Panda Antivirus 2008 includes TruPrevent, Panda's heuristic engine that proactively blocks viruses. However, it blocks only viruses. The full version of TruPrevent, which blocks other forms of malware as well, is available in the Panda Antivirus and Firewall and Panda Internet Security products.
Antiphishing protection is included with Panda Antivirus, but Panda Antivirus and Firewall and Panda Internet Security products include additional protection from malware lurking on Web pages.
Panda scored near the middle of the antivirus products in CNET Labs' performance tests. On our iTunes test, Panda was fast at 270 seconds, just 2 seconds more than our test system. On our Microsoft Office test, Panda was solidly in the middle at 1,355 seconds. In a test scanning a single folder with compressed and media files, Panda scored a fast 135 seconds, however, the default setting excludes many of the compressed files used in our test. And in terms of boot speed, Panda came in dead last at 39 seconds. To find out how we test antivirus software, see CNET Labs' How we test: Antivirus software page.
In terms of protecting your PC, we cite results from two leading independent antivirus testing organizations. Panda was not tested by AV-Comparatives.org. CheckVir.com tested Panda Internet Security 2006 and awarded it a Standard rating, meaning it was evaluated only on its ability to search for viruses, but not the removal of them.
Support is extremely light for Panda Antivirus 2008. The built-in Help file lacks significant detail. The Panda Web site includes an interactive troubleshooter, which seems promising until it takes you to the weak knowledgebase section. Other antivirus apps have interactive self-diagnostics, so be careful of this terminology; Panda uses something else. On the Panda knowledgebase page, when you type in a query, the site spits back an FAQ in response. If you want to cut to the chase and see all the preanswered questions in advance, simply click Hot Topics. There is a secondary PDF document; it, too, was light on technical details. Nor could we find a user forum, chat, or telephone support section.
E-mail technical support includes a curious box that says any personal information you send to Panda becomes property of Panda and its business partners. We could not advance our query unless we agreed. When we asked our Panda representatives, they explained that users within the United States should not have seen that box, that it is a requirement only within Europe. After waiting six weeks for Panda to remove this check box, we downloaded a fresh copy of the program and found that it still included the checkbox.
We do not recommend Panda Antivirus 2008. For the price, we think that BitDefender Antivirus 2008 is a better deal in both protection and features. Overall, we recommend Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2008 as the best antivirus product for 2008.