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ESET NOD32 Review - A Lightweight That Performs Like a Heavyweight

written by: Bill Bunter•edited by: Aaron R.•updated: 7/29/2010
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"NOD who?" you might well ask. NOD32 is certainly way behind the products of McAfee and Symantec in name recognition. That is just about the only area in which NOD32 trails the competition. When it comes to the important stuff, like speed and detection capabilities, NOD32 is out in front.

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    Introduction

    ESET NOD32 bucks the trend of antivirus products that are typically bulky and resource-intensive and come as part of a bundle. It's a small standalone antivirus program that's light on resources and has a somewhat retro interface. But how does ESET NOD32 stack up to the competition when it comes to detecting viruses?

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    Installation & Setup

    Rating Average

    What's Hot:&nbsp

    Installation is quick and it's easy to customize your options. After double-clicking the setup file and entering a username and password (which are supplied when you buy), you'll be offered the choice of Typical, Custom or Expert installation. Each option provides an increasingly greater degree of control over NOD32's setup.

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    User Interface

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot:&nbsp

    While I actually like ESET NOD32's somewhat retro and minimalist user interface (hence its "Hot" rating), I might possibly be in the minority. It certainly has a rather dated look and is not what you would call aesthetically pleasing. In fact, some people might consider it to be downright ugly, but it's functional. Actually, once you have spent a little time with ESET NOD32, its functionality will be easily apparent. You'll find that the user interface is far more intuitive than you may initially have thought, which makes navigation easy.

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    Product Features

    Rating Average

    What's Hot:&nbsp

    ESET NOD32 consists of five modules. AMON, a memory-resident scanner; DMON, which provides protection against macro viruses in Microsoft Office documents; EMON, an email scanner; IMON, an Internet monitor; and NOD32, an on-demand scanner. Each module is highly customizable and can have its own unique settings. For example, you could set AMON to scan for spyware and to quarantine any threats discovered, while setting EMON to scan for viruses only and to clean any threats discovered.

    Of course, ESET NOD32 also provides all the features you would expect to find in an antivirus product. You can schedule scans, specify the default action to be taken when a threat is found and specify whether the program is to scan for spyware and adware as well as viruses.

    ESET NOD32 also enables you to submit suspicious files to ESET for analysis via the program's dashboard. Additionally, NOD32's ThreatSense feature enables the automatic submission of potentially hostile code to ESET's lab. Linking with customers in this manner enables ESET to see new threats and to release responses to those threats in the shortest possible time. ThreatSense is both optional and configurable. Should your computer hold sensitive information, you can either disable ThreatSense or configure it to exclude the types of files that may contain information that you would not want to be passed to ESET.

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    Performance

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot:&nbsp

    This is where ESET NOD32 really shines. The first thing you'll notice is that ESET NOD32 is extremely light on resources and has a minimal impact on your system's operation. In fact, except for its notification area icon, you won't even know that its running.

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    Help & Support

    Rating Average

    What's Hot:&nbsp

    ESET NOD32 is very well supported. The program ships with detailed help and technical support is available via either email or telephone. ESET's website provides an extensive array of FAQs, tutorials, news and product documentation.

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    Price to Value

    Rating Average

    What's Hot:&nbsp

    ESET NOD32 is at the lower end of the scale when it comes to pricing. A 12-month, one-computer subscription costs just $39. To compare that to other offers, a 12-month subscription to Kaspersky Anti-Virus would cost $59.95, a 12-month subscription to F-Secure Anti-Virus would cost $59.90 and a 12-month subscription to McAfee VirusScan would cost $39.99.

    What's Not:&nbsp

    Unfortunately, ESET does not offer as much of a discount as some vendors do when it comes to multiple licenses. A 12-month, three-computer subscription will set you back $82. By way of comparison, Kaspersky charges $69.95 for a three-computer subscription, F-Secure charges $59.90 (the same as for a one computer license) and McAfee charges $59.99.

    That said, given NOD32's exceptional performance, it's still a good buy whether you have one computer or 50 computers.

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    Images

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    Conclusion

    Some people will want a holistic product that combines virus protection with backup and defragmentation. ESET NOD32 will not be for them. Some people will want an aesthetically pleasing product that uses a cute animated parrot to alert them to the discovery of a threat. NOD32 will not be for them. Some people will want a standalone antivirus product that is light on resource use and has industry-leading detection capabilities. NOD32 will be for them.

    NOD32 might be an ugly duckling, but its detection capabilities and performance make it the most attractive antivirus product on the market, in my opinion. Whether you're a novice home user with a single computer or an experienced IT manager responsible for a corporate network, NOD32 will fully meet your needs.