In a world where free anti-virus software is commonplace for pretty much every platform, the likes of Trend Micro need to offer comprehensive coverage if they want consumers to fork out money for a similar service.
The latest refresh of Trend Micro's Titanium Maximum Security suite has done just that, combining a series of both preventative and post infection measures to keep not only your PC or Mac virus safe, but also your Android device.
It comes in two versions, one with a three device license for AU$109.95 (£69.95, $US89.95), and another for five devices, worth AU$129.95 (£79.95).
Trend Micro's main strength is as a preventative measure against infection. Maximum security protects your computer against all kinds of internet nasties, from viruses, spyware, worms and trojans through to identity theft, as well as pre-emptively blocking dangerous websites.
Additionally, Maximum security also tries to be the one stop shop for online security by offering parental controls and letting you control the privacy settings of all your social networks.
You also get 5GB of online storage in Trend Micro's SafeSync vault, which is a 5GB drop over last year's release for Australians. At the same time, Trend also has the Premium Security suite offering 25GB in the cloud for a premium price, which explains the storage drop.
Installation and Use
Installation should be a relatively simple affair, but getting the software onto a Mac offered some unexpected hurdles. The Trend Micro software required us to delete some old, free antivirus software from the machine in order to install. Unfortunately, the only way we were able to completely remove the older software was to go into Terminal.
This is hardly Trend Micro's fault, but it could pose problems for any consumer looking to make the step up from free anti-virus software to a paid version.
Fortunately, once installed, the software is designed not only for simplicity, but to be on in the background without requiring constant feedback from the user.
The app's settings page offers four tabs: Overview, Web, Scans and Logs, which is where customers can control what the software is doing, how often it does it and what it has done in the past.
Even when running a full scan of the computer's hard drive, there's no noticeable performance degradation. But the true strength of this software is in its design as a preventative measure as opposed to fixing a machine that's already got problems.
That's not to say that Maximum Security can't actually fix a malware-ridden machine. You can manually opt to scan at any stage, with regular scans generally scheduled every month.
But as the proverb says, prevention is better than cure, and thanks to things like a toolbar on your web browser that allows real time detection of web-threats, the chances of infection are greatly reduced with the software installed.
Parents will find the parental controls useful, although they are slightly more confusing to implement in this year's release.
With so many free anti-virus offerings on the market, it's become a bit harder for companies to convince users that an annual subscription is worth the money.
Trend Micro is hoping that by being comprehensive across multiple devices, it will offer enough to convince people to sign up. The good news is that the software does everything it says on the box.
All features are easy to control without being overwhelming. The software runs best in the background, only alerting you when you are about to click on something dangerous.
But is that worth $130 every year? That's a good chunk of change when you can get a large percentage of the features for free using a variety of rival applications.
- We've also highlighted the best antivirus software in this roundup