McAfee Internet Security 2010 is a visible departure from previous McAfee tools. The familiar "panels ‘n' ticks" interface is gone, and is replaced by a new slab-like design that brings most of the suite's functions into a single window.
It works up to a point: we liked being able to browse features and settings without negotiating a proliferation of pop-ups. But it doesn't offer a lot of space, so configuring firewall or scan settings involves a lot of scrolling.
Little else in this version is new. The Active Protection feature merely catches up with the cloud-based analysis already in use by other vendors. Likewise, the laptop-friendly option to scan drives only when connected to the mains is welcome, but was already available from Norton, Eset and others. Probably the biggest new feature is online backup. Your licence gives you 1GB, but you can upgrade to unlimited storage for $90 a year.
McAfee Internet Security 2010 retains the SiteAdvisor technology that we praised in our last security Labs. Rather than mindlessly blacklisting websites, it helps you make an informed decision as to whether or not to proceed.
Sadly, in that same Labs McAfee's malware detection fell short, and this month McAfee Internet Security 2010 detected only 89% - some way behind the 95% achieved by Avira and our A-List choice Norton Internet Security 2010.
And while McAfee's RAM footprint only pushed our test system's memory usage up from 590MB to 688MB, it made our test machine slower to boot to the desktop, up from 16 seconds to 21, and added a further 27 seconds of CPU activity.
McAfee Internet Security 2010 ticks a fair few boxes, including parental web controls and various privacy protection tools. SiteAdvisor and online backup are particular highlights. But uninspiring malware performance necessarily relegates the whole package to the second rank.