BullGuard may be a more familiar name than Avira, but it's yet to become a household brand. That's a shame, as its all-in-one suite is a worthy competitor to the likes of Norton 360 and McAfee Total Security. As with those suites it brings together malware protection, web protection and online backup, positioning itself as the complete package for peace of mind.
Where BullGuard differentiates itself this month is through its ability to sniff out malware. Its astonishing 95% score in our detection test was the highest in the Labs and every one of the few samples it missed was also missed by at least seven other scanners.
Its score in our web threats test was impressive too, equalling Avira and coming second only to AVG. To complete the trifecta, BullGuard deflected our network scanner without allowing it to glean a single piece of information.
If BullGuard has an obvious weakness, it's the interface. None of this month's contenders is unusable, but we're not fans of BullGuard's garish tabs-within-tabs layout.
Casual users won't be too bothered, as they'll almost never need to stray into the user interface, but we found it confusing to navigate, especially since all the buttons look like they're greyed out. We're also slightly irritated by the way BullGuard still presents Antivirus and Antispyware as two buttons when in fact they lead to the same place.
Perhaps the most visible piece of awkwardness is BullGuard's email integration, which works with Outlook, Windows Mail and Thunderbird. Spam emails are automatically tagged with "[BGSpam]" - just to make sure you know it's BullGuard that tagged them - and when infected email is received, a requester leaps up proclaiming "BullGuard stopped a malware!" (sic).
The message body is also modified to include a link to the BullGuard store. It all serves to make the package a little too conspicuous.
Still, you can't argue with results, and BullGuard's scores speak for themselves. Factor in the low impact on your system and it's an appealing option. It's more expensive than other suites, mind: if you don't plan to use your 5GB of online storage then Avira is much better value.
But for those who can use a simple, all-in-one security and backup package, BullGuard is a far stronger performer than appearances would suggest.