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Panda Internet Security 2016 is a highly respectable antimalware suite with useful frills.
A premium-grade malware-scanning engine: Spain-based Panda has been in the security software business for 25 years, and its apps regularly score highly in independent lab tests. AV-Test and AV-Comparatives rank Panda almost at the the top of the charts for scanning speed, scanning results, and impact on system performance.
Additional application control: If malware circumvents Windows’ own controls, Panda Internet Security 2016 has an optional control layer that can block something malicious.
Gaming/multimedia mode: You can tell Internet Security 2016 to not pop up notifications when you’re playing a game or watching a movie, which reduces distractions and facilitates live streaming.
High-quality cloud storage: Panda offers a 15% discount for MozyHome, a cloud storage service that uses client-side encryption, a security method that is important for ensuring your privacy. You can also sign up for 2GB of storage for free. MozyHome is not our first choice, since its storage capacity is still relatively expensive despite the coupon, but it’s a lot better than the cloud storage options usually provided by antimalware suites. It’s also not tied to your antimalware subscription, so you can cancel or let one service lapse without losing the other.
The interface feels a little rough: This is normally a minor detail for security software, but jagged edges on text matter more than usual when you’re in a highly competitive product category. The X to close a window is small and difficult to target. A high-quality interface also imparts confidence in the quality of the product elsewhere (for better or worse). If you were trying to impress a client, we would not recommend Internet Security 2016.
The interface could be more informative: The management console doesn’t explain the function of things like the Data Shield, Wifi Protection, or Smart DNS, which forces the curious user to do some legwork to figure out the value of the product.
Not quite the best antimalware: Bitdefender and Kaspersky’s engines score slightly higher in lab tests, consistently, though home users are unlikely to see a difference in engine quality.
The points against Panda are pretty mild. If you’re a regular user of Panda’s antimalware suite, we see no reason to switch to another brand, because its protection engine is very robust, and that matters a lot more than jagged text. But if you prefer Bitdefender or Kaspersky, we wouldn’t recommend switching to Panda, either.