written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011
We look at the industry-leading antivirus engine, NOD32. In its fourth iteration, does this version continue the proud legacy, or is it just a let-down? Read on inside.
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ESET is a leader in the antivirus industry and it isn’t because they make decent software – it’s because they make the world-class antivirus that you should have on your computer right now. On-demand scanning, real-time protection, real-time updates, and a clean interface are what await you with the latest version of ESET’s NOD32 Antivirus.
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Previous iterations of the NOD32 engine have always had one thing in particular that astounded me when compared to other antivirus engines – the interface. The interface is clean, useful, and overall just looks incredible. That may seem like an odd thing to complement an antivirus for, but you’d be surprised just how much a little graphical nuance can make when you’re trying to establish a consistent rule-set for scanning emails or running a manual search. Overall, the interface follows the manual of good design – never once did I get lost in it, it’s eye-catching and appealing, and most of all, it places your most critical options on the left-hand side for easy access.
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Security and Coverage
This is where NOD32 particularly shines above the rest. While the security can be matched by other antivirus programs, such as Kaspersky or F-Secure, the amazing part is that you get the benefit of one of the world’s most advanced virus scanners running a program that doesn’t take much more than a few megabytes of RAM. The other engines I’ve tested in the past were elephants, giant programs that significantly slowed down the start-up of my PC. NOD32 provides a great advantage in this fourth iteration, making the program even more efficient in the RAM department. Currently, this program is the lightest part of my start-up and updates everyday almost instantly.
But what about the actual protection the program is supposed to provide? Before intentionally sabotaging my test PC, I had no problems whatsoever – the virus scanner would now and then quarantine an item from my hard drive and that would be that, no viruses, no spyware. To make it jump through a few hoops, I unleashed a test virus on the PC, letting it run amuck for a bit, and then installing NOD32 to try to resolve the problem. The installation went flawlessly and my “test virus" was caught on the first scan-through. Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed, because on my previous tests with this little virus, both F-Secure and Kaspersky had failed to resolve the issue, even though they had identified the file with the problem. NOD32 had my PC up and running again in about 40 minutes or so, as compared to the 3-4 days I spent wrestling with the other two interfaces.
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Price and Value
Those of you who have read my articles until this point know that I am cheap when it comes to my software. If there’s one thing I enjoy more than anything else on a PC, it’s freeware. And when free software such as CCleaner, Spybot, AVG, and Comodo Firewall provide me with a certain level of comfort and quality – why bother with paid software? The one exception has always been antivirus programs, and NOD32 4.0 continues the tradition. At $40 for a one-year license, the program has never been cheaper – you just need to buy the CD rather than off their website. If you need the program fast, you’ll have to fork over $10 extra for an instant download.
In terms of value, I don’t think any of the other scanners come anywhere near the level ESET provides. You get the email scanner, the real-time protection, and the updates all in a package that runs like a well-oiled machine. Furthermore, the latest iteration comes with updated spyware databanks to provide you with even more protection. Even though $40 may seem steep, consider that it’s the price of a movie for a family of four during prime hours, the price of a dinner for three people – the license for NOD32 is for a whole year, so it tends to compensate for the somewhat heavy one-time price.
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Everyone needs an antivirus program. And if you’re looking for the absolute best in terms of value, protection, and operability, NOD32 has just made the top of your list. I personally have been using this software for over a year now and it is fantastic. Sure, you could go the cheapest route and just use AVG, but keep that in mind when you get infected with something AVG can’t detect or resolve. There’s free antivirus, and paid antivirus, and then there’s NOD32 – it sits atop my list of recommended antivirus programs.