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10/10/2005
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Review: Panda Platinum 2006 Internet Security

Panda's do-all security suite offers solid protection against malware wrapped in a well-designed interface.

It seems like yesterday that the best security strategy was to mix and match individual, best-of-breed products — mostly antivirus, antispam, and firewall tools. They mostly cohabited well and didn’t slow down your work too much.

But that’s changed with today's seemingly endless appearance of new types of malware. The price of cobbling together individual products extends beyond purchase price to significant slowdown of system performance, possible contentiousness among the various apps, malware that falls through the cracks, and constantly updating all of the tools. Equally important is that security suites have finally come of age, offering comprehensive security coverage, a truly unified user interface (finally!), and less drag on precious system resources.

The best security suites have matured and are jockeying for the lead. Just recently, ZoneAlarm Security Suite 6.0 was my favorite. But now, Panda Platinum 2006 Internet Security has the edge. The primary advantages of Panda Platinum are a more intuitive and versatile user interface, and, based on informal testing, slightly more thorough protection against malware.



Panda Platinum offers a well-designed interface along with effective malware protection. (Click to enlarge image.)

Like leading competitors, Panda Platinum protects against viruses and similar malware, spam, and spyware, and provides a solid personal firewall that well exceeds the firewall that ships as part of Windows XP. And like competitors, Panda Platinum includes a component, which it calls TruPrevent, which detects potential malware that hasn’t yet been identified in the wild. Panda Platinum accomplishes all of this without much “noise” to distract you from your work.

Besides Panda Platinum’s slightly better protection against malware, two things in particular impress us. The first is that it offers a bevy of useful options wrapped in an elegantly designed, easy-to-use interface. For example, finding files that Panda Platinum has quarantined as potentially dangerous is just two mouse clicks away from your Windows taskbar. Some competitors make this process downright challenging.

The second is Panda Platinum’s “CPU load management” option, which lets you reduce the slowdown that the product can have on system resources while using your computer. This is a godsend if you have a slower machine. But it also is so handy even with a fast computer that you may want to turn it on and off when appropriate — for example, when your system becomes sluggish while running many apps simultaneously or a particularly resource-hungry program.

For households and those who don't need quite as many security features, Panda also offers a lower-cost package, Panda Titanium 2006 Antivirus + Antispyware ($49.95, as compared to Platinum's $79.95), that lacks Platinum's privacy control, antispam, and Web content filtering features.

So should you buy Panda Platinum 2006 Internet Security? Not if you already have a security suite and are happy with it. But if you don’t yet have a security suite or you’re nearing product renewal time, yes. Panda Platinum currently is the product to beat as the race among competitors charges forward.


Panda Platinum 2006 Internet Security
Panda Software
www.pandasoftware.com
Price: $79.95
Summary: Panda's new security suite could give competitors a run for their money.

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