Review: ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus

Today marks the second day of Stay Smart Online Week, a government initiative that aims to help Australians understand the simple steps they can take to protect themselves online. In light of this year’s theme, “On The Go”, we’re taking a look at ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, a complete security suite for Android from the makers of the NOD32.

By Alex Choros

Today marks the second day of Stay Smart Online Week, a government initiative that aims to help Australians understand the simple steps they can take to protect themselves online. In light of this year's theme, "On The Go", we're taking a look at ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, a complete security suite for Android from the makers of the NOD32.

The Lowdown

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus (henceforth ESET Mobile) is available in both free and premium versions. Free features include on-demand virus scan, automatic scanning of downloaded files and applications, and anti-theft tools. Premium features include a web interface for the anti-theft tools, the ability to schedule scanning, automatic updates and SMS and call blocking. The free version includes a 30 day trial of premium features, which costs $14.95 per year.

In my time testing ESET Mobile, I found it almost completely unobtrusive. The only reason I knew it was there was the small E sitting in the top right hand corner. There was no perceivable impact on performance.

The application is well designed, with a simple and clear user interface. All of the software's features and presented on in the main menu, making it easy for anyone to enable the functionality they require from the app.

 

Features

ESET Mobile offers a range of options when it comes to virus scans. By default, scans are run manually, but can be scheduled to either run when your device is on the charger or at a certain time, with options ranging from once a week to daily. In terms of scanning options, three choices are available: Quick, Smart and Deep. On my Nexus 5 (which is mostly a testing device), Quick scanned 24 files, Smart scanned 26, and Deep scanned over 40,000.  Even when scanning 40,000 files, the test was quite fast taking only 12 seconds. Of note is that scans can continue in the background, and when ESET finds a malicious file during a scan, it flags it but then keeps scanning, unlike other mobile antivirus apps which pause the scan and wait for the user to take action. In regards to automatic scanning, new apps and files are scanned automatically as soon as they finish downloading.

Anti-theft provides similar features to features to the Android Device manager, allowing you to remotely lock and wipe your phone, as well seeing it's location on a map. On top of this, you can remotely access the camera to take a photo of a perpetrator, receive notifications when an unauthorised SIM card is inserted, or even when someone tries to unlock your device with an incorrect code. When an unauthorised SIM is detected, a nominated friend will be nominated by text message. ESET lets you trust more than one SIM card, for those travelling the world or leading double lives.

One of the other notable features in ESET Mobile is the ability to block phone calls and text messages. The app gives you a variety of ways to set this up, giving you the option to block individual numbers, groups of numbers, or even all unknown or hidden callers. Blocking number was a super straightforward process, and when I tried calling my phone from the blocked number, it just went straight to message bank. Unfortunately, not all systems seem to support the text message blocking feature. Neither my Samsung Galaxy S5 nor Nexus 5 supported this feature.

Conclusion

There's very little reason to not have ESET Mobile on your Android phone. Its unobtrusive nature means that even the free version can give you extra protection with no perceivable difference to system performance. Aside from the lack of SMS blocking support on the two phones I tested with, the features in the app worked flawlessly. Call blocking and the ability to set trusted SIMs are tools I see excellent value in.

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is a great little app that will certainly give you piece of mind about the safety of your smartphone, at home and on the go.

PROS

  • Almost completely unobtrusive
  • Speedy virus scans
  • Call blocking features work very well
  • Intuitive application

CONS

  • Some features double up with existing Android functionality.
  • Not all systems support SMS blocking

 


 

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