Eset is one of the few security vendors that doesn’t insist on upgrading its software every year, and Smart Security is fundamentally unchanged since our last roundup in early 2010. But that’s no bad thing.
For a start, Smart Security 4 has always made very low demands on your PC’s resources. This month, it added just 60MB to our test system and a reasonable nine seconds to startup. That’s achieved partly by eschewing extraneous features: you’ll find neither redundant parental controls nor gimmicks such as Registry cleaners or browser plugins here.
That clarity of purpose also keeps the interface clean. The basic front-end is simple but sober, giving Smart Security 4 a more grown-up feel than some of its rivals. For those who like to get more hands-on, there are no fewer than 49 panels of settings hidden away under the Advanced Setup option.
Happily, there’s no need to get your hands dirty. With default settings, Eset’s package protected us against 94% of our malware samples – not perfect, but certainly respectable – without registering any false-positives.
Things went even better in the firewall test. The software asked us if we wanted it to run in Strict Mode or permit file-sharing, and to simulate a typical home setup we chose the latter. Even then, our attacking PC was prevented from probing network ports or extracting any useful information.
The lack of features makes the price seem high, but if you just want straightforward protection with minimal impact on your system, Eset is a good choice.