Antivirus software is not a choice in this complex digital world; it is vital to ensure your private information is kept safe while online.
In this comparison, I will put Bitdefender against Panda to decide which one is best. Bitdefender is one of the biggest names on the antivirus market, serving millions of customers worldwide and using innovative features to keep you safe. Panda is perhaps not widely known, but still offers outstanding malware protection and performance. So can Panda beat Bitdefender?
I’ll decipher all of the technical information and use my own unique malware tests to deliver my verdict. I’ll also look at other independent malware tests to back up my own findings.
Don’t have time to read the whole comparison? Bitdefender is my winner. Bitdefender offers comprehensive protection and additional features. Its malware protection results came out on top, without reducing performance on my device, all at an affordable cost.
So, let’s get into the comparison.
Summary: Bitdefender vs Panda
- Protection against ransomware
- Password manager
- Unlimited and secure VPN
- Premium VPN
- Data and privacy protection
- Update manager
|Feature||Bitdefender Premium Security||Panda Dome Premium|
|Antivirus and antispyware||✔||✔|
|Banking and payment protection||✔||✔|
|Network attack protection||✔||✔|
|Automatically update apps||✖||✔|
|PC cloud backup||✔ (50GB)||✔|
|Identity theft protection||✖||✔|
|Run suspicious apps in sandbox||✖||✖|
BEST DEAL FOR BITDEFENDER:Get 50% off the Ultimate Premium Package that works with all devices and operating systems.
BEST DEAL FOR PANDA:Save 50% on the first year of Panda Premium which includes 24/7 technical support.
Bitdefender was founded in 2001. This makes it a relative newcomer to the antivirus market. Despite this, it has quickly established itself, protecting more than 500 million users worldwide. Bitdefender prides itself on being the most trusted provider of online security.
Panda Security was once recognized among the 500 fastest-growing companies in Europe. Having launched in 1998, it specializes in endpoint security and is currently part of the WatchGuard portfolio of IT security solutions.
Pricing and compatibility
No matter what devices you’re protecting, you have to make sure the software is at the right price for you. As you can see in the tables below, both companies offer free versions of their antivirus software. If you’re on a really tight budget, then this may be a good option to consider. It’s important to know that free antivirus just offers basic protection against common threats and not the sophisticated ones we see today. So if you do have room in your budget, opting for a paid product is always best.
Bitdefender offers a variety of products and additional addons. The premium product comes in at $149.99 (GBP £108.69) per year. The next tier down is Bitdefender Total Security which costs $89.99 (GBP £65.21) per year. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is $59.99 (GBP £43.47) per year.
|Bitdefender Antivirus||Bitdefender Antivirus Plus||Bitdefender Total Security||Bitdefender Premium Security|
|FREE||$59.99 per year||$89.99 per year||$149.99 per year|
Panda is similar to Bitdefender in price points, with its basic paid-for antivirus coming in at $58.99 (GBP £42.74) and its premium product at $166.99 (GBP £121). So, fairly similar price structures.
|Panda Free Antivirus||Panda Essential||Panda Advanced||Panda Complete||Panda Premium|
|Free||$58.99 per year||$70.99 per year||$106.99 per year||$166.99 per year|
Both companies offer impressive first-year discounts at the time of writing. If you go for Bitdefender Premium, it will cost $89.99 (GBP £65.22) with a $60 (GBP £43.48) discount. Panda is also offering a limited-time discount of 50 percent off its premium products. This takes the cost of Panda Premium down to $83.49 (GBP £60.51) for the first year.
Not satisfied? Bitdefender will give you your money back after 30 days if you’re not happy with the software. Panda offers a one-month trial on all of its products.
Compatibility is another factor to consider before purchasing. Both Bitdefender and Panda work across Windows, Android, and macOS devices.
Effectiveness against malware
We’ve all heard the term malware, but what exactly is it? It is essentially any software that represents a threat to your device. This includes adware, trojans, worms, spyware, ransomware, and more. I have tested both Bitdefender and Panda against malware, running my own tests to see which one is best.
I downloaded four EICAR (European Institute for Computer Anti-Virus Research) test files and used three live samples. I captured the data below in real-time.
|Test File||EICAR Sample 1||EICAR Sample 2||EICAR Sample 3||EICAR Sample 4||Live Sample 1 (Adware)||Live Sample 2 (Trojan)||Live Sample 3
As the table above shows, Bitdefender performed exceptionally well and blocked all EICAR samples and live samples. Panda blocked all of the live samples but allowed two of the EICAR samples, so was lagging behind Bitdefender in this aspect.
My tests show Bitdefender is the better performer in terms of malware protection. I consulted a couple of leading antivirus research websites to see if they have similar results. AV-Test’s Real World Testing research used 339 samples in the months of May and June 2020. Bitdefender scored 100 percent protection for both months. Panda was not tested by AV-Test in this period.
AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection Test from February to May 2020, resulted in Bitdefender being given a 99.3 percent protection rate. Panda scored a little higher at 99.9 percent.
AV-Comparatives also picks out if any software identifies something as a threat when it’s not. This is shown in the false alarm test for the same period. A lower score is better. From February to May 2020, Bitdefender scored just two false alarms, whereas Panda recorded 23.
So who is my winner here? Bitdefender is a clear winner in both my own tests and the independent testing by research websites. It blocked all of the samples in my own tests and also ranks as one of the highest performing in the independent tests.
Impact on PC performance
Having antivirus software running in the background could impact your device, especially with scans being regularly performed. If you’re busy working on your device or gaming, having any kind of lag or slowdown will be irritating. It could even ultimately result in you cancelling your subscription. I have done the groundwork for you in my own performance tests.
|Test Type||Full Scan Time (minutes)||Full Scan Items Scanned||Control CPU Utilization % (no scan)||Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)||Control Disk Utilization (MB/s) (no scan)||Quick Scan CPU Utilization %||Quick Scan Memory Utilization %||Quick Scan Disk Utilization %||Quick Scan Time (seconds)|
This table shows the data captured from running a full and quick scan. As you can see, Panda takes just 40 minutes to do a full scan and three seconds to run a quick scan. Bitdefender takes slightly longer, at 110 minutes for a full scan and 338 seconds for a quick scan. Even so, Bitdefender scanned many more items than Panda, so I think you can compromise on the timing for a much deeper scan.
|Test Type||Control CPU Utilization % (no scan)||Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)||Control Disk Utilization (MB/s) (no scan)||Full Scan CPU Utilization %||Full Scan Memory Utilization %||Full Scan Disk Utilization (MB/s)|
The results here show Panda using less CPU utilization when no scan was present and also slightly less when a full scan was being performed. This is probably down to the fact it runs scans on a cloud-based remote server, so it doesn’t interrupt your device. Bitdefender’s CPU utilization was 10 percent higher than Panda’s.
AV-Comparatives also records data on PC performance, which I can compare to my own results. The test shows the impact antivirus has on PC performance when carrying out eight common tasks:
- Downloading files
- Browsing websites
- File copying: first and subsequent run
- Installing and uninstalling applications
- Archiving and unarchiving
- Launching applications: first and subsequent run
In April 2020, Bitdefender scored a very fast rating for all common tasks, with the exception of file copying on its first run, which scored a fast rating. Panda also came out with a very fast score for all tasks with the exception of archiving and unarchiving, for which it was rated fast.
Weighing up this information, Bitdefender and Panda are very close in performance. Bitdefender is far more thorough, so it’s understandable that it takes longer to run scans.
Hackers are attempting to steal your private information in more sophisticated ways, so you need all-around protection. Luckily, many antivirus software has an abundance of features to ensure your safety. Below is a list of the key features each offers.
- Unlimited VPN traffic
- Priority support
- Device optimizer
- Window, macOS, Android, and iOS protection
- Parental control
- Multi-layer ransomware protection
- Protection against malware, spyware, and adware
- Update manager
- Premium VPN
- Premium support
- Parental controls
- Data protection
- Cell phone locator
- Password manager
- Unlimited VPN traffic: Encrypts all internet traffic, bank information, passwords, and downloads with VPN. It also includes all devices.
- Multi-layer ransomware protection: This multi-layered approach includes a data-protection layer, which will safeguard your documents, pictures, and other important information.
- Device optimizer: Speed up your device with a one-click optimizer, helping you filter out the junk and useless files with a click of a button.
- Parental controls: Monitor your children’s online activities and location by blocking access to inappropriate applications and content.
- Cell phone locator: Lost your smartphone? Panda Premium will be able to locate your lost or stolen device.
- Password manager: All you need to remember is one single master password, which will give you access to all of your other passwords securely with one click.
Bitdefender and Panda offer superb features. Bitdefender just gets the edge as it offers multi-layered protection and outstanding privacy features, without compromising the performance of your device.
Signup and installation
Signing up for, and installing, the software doesn’t need to be scary, especially when Bitdefender and Panda offer superb customer support.
On the Bitdefender payment page, you’ll see your discount, product, and subscription length. One thing to mention is that there’s no option to increase subscription length on this page. It does tell you that auto-renewal is turned on so remember to turn this off if you don’t want to have future payments taken automatically.
Panda offers more options on its signup page. You can increase the number of devices and the subscription length. This, of course, changes the cost of your product. All customer and payment details are on one page, allowing you to easily check over your information.
Bitdefender and Panda are quick and easy to install and can be functioning within minutes.
How easy is the interface to use?
It’s important for any software to have an appealing design and layout, especially when you’re paying for it. An easy-to-use interface can help greatly when dealing with some of the complex features that come with many antivirus software.
Bitdefender is minimalistic in its design and layout. Each feature is set out in blocks, allowing you to navigate easily. The left-hand panel will let you check on your account, monitor notifications, and manage your privacy.
Panda Dome Premium comes with a customizable background, adding a personalized touch, without destroying the aesthetic of the screen. You can clearly see if you are protected and Panda lets you know how many files it has scanned. This gives you the peace of mind that it’s working as it should be. The left-hand panel allows you to navigate to your devices and check on any security news that may benefit your software. Overall, the design is clean and simple with a hint of personalization that other software may not give you.
Whether you have troubleshooting problems with your software or have an unwanted threat on your device, customer support is essential. So how do Bitdefender and Panda fare in this regard?
Bitdefender provides 24/7 support all year round, through phone, online chat, and a ticketing system. The extensive support hub on the website will more than likely have the solution you’re looking for with lots of easy-to-watch how-to videos.
If you opt for the Panda Premium product, you get premium 24/7 support. You’ll have an on-hand expert to assist with any technical problem, including issues that aren’t directly related to antiviruses, such as social media, home routers, and more. You can reach support via phone, online chat, and social media sites.
Bitdefender vs Panda Conclusion
To conclude this comparison, Bitdefender is my winner. Not only does it have high malware protection rates, but it also offers a range of functionality. Whether you’re gaming, shopping, or banking, there is a comprehensive feature list that will help protect any kind of home user. Although Panda does give it a run for its money, Bitdefender edges ahead in several areas.