7 all-in-one security suites: Anti-malware for all your devices

We examine how the major security suites compare in terms of features, ease of use and which devices they actually protect.

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Panda Global Protection 2014

Panda Security

Price: $79.99/1 yr., $135.99/2 yrs. or $175.99/3 yrs.

Number of devices: 3 Windows PCs (plans also available for 1 PC, 5 PCs and 10 PCs); each plan also covers 1 Mac and unlimited iOS/Android devices

Panda offers somewhat vanilla safety features, and its PC component can be a bit confusing to use. It's also marred by very poor and basic Android protection.

Windows

Panda offers a solid range of Windows protective tools, although nothing out of the ordinary. It lacks social network protection and its tune-up tools are minimal (only defragment and file cleanup).

Panda
Panda Global Protection 2014 (Windows version)

You get to the suite's features via big, colorful icons. Navigation can be confusing at times, however, if you want to dig deeply. For example, to see a single page to customize the way many features work, you click the icon for Identity Protection. From there, you customize not just that feature, but many others, including for spam, parental controls and various virus-scanning features.

In addition, some features aren't accessed via the big, colorful buttons, but instead via tiny white icons at the bottom of the screen. That's where you'll find the optimization module and a network management component that identifies Windows PCs and Macs on your network. (However, it was unable to find several iPads and an Android tablet on my network.)

It doesn't do more than identify them, though, and shows if each has Panda protection -- but it doesn't tell you if they have any other kind of security software. And although it identified the IP address of each device, it was unable to find the MAC address.

OS X

Panda's OS X protection is exceedingly basic -- it protects against malware, but doesn't offer other features such as remote wipe or tune-up tools. There are no parental controls, either. And depending on how you install the Mac component, you may get confused during the installation process. I installed from the Web, and after the installation was apparently completed, nothing happened. I had to hunt for the app's icon in the Applications folder, double-click it, and then complete the installation by typing in my registration code.

Once you do get it installed, Panda performs real-time scanning as you open and save files, and also scans your entire Mac on a schedule that you set. You can also specify specific folders to scan. But that's it.

iOS

Panda doesn't include an iOS security component. However, there is a way to use your Mac to scan your iOS device by connecting the device to your Mac and use the OS X scanner to scan it. But it's slow and awkward, because in order to scan, files are copied from the iOS device to your Mac, and are scanned there. Don't bother trying it.

Android

Panda offers reasonable Android protection -- all the basics plus an extra. It protects against malware and can locate, lock or wipe a device. Its Privacy Auditor does a very nice job of listing apps that might be privacy invaders: It lists potential privacy problems such as Track Location, Access Contacts and Access Storage, and then shows you all the apps in each of those categories.

Panda
Panda (Android version)

The extra is a task killer that lists the apps currently running on your Android device, shows you their CPU and RAM use, and lets you kill any that are currently running. (The apps aren't uninstalled; they're merely killed for the session until you re-start them.) But it doesn't block SMS spam or unwanted message senders like some other apps do.

Dashboard

You can't properly call what Panda offers a Web dashboard, because all it does is list the devices on which you've installed the software, let you install on new devices and allow you to renew your subscription. But you can't see the state of security on any device, uninstall software or do anything else.

Bottom Line

I was disappointed in Panda Global Protection for several reasons. Its Android protection is minimal, its Mac protection is basic and, for practical purposes, it provides barely any iOS protection. Added to that is that each package only protects a single Mac and that the cost ramps up quickly depending on how many Windows PCs you need to protect.

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