Like other premium security tools, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 offers unique extras to counter the many free antivirus tools available, most of which offer similar levels of basic protection to Bitdefender but in stripped-down packages that sometimes leave you wanting (and needing) more. In addition to powerful antivirus protection, Bitdefender's features list includes antiphishing, parental controls, firewall, secure online storage, ID security, USB device security, process behavior monitoring (to predict and counter zero-day threats based on anomalous system behavior), and a vulnerability scanner. Other tools have similar features, so Bitdefender ups the ante with extras like SafePay, which secures your online transactions at home and on the go; a Personal Data Defender that keeps your private info safe at home; and Device Anti-Theft, which can remotely locate, lock, and wipe any protected device that's connected to the Internet (very clever, Mr. Bond!).
Bitdefender's installer can uninstall your existing antivirus program, though you may need to remove Microsoft Security Essentials manually. Setup enables Autopilot, which keeps the pop-ups down, and Automatic Game Mode; we could toggle them off and on as needed. We also configured Bitdefender's Connection Filters: Antimalware, Antiphishing, Antifraud, and Search Advisor. Bitdefender's central interface is called the Dashboard; it's good-looking and easy to use. We could switch between Autopilot and User Mode as needed. Setting up the SafeGo social networking feature protects you while you're on Facebook and Twitter (and other sites). Creating a MyBitdefender account accesses online support and services.
With so many free alternatives available, why buy a premium app? A few bucks of prevention beats hundreds in cures, but set aside the relative value of your system, your data, and your time: if a free tool does what the for-pay tool does, what are you paying for? Start with support: unless you're ready, willing, and able to handle all the threats constantly knocking at your door, day in and day out, without letting your guard down, you might find good technical support worth a few bucks. Add in all the extras, and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 is a pretty good value.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013.