, McAfee, and Avast, to be the best across all platforms.

User review data:

Our user review data comes from Trustpilot and the Google Play Store

TrustPilot is one of the largest websites of its kind, having collected more than 45 million user reviews, covering over 200.000 companies.

The Google Play Store is the place where Android users, the most used operating system for mobile phones in the world, get their apps. It has an incredible amount of user reviews. For example, Norton and Avast combined have nearly 7 million reviews there.

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Google Play:


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