Avast Premier 2019 review: High prices and good design are the mainstays of this suite

There are few mainstream antivirus suites that are as expensive as Avast Premier. Current pricing for this suite is $70 for a single PC for a year. For five PCs, that price jumps to $135. It’s crazy expensive compared to Norton or McAfee, both of which cover 10 devices for about $30 less. On the other hand, you do get a solid suite for Avast’s price, with a good number of extra tools and utilities. 

For 2019, Avast Premier isn’t changing too much visually, but under the hood its bumping up the anti-phishing technology, offering an improved and renamed game mode that isn’t just for games, and a better smart scan.

Note: This review is part of our best antivirusroundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

What’s new

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Avast Premier 2019’s anti-phishing alert window.

Anti-phishing technology is a mainstay in Avast’s security suites, as it is in most security suites these days. But for 2019, Avast Premier can flag phishing sites without a browser extension. Typically, security suites install a browser extension in your default browser and flag suspicious sites that way. With Avast Premier, when a phishing site is detected the suite throws up a medium-sized alert window in the center of the screen. It informs you the site was blocked for potential phishing and then advises you to scan your PC, as pictured here.

Avast’s approach analyzes various components of a site to detect nefarious behavior including a site’s URL, domain meta information, and “the visual aspects of sites.” Avast says this new approach allows it to “recognize new phishing sites in seconds,” but I’m not so sure about that.

I didn’t run a formal test of Avast’s phishing capabilities but I did visit Comodo’s PhishBank.org to find some current phishing sites so I could see the new feature in action. During my time trying out the new feature, it blocked a OneDrive phishing site almost right away, but then Avira didn’t let out a peep when I landed on the login page for a phishing site posing as Blockchain.com, a popular trading and Bitcoin wallet service.

To be fair, Chrome also didn’t throw up an alert for that site, and Chrome often catches known phishing sites. Still, the fact that Avast didn’t block me from logging into a fake cryptocurrency site is concerning since phishing is an easy way that unsuspecting users can lose their digital coins.

Moving on to the new gaming mode, now known as Do Not Disturb, this feature is designed to stop alerts from Avast and other programs when you are running a program in fullscreen. This can be anything from a video game to a movie or a presentation. It’s great to see Avast acknowledge that game mode can be used for more than just gaming, as some other suites do.

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