BitDefender Total Security 2020 Test & Review
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BitDefender is, easily, the best antivirus of the year. It has perfect protection and performance scores, and offers a free VPN. It’s a winner.
- The best protection from malware: BitDefender has perfect scores in the protection tests by the independent test labs.
- BitDefender does not slow down your devices: BitDefender is the only antivirus with perfect performance scores in all tests.
- Very complete features: Including a free VPN, anti-ransomware, password manager, parental controls, webcam protection, and more.
- Excellent user reviews: Users rate BitDefender as one of the best and most user-friendly antivirus available.
- Excellent price and deep discount: BitDefender temporarily features a deep discount, making it one of the best deals online.
- Limited free VPN: The free VPN has a 200mb daily limit. This is enough to shop and bank securely, but not to stream movies.
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BitDefender Total Security 2020: Full Review
Below you can find our test methods, full review, and data sources
BitDefender Total Security 2020
BitDefender is one of the most popular names in the world of online and malware protection. It’s been around since the early 2000s and had around 500 million active users around the world in 2018.
The company’s most popular product is the complete protection suite – BitDefender Total Security – which encompasses both online and offline protection. At the moment of this writing, the 2019 edition is still active, though the company has already rolled out the 2020 version.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the BitDefender Total Security 2020 suite. We’ll check out the new stuff, as well as the standard features that have been ported over from the earlier versions.
The 2019 version of BitDefender Total Security can be installed on all major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can also install it on desktops and laptops running popular Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu.
The Windows version, for example, offers a wide range of tools and features. Some of the most prominent include antivirus, online banking protection, password management system, various optimization tools, powerful firewall, and many others. The list also includes blocking of malicious and risky websites, spam filtering, and parental control tools. On top of all that, BitDefender Total Security 2019 also offers a basic VPN service.
Despite being slightly less powerful, versions made for other platforms still offer an enviable level of all-round protection. Let’s take the Android version as an example. It features malicious website filtering, a tool for locking various apps installed on the device, and an anti-theft system, to name a few. What’s more, you can monitor your BitDefender-protected Android smartphone or tablet form another device via built-in parental controls.
BitDefender 2020: What’s New in the 2020 Version?
Let’s take a closer look at what the 2020 version brings to the table. One of the biggest novelties is the upgraded VPN service that’s now powered by Hotspot Shield. The free version of the app is included in the bundle and, though strong and fast, it’s very limited in terms of bandwidth.
The basic free package comes with a daily limit set at 200MB. This means that your monthly data cap is around 6GB. While it might be enough for some light browsing and checking email, serious streaming is firmly out of the question.
You can also opt to upgrade to Premium VPN. This will cost you $39.99 a year, which is around $3 a month. There is no data cap and you can install it on five devices of your choice. If you opt to purchase the Premium license from Hotspot Shield, it will cost you $71.88 a year, which comes down to $5.99 a month.
The new 2020 suite is also packed with an anti-tracker tool. However, this neat feature is only available in macOS and Windows versions, while iOS and Android users will have to wait for future versions. The anti-tracker extension prevents websites from following you around the web and helps you keep as much privacy as possible.
On top of that, it might even improve your browser’s average page loading times. What’s really cool about it is that it’s completely transparent. The extension shows every tracker it has blocked, as well as its type and loading time.
Windows users will also get the Microphone Monitor tool with the 2020 edition of BitDefender Total Security suite. As its name might suggest, Microphone Monitor can alert you whenever an app tries to access and use your laptop’s microphone, but it can’t block the said apps. Though strictly a monitor tool, it is a nice addition to the already impressive roster of tools, extensions, and features.
The iOS version is upgraded with the Web Shield tool. This mighty tool can protect you when surfing the web and prevent you from accessing potentially dangerous sites. This includes sites known for malware, as well as phishing.
Not just browsing, the new Web Shield will provide protection across all of your network activities. For example, it if you mistakenly tap on a suspicious link in a document on your iPhone, BitDefender Total Security 2020 will protect you. The same goes for situations where an app installed on your device tries to open a fishy URL in your browser.
BitDefender Total Security 2020 can be downloaded for free and comes with a generous 30-day free trial. However, to access the free trial, you’ll have to register a free account at BitDefender’s site. The only piece of information the site asks you to provide for the free account is the email address.
At the end of the trial period, you’ll have a choice between six billing plans. You can purchase a one-year, two-year, or a three-year license, depending on your security needs. You can also choose between a five-device and a ten-device license.
The most basic option – a one-year license for five devices – will cost you $49.99 during the first year. If you opt for a 10-device license, you’ll be charged an additional $5, bringing the total bill to $54.99. According to the BitDefender’s official site, the discount is 44% and 45% respectively.
A two-year license for five devices will set you back $104.99. The same license for five additional devices will cost you $14 more. Two-year licenses come with a uniform 30% discount.
Finally, a three-year license for five devices costs $139.99 while its 10-device counterpart will set you back $160.99. The discount is 30% in both cases.
It should be noted that the prices stated above were taken from the official BitDefender site at the moment of this article was originally written. They might change over time, so be sure to check before deciding to purchase.
Optionally, you can choose to skip the free trial and purchase BitDefender with a big discount using the links on this site.
How to Set Up BitDefender 2020
When you create your free account on the site and download the free trial version, you will be able to monitor your device’s status through the site’s web console. This is the biggest of several perks of the free account.
Have in mind that when you launch the installation file for BitDefender Total Security 2020, the installation wizard will scan your device for the presence of other antivirus suites. If it finds any, you will be prompted to remove the old suite before proceeding with the installation of BitDefender. The BitDefender suite is not compatible with those by other manufacturers.
When the installation ends, BitDefender Total Security 2020 will boot up. The first thing you will see is the suite’s Dashboard. It is elegant and well-designed. The window is divided into two sections – the main area that takes up the center and right portions and the main menu that’s positioned along the left edge.
For those new to antivirus suites, there is a short and informative tour. Tooltips that pop up whenever you hover over an option or a tab are also a nice touch. That being said, experienced users, especially those that have used previous versions of BitDefender, won’t have a problem navigating the suite.
At the top of the Dashboard section, there are tips and recommendations from BitDefender on how you can improve your security and use the suite’s tools and features to the maximum. You might also get recommendations to install additional bits of software.
The Quick Scan and System Scan buttons occupy the center of the window. The two are pretty self-explanatory, providing a quick and thorough scan of your device, respectively. These two are the most commonly used features, hence their position at the center of the dashboard.
The Total Security counter, Safe Files, and Web Protection buttons complete the Dashboard, occupying the bottom third. Total Security shows how many days you have until the license expires, the Safe Files section protects your important files, and you can use the Web Protection section to install browser extensions.
The menu on the left is topped with the safety status shield. If it’s green and has a checkmark over it, your device is safe and every major aspect is working well. Below it are the main sections of the menu. Apart from the mentioned Dashboard, these include Protection, Privacy, and Notifications. At the bottom of the menu section, you will find the My Account, Preferences, and Help sections.
It is good to mention that each user can customize the look of BitDefender Total Security Dashboard. If there are features you’re not interested in, let’s say VPN, you can remove it and place another tool or feature in its place.
The main component of the BitDefender Total Security 2020 suite is, of course, the antivirus. It is the most advanced antivirus featured in a BitDefender suite up to date and it offers several types of virus scanning. It also offers various other options that can help you eliminate threats on the go.
First, there’s the Quick Scan option which can perform a quick checkup of your system at any given moment. Though not as thorough or time consuming as System Scan, it can pretty much weed out all common and lighter threats to your system. If your hard drive or mobile storage isn’t stuffed with data, the scan might even take less than a minute to complete.
The System Scan option will scan your entire system in-depth. It takes some time to perform the first scan, but the more often you use it, the faster it will become. Depending on the size of your storage and the amount of data on it, the scan will take longer or shorter.
BitDefender also integrates with the file explorer on your desktop or laptop computer. This means that you can run impromptu scans of files and folders from the file explorer’s context menu without firing up the entire suite.
Similar to many other top-grade security suites, BitDefender Total Security 2020 allows its users to schedule scans. You can schedule them as often as you deem fit and you can choose between various scan types. Additionally, you can create your custom scan types if need be. You can access this function through the Manage Scans feature.
What’s really great about BitDefender’s antivirus is that it can run several scans in parallel. For example, if you’re in the middle of a system scan and you want to check up on the latest files you downloaded, you can initiate a quick scan of the file or the folder from the context menu. When the second scan finishes, you will get a summary for it while the system scan is still active in the background.
If you have password-protected files on your system, BitDefender will prompt you for each every time it runs into them during a scan. You’ll have to click the Skip button for every file every time. However, BitDefender does allow you to exempt some files from being scanned.
BitDefender Total Security 2020 is a full-fledged security suite, and it’s bundled with a bunch of other useful features and tools. In the following paragraphs, we’ll examine some of the most prominent additional features.
The Anti-Tracker built into the 2020 version of the BitDefender Total Security is one of the suite’s highlights. With it, you can get detailed reports on what trackers were blocked and on which site. You’ll know the exact number of social media, site analytics, advertising, and all other trackers blocked.
To enable Anti-Tracker, you’ll need to install the browser extension. You can do so from the suite’s main menu. You can also program the extension to allow some type of trackers or even allow all types from certain websites. However, most users opt to leave the extension fully on.
The 2020 edition is also armed with a simple, yet effective spam filter. On Windows, this filter is automatically added to Outlook in the form of a new tab. If the automatic addition fails and Outlook crashes as a result, you can always enable the filter manually.
In terms of features, the filter offers little more than the Outlook’s default anti-spam features. Of course, you’ll be able to blacklist and whitelist emails from certain senders. The “Not Spam” and “Is Spam” tags for emails are also there, as is the option to block all emails containing letters in non-Latin scripts – Cyrillic and Asian, for example.
Safepay is one of the highlights of this high-performance suite, as well. It is a separate browser, isolated from your standard one that enables you to perform online transaction without the fear that your credit card info and other sensitive data might get stolen. It can also protect your data and transactions from any piece of malware that may have found its way into your system.
Safepay successfully deals with all kinds of keyloggers and screengrabber apps, as well. Finally, when the transaction is done and you close Safepay, there are no traces left behind.
BitDefender Total Security 2020 offers a robust Parental Control tool. It is powerful, effective, and gives a bit more than what’s usually considered a capable Parental Control app.
However, to unlock all of its features and potential, you have the option to switch to Parental Control Premium. With the Premium version, you’ll get comprehensive cyber-bullying protection. It can also detect grooming and aggressiveness. Finally, the Premium version is able to recognize when someone’s asking your kid for their phone number and address.
Wallet is the place where BitDefender Total Security 2020 stores your sensitive data. Along with the usual suspects – login details from various websites and social platforms – you will also find your credit card info, Wi-Fi network password, app login details, and your personal info inside the Wallet.
What’s great about it is that BitDefender can create multiple instances of the Wallet feature and sync them on all devices covered by your license. Most commonly, BitDefender will install the Wallet feature on the platform’s default browser – Safari on macOS and IE on Windows. You might also opt to install on a selection of other supported browsers.
BitDefender has brought their Firewall feature to perfection in previous editions and the version included in the 2020 edition of the Total Security suite is no different. It works seamlessly in the background and is very good at deciding which programs and apps can go online and which can’t.
The vast majority of BitDefender Total Safety users can just leave it on with the default settings. Of course, you can tweak them, like pretty much all settings within the suite to suit your preferences and needs.
Similar to many other antivirus and anti-malware suites, BitDefender Total Security also offers a set of utility tools and features. These can help you cut down on the startup time of your computer and clean out junk files.
These tools can also help you with the general maintenance of your device, optimizing its performance and battery use (if it’s a laptop or mobile device). The Utilities section, though not as comprehensive as in some other suites, is very good at keeping your device(s) in good shape.
When it comes to webcam security and access, laptops and mobile devices are particularly vulnerable. That’s where BitDefender’s Webcam Protection feature comes in. This neat tool allows users to manually allow and deny individual apps installed on their system access to the camera.
The list of options is unusually long, allowing you to block all apps from accessing the cam, installed browsers, or even a set of applications. Whenever a blocked application tries to connect to the device’s camera, BitDefender Total Security 2020 will notify you.
You also get a basic set of cleanup options and tools with BitDefender Total Security 2020. CCleaner is the official name of the cleanup tool and it allows you to choose which apps can load on system startup, which are delayed, and which are disabled.
Additionally, CCleaner has excellent options for controlling scheduled tasks, services, and other processes on your system.
Vulnerability scan is there to check your network for weaknesses and deficiencies. You can run it on-demand or schedule it, similar to other scan types. This scan will check your home Wi-Fi network and its password. If it’s weak, the scanner will suggest you to change it.
There is also a Wi-Fi Security Advisor tool that can teach the uninitiated on the intricacies of Wi-Fi networks, passwords, encryption types, and other related topics. It can also scan all existing Wi-Fi connections in your home and tell you whether they’re safe or not.
BitDefender Total Safety 2020 is a behemoth of a security suite and offers a huge range of useful features. These range from the top-notch antivirus to various online and offline safety tools. Other than that, Total Safety 2020 can help you optimize your computer’s performance, manage sensitive data, and keep your home network safe.
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.
Below you can find all the sources we have used in our analysis
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