ESET NOD32 Antivirus Review

The headquarters of ESET may be based in Bratislava, Slovakia, but its antivirus software has a decidedly global reach.  The company maintains offices in seven countries and serves clients in more than 180 countries worldwide.  In business since 1992, ESET has evolved as a leader in antivirus software specializing in personal computers, networks and even mobile phone security. 

 

Pricing

Like all of the top antivirus software companies, ESET offers a free trial of their software as well as a paid service.  ESET's paid antivirus software is on the high end of the pricing spectrum, though we found it reasonably priced among the best antivirus software services.  ESET antivirus protection is available for both PCs and Macs in one or two year packages, with the two year package offering a discount of 25% per year.  Pricing for both types of protection works as follows:

  1 Year 2 Years
1 PC $39.99 $59.99
2 PC $49.99 $74.99
3 PC $59.99 $89.99
4 PC $79.99 $119.99
5 PC $99.99 $149.99

Consumers who wish to upgrade their computer protection software to include firewall protection and parental controls can purchase ESET SMART SECURITY 5 which is also available in one or two year contracts.

  1 Year 2 Years
1 PC $59.99 $89.99
2 PC $69.99 $104.99
3 PC $79.99 $119.99
4 PC $99.99 $149.99
5 PC $119.99 $179.99

It is worth noting that ESET also offers antivirus and other computer protection solutions for businesses of all sizes, but it does not offer pricing for these services on its website. Instead, business users are encouraged to call the company for a custom price quote based on the business's specific needs and the number of computers that require protection.

Eset NOD32 also offers multiple computer protection software options for businesses, though the prices are not listed on their website, and business owners need to call the company for more specific pricing information.

Features

With the exception of firewall protection and parental controls which are available with ESET's SMART SECURITY service, the ESET antivirus service offers a full range of protective services, including:

Feature  
Antivirus protection v_sign
Antispyware protection v_sign
Host-based intrusion prevention system (blocks unauthorized changes to programs) v_sign
Removable media control (protects removable drives such as CDs, DVDs and flash drives) v_sign
Anti-phishing protection v_sign
Malware detection v_sign
Automatic updates v_sign
Gamer mode v_sign
Antirootkit v_sign
Protection against keyloggers x_grey_sign
Internet security training (educational service for users to help them protect themselves from online threats) v_sign
Community protection v_sign
Protection from non-secure websites v_sign
Available for Macs v_sign
Gamer mode v_sign

The company also claims that its antivirus protection runs effortlessly as a background program on any computer without slowing down the system or running programs, and in our extensive testing during this ESET review, we found this claim to be entirely accurate.

Ease of Use

Installing Eset NOD32 antivirus was not very complicated, and it took about 10 minutes to install the software.  What we appreciated during the process, however, was that unlike AVG, whose installer did not tell us how long was left, Eset NOD32's download menu did say how many minutes were left in the process. We were surprised to see that after the download was complete, there was a verification process that took an additional 5 minutes to complete.  This time, the program did not tell us how much time it would take. 

eset-in-screenshot1 First Installation Screen
 

Once everything was finally complete, we were able to enter the control panel which had an intuitive left navigation where we could easily set our preferences, run scans and explore all of the options that the antivirus software has to offer.

eset-in-screenshot2 Eset NOD32's Intuitive Control Panel
 

We found the Eset NOD32 control panel to be one of the easiest to use throughout our antivirus comparison, which was somewhat surprising since the company's actual website was slightly more complex than most of its competitors.  Still, overall, we were satisfied with the user-friendly nature of the company's antivirus software, and were willing to overlook the complicated website in favor of simpler software. 

Customer Support

On the company's support page, help is available only in the form of a help center.  In several tests of the service, we did find that it provided highly useful and relevant information.  However, we wondered what would happen if ESED NOD32 users need live support, so we also tested the form on the company's contact page.  The form will require you to submit a bit of information with before submitting their query, which may be overwhelming if you aren't very familiar with your computer's technical specs. 

eset-in-screenshot3

Customer Support Form

Once the information is inputted, the system will attempt to answer your question electronically before allowing you to submit an inquiry.  In nearly all of our queries, the automated system did an excellent job of answering our questions, but we decided to try submitting a full query for the sake of this review.

We were astonished that once we pressed submit, we were redirected to another contact page, with a list of phone numbers.  When we clicked for online support, we were redirected back to the original help page, and asked to submit our inquiry from the beginning. 

Eventually we did find a way to submit a request for help online, which was labeled in small letters on the right side of the page, with a link entitled 'submit a case online'.  Again, we were required to submit a good deal of information and pass through several steps before submitting.  Upon submission we were told that we would receive a response within 1 day.  

eset-in-screenshot4 Confirmation from Eset NOD32 Online Case Submission

We received a response in about 7 hours, which we thought was reasonable. 

eset-in-screenshot5 Email from Eset NOD32

During this frustrating process, however, we did discover that phone support is available from 6am-6pm PST on Monday-Friday. As part of our review we tested the company's phone support, and were on hold for less than 2 minutes. The representative that we spoke to was both friendly and helpful, and left us feeling entirely comfortable. Of course, when it comes to sensitive computer issues, we'd always prefer the option to get help 7 days a week.

Awards and Certifications

If you're looking for a service that is backed by a dizzying number of awards and certifications, ESET NOD32 antivirus might be just what you're looking for.  Unlike some other antivirus services, ESET makes the effort not only to list the award or certificate that they received, but to include a short description of the award or the issuing company. Among some of the more notable awards and certifications earned by ESET are:

Best Buy Award- Consumer's Digest, 2008

Microsoft- Compatibility with Windows 7, 2009

Virus Bulletin- 69 VB 100 Awards

VMWare Certification- Compatible with all VMWare software, 2010

CheckVIR- Highest Advanced Rank by a company that offers real-time testing in the UK and Hungary, 2008

West Coast Labs- 18 certifications in total from an agency that performs real-time testing in the US, UK, India and China

Highlights

  • Top quality computer security
  • Does not slow computer performance when running updates
  • Website is difficult to navigate
  • Excellent online help center

Summary

Eset NOD32 is perhaps the most comprehensive antivirus software on the market. It runs smoothly, offers protection from a multitude of computer threats and offers peace of mind to thousands of users each year. Although the company's website itself is slightly frustrating to use, we found that their software was very easy to use and provides superior computer protection.

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