Sunbelt Software has been quietly plying a trade in a crowded market with its own form of antivirus and system security, the most recent of which is Antivirus Premium 4.0. Aimed at those who prefer a "set and forget" solution to being bogged down with streams of menus and notifications, it becomes obvious after the short install that it is sticking with this tried and tested approach.
During this process it’s possible to configure email protection and opt for "simple" or "learning" firewall modes, the latter of which is aimed more at advanced users by requesting confirmation of program access rather that settling for defaults.
A clean, if rather basic, interface shows the status of the various components, which include an anti-virus and anti-malware scanner, active protection, email protection, a desktop firewall and update tools. Antivirus Premium also offers intrusion prevention, ad-blocking and a webguard to protect against malicious sites and the software uses MX-Virtualisation for added security, which analyses potential threats in a virtual environment to prevent them from affecting your machine.
Firewall aside, there’s not a lot of control available over the other tools in the suite, and though all the most important settings are accessible through various "advanced" menus, they may not offer enough for those who like to fine-tune operation. That being said, this isn’t really VIPRE’s target audience, and while it’s fair to argue that it’s not nearly as comprehensive as rivals such as Norton and BitDefender, it does what it does well.
One distinct advantage of choosing VIPRE is that it’s very light on resources and we noticed no impact on system performance during scans, which use a bite-sized 60MB or thereabouts of system memory and around 50% CPU usage, though this fluctuates quite wildly.
Unfortunately scans do take a long time – over 5 minutes for a "quick scan" in our tests and this is often extended further by the fact that it also checks for (and downloads) updates prior to scanning.
This would be more of a problem if VIPRE didn’t do such a good job of protecting and cleaning your PC - independent test results show that it’s up there with some of the best suites on the market in most areas so there’s plenty of peace of mind to be had with this slimline alternative.
Finally it’s an extremely cheap solution provided you opt for protection for a single PC, which comes in at £29.95, where £39.95 protects two machines and £49.95 gets you an unlimited licence, which may also be appealing depending on intended use.
Though VIPRE Antivirus Premium is rather basic in terms of the control if offers and the limited range of tools available, it certainly doesn’t let itself down when it comes to comprehensive protection, and is one of the most watertight suites on the market today. As a set and forget solution for those who want an AV product to manage itself in the background, this is an impressive package.