Avast for Android Review

Introduction

Following a recent trip to a security conference in Kiev I was advise to check all devices etc for interference from our friends in Moscow. That said, I am not sure I am even interesting enough for them to hack my phone and tablet but in any event I decided to install some security software just to be safe. Unlike some people I do not use APKs from unofficial sources, so in general my only risks are being attacked via what I already have installed or via Wifi/Bluetooth etc.

Reviewed

  • Avast   Mobile Security PRO ( Avast   Mobile Security – Antivirus & AppLock)  €8.49
  • Avast   Cleanup – Storage Cleaner and Booster. €7.49 per year

Tested on: Lenovo Moto G4 plus, Android 7 with 16GB and external SD card. a stock, budget android phone.

Duration: 10 days, December 2017 Common apps installed: Evernote, Netflix, Whatsapp

Advantages

I would caution against using free versions of such software as often this simply results in disabled features and lots of advertising, which can also have an effect on data use and battery life or they may simply render the solution ineffective as the key features are not available. With these points in mind the review is of the paid versions of both pieces of software, with the result that annoying advertising is not an issue.

  • Clean-up reduced overall internal memory storage significantly with the effect that my phone became usable again. Updating apps was until then problematic.
  • Scans internal and external memory (SD card)
  • Web protection feature is useful Anti-theft options are good and make it easy to wipe your phone and undertake other security oriented actions – although many of these can be done for free via standard Google options
  • Low price
  • Both the anti-virus and clean-up tool were were quite fast in terms of scanning and fixing problems
  • Firewall could be useful but only available if the device is rooted

Disadvantages

  • The battery drain was terrible, previously I could leave my phone off the charger for a day without any problem, however with Avast and a full charge the phone was down to almost being dead by 2pm.
  • The phone would not even charge when plugged into my desktop computer at work (resolved once Avast was removed). I have since removed the Avast apps concerned and restarted the phone, with a result that everything is back to normal
  • My phone was far less stable and frequently became so slow it had to be reset My phone was almost permanently hot after installation.
  • After removal of Avast it returned to its previous cool state
  • If you are using standard apps available via Google then you already have tools which check whether an app is dangerous or not, so Avast may be unnecessary

I also ran both apps on my Nvidia Shield Tablet with more or less the same results as on the Lenovo G4.

Conclusions

Avoid for now! This software has the potential to be very good and provides lots of useful features but it simply makes budget Android phones unusable. It should be noted that I have no similar problems with other apps on this phone, including some which are quite data intensive. That aside the clean-up tool was very effective at removing garbage and made updating apps on my phone possible again, so it clearly has some advantages. It also caused far fewer problems than previous similar apps that I have tried. Overall though I would stay away from these apps as they radically slow down your device, decrease battery life and reduce stability.

About Rod McCall

Rod McCall is a researcher in the field of human-computer interaction in areas such as augmented reality, mobile gaming in-car systems and virtual environments. He has a passing interest in economics after not being entirely convinced by the rubbish presented as fact during lectures on that particular subject while at uni.
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