Panda Cloud Antivirus Nimbler than Ever

key review info
application features
  • Real-time protection against all types of viruses
  • (4 more, see all...)

Panda Cloud Antivirus 1.5 has been released recently and pushed to users across the world through the transparent upgrade system. Its benefits are already well known, and raise the protection standard compared to the previous edition of the free antivirus.

Improvements have been developed so they all converge to improved performance. As such, it is expected that the new edition puts less stress on the CPU while scan speeds increase. Also, usability of the application sees some progress since now you can add exclusions based on the extension of the file as well.

Getting the application on the system should not be too much trouble, although we were not able to complete the procedure with the web installer; the reason for the refusal to even get the task started was that Internet Explorer (6 or above) had not been detected on the system. However, working with the offline installer we were able to finish the installation quite quickly and without any snags.

Panda has not deviated too much from the Cloud Antivirus’ interface has not changed much since the first final release. The same minimalist application window is present in this version, featuring three main buttons (Scan, Report and Recycle Bin) and a real-time graph showing the current number of files scanned per minute.

For advanced configuration simply flip it over and you’ll get the screen where you can disable autorun on the system and on USB drives. Granular control over scan sessions, warnings and reports or exclusions can also be easily shaped up.

As far as scanning is concerned, the free version of Cloud Antivirus does not feature behavioral analysis, but it can detect potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and comes with behavioral blocking; this means that the actions of all applications on the system is monitored and dangerous programs are blocked.

You can configure the application to automatically clear the action history and eliminate detected items with a specific frequency or create a database of locations (files and folders) as well as extensions that should be avoided during scans.

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During our on-demand tests we used a small database of only 370 samples. The detection rate was pretty close to Global Protection 2012’s suite, although a tad better 94.86%, with 19 misses, compared to GP’s 22.

However, not all the 351 samples detected were also removed. 38 of them were reported to us but the antivirus could not eliminate from the system. Overall, Panda Cloud Antivirus recorded a better detection rate than its heftier brother and avast! Internet Security. On the other hand, this is not to dismiss the detection and removal abilities of the bundles since they carry a much larger set of security layers.

Just like in the previous editions, you can choose between three types of scans ready to check the general malware settlement areas, the entire system or just some specific parts you assign. Regardless of which one you choose the CPU will be apt to carry out other tasks.

In the case of false positives you can restore the items from the recycle bin. However, you have to be pretty prompt about it, since the default storage period is of three days. So no item will be available past this period, unless you change it.

In order to avoid the same elements being neutralized although you are sure they represent no threat, you can add them to the exclusion list. We encountered such a situation when trying to run an HTTP File Server and the behavioral blocking component of the antivirus stopped it from running. Safely placed in the exclusions list the server would run with no restrictions.

The new version of Cloud Antivirus advertises improved performance not only with regards to picking up threats on your computer but also to the stress on the system. The progress made by the developer in this sense is noticeable, since our Dual Core CPU 2GHz CPU would carry out other jobs with no problems during scans. In our case the CPU spiked at 50% and maintained a stress average of about 38%. Average RAM usage was a negligible 25MB.

Panda Cloud Antivirus relies on Collective Intelligence, the cloud-scanning infrastructure that does all the heavy lifting. Because of this, you have to keep your computer connected to the Internet in order to take full advantage of the detection power of the application. But even if online, your computer still benefits from protection from the additional protection layers.

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The Good

Free protection against malware, fast access to Collective Intelligence and simplicity all-around are among the main pluses in Cloud Antivirus. But this version also comes with improved performance on all fronts: scan speed, system resources usage as well as malware detection rate.

The Bad

It managed to detect more than it could neutralize. We were left with plenty of threats on the test system despite them being flagged as known malware. Also, in some cases it may block a program without giving you a heads up on the action.

There is no action menu to allow you to instruct the application what to do with the items it detected as threats but did not manage to neutralize them.

The Truth

Panda Cloud Antivirus is indeed easy to use, very light on system resources and manages to offer protection against all sorts of malware. Despite being a free product it manages to provide a lot more than just basic protection.

If you are running it on a clean system it will do a very good job keeping threats at bay. Since it relies on intelligence from the cloud no updates are required and the collective pool of information about threats will be shared with your system in a snap.

user interface 5
features 5
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5

final rating 5
Editor's review