ESET Mobile Security – No stone left unturned (Review)

Screenshot_2016-02-11-17-48-04ESET Mobile Security is a feature rich mobile anti-virus solution that has you covered in just about any mobile security related scenario your imagination can concoct.

*For the purpose of brevity, throughout this review ESET Mobile Security may be referred to as simply, “ESET”

Setup

ESET’s intital setup is a breeze thanks to the application walking you through it step by step.

Upon first opening ESET, you will be asked to choose your primary language. You will also see a checkbox asking if you would like to receive special offers from ESET.  Thankfully, by default, this is not checked.Screenshot_2016-02-11-17-48-28

Next, you will be asked if you would like to send usage data to ESET via the ESET Live Grid.  Normally, I opt out of these sort of things but I did enable this for ESET.  This option will be chosen by default.

You will next be asked if you would like to enable detection of potentially unwanted apps.  If you enable this feature, you will have to provide consent for the installation of any applications that ESET deems potentially dangerous.

Screenshot_2016-02-11-17-48-54The next step will be the initial scan of your device.  If you’re using ESET on a tablet, during this scan you will also see links for Help, Customer Care and About.

Help provides thorough documentation for all of ESET’s many features.

Customer Care provides a form for you to fill out about any issue you maybe be having, which you can then submit to ESET directly. The Customer Care option also provides a link to ESET’s web based knowledgebase.

About will provide you with general information about the ESET Mobile Security application.

Now that you have finished the initial setup, the real fun begins.  You can now jump head first into the meat of ESET!

Customization

Customization occurs in the sub menus of five categorical buttons: Antivirus, Anti-Theft, Anti-Phishing, Security Audit, Settings. If you are using ESET on a phone you will also see a sixth option: SMS & Call Filter. For brevity’s sake, I will provide you with a brief description for each of these categories.

  • Anti-Virus – in this category you have the ability to customize several different options relating to the anti-virus scan of your device.  Some of these options include: scan level, scan logs, manual threat database update and many others.
  • Anti-Theft – anti-theft provides options for multiple levels of theft deterrent for your device, including: remote lock, remote wipe, unrecognized sim card detection and other options.
  • Anti-Phishing – anti-phishing provides options for protecting your web browsing activity
  • Security Audit – security audit is a list of all of the apps on your phone that have been audited for potential threats on the permissions level. The threat types are broken down according to permission type. If an app on your phone is considered a potential threat, the permission type it is offending will be highlighted in red.
  • Settings – a list of general settings for ESET Mobile Security
  • SMS & Call Filter – settings for blocking SMS messages and calls from specific numbers/contacts.

As you can gather from the setup and customization, ESET Mobile Security is absolutely packed with features.  This app literally has you [textmarker color=”FF2172″]covered in just about any security related scenario you may run across[/textmarker] that involves your mobile device.

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Impressions

Towards the end of my review time with ESET, one word came to mind when thinking about it: Wealth.

Yes. Wealth. And I don’t mean wealth in a financial sense (although that could apply based on ESET’s cost).  I am referring to the wealth of features ESET offers.  I know I’ve mentioned ESET’s features a number of times before, but I just can’t stress enough the sheer breadth of ESET Mobile Security as compared to its competitors.  You will not find another anti-virus application on the Play Store that offers this many features at ESET’s price point.  If you do find one, leave its name in the comments for me.

I would venture to say that ESET’s sheer breadth is its greatest strength.  However, as the saying goes, “Sometimes our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses.”

I can really see the potential for ESET’s many options being a turn off for the average user who may not be very tech savvy. Despite ESET offering several resources for answers to your questions and solutions for any issues you may be having, I still think this may not be enough for most users. Because of this, ESET’s consumer base may be severely limited.

I would still encourage you to give ESET a try. It may seem intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, the learning curve will have been worth it for the level of protection ESET is offering your device.

Performance

ESET’s footprint on your device is surprisingly small.  Clocking in at under 30mb on each of my devices (a ZTE ZMAX 2 and Nvidia Shield K1 tablet), space should not pose much of a concern for you when installing ESET on your device.

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In terms of performance, I never noticed a hiccup on either of my devices due to ESET being installed.

For testing purposes, I did try using my phone with a deep scan running in the background.  In total, I had five applications open in addition to ESET. I noticed some minor slow down but it was minute at worst.

I noticed less of a performance drop on my tablet, but I can’t let this test factor into this review. My tablet has very little installed on it and the deep scan finished before I really had a chance to do anything else while the scan ran in the background.

User Interface

On the surface, ESET’s user interface is fantastic; it’s simple and inviting. However, if you decide to go down the rabbit hole, ESET’s UI is fantastic but it may be a bit intimidating to the average user.

I like that ESET’s options are broken down into specific categories using large buttons. However, as much as I love this, it is a bit deceptive. What you see on the surface is hiding a monster beneath. I would compare it to seeing the outer beauty of a luxury car but then looking under the hood at the engine and being asked to customize and tweak it without any prior mechanical knowledge.

Tablet Interface
Tablet Interface

It’s hard for me to ding ESET for this.  I think they’ve done a great job in organizing so many customization options in such a small package. I really have no suggestions for UI improvements. For what this is, you can’t do any better. The good news is if you’re using the free version, you won’t really have access to the deeper levels of customization. I know ESET may not like me saying this, but to be completely honest, if you do not consider yourself a tech savvy person, I would recommend that you do not purchase a license for this application.  The free version will provide plenty of security for you and you’ll have no need to feel overwhelmed by ESET’s many premium options.

If, however, you’re feeling adventurous, dive in.

One suggestion I would provide to ESET is for them to implement a question-based, automated customization process during the application’s initial setup.  As you’re setting the app up for the first time, have questions pop up for the user to answer.  Based upon the answers the user provides for these question, the app should then automatically enable and disable specific options and features to fit this user’s needs.

In a sense, this would create an automated customization process based on the user’s needs. If the user so desires, they can later explore ESET’s settings and tweak to their hearts content.  I feel like implementing a feature like this would make the premium version of ESET more accessible to everyone versus just the power users.

One other thing of note: be very careful when setting up ESET’s anti-theft features. I can see the risk of some users accidentally wiping their devices. If you do decide to use the anti-theft feature, please make sure to keep track of the passwords you use in the set up.

Cost

ESET provides you a Mercedes Benz quality application at a Geo Metro price. For some, though, $14.95 seems a bit steep for a 1-year premium license. There’s definitely some sticker shock there. However, we need to keep in mind what that money gets you. It’s getting you premium anti-virus protection, theft protection, phishing protection, application auditing and an sms & call filter. The sheer level of customization these features provide make $14.95 for ESET a steal.

At the time of this review, ESET is offering a two year premium license for $9.95. That truly is a steal.

I do have one small criticism that ESET needs to address sooner rather than later.  The pricing on its website is just downright confusing.  Visitors see a sale price of $9.95 for two years of premium, down from $19.95.  However, 1 year is also priced at $19.95 while the mobile app itself offers a one year license for $14.95. Why is there a discrepancy between the 1 year cost on the site and the 1 year cost within the app? This is just confusing, ESET.

As mentioned above, the free version of ESET will still provide you with premium, top notch protection.  If you’re a power user, spend the money and get the premium license.

Unfortunately, at this time, I just can only recommend the premium for the power user. It just can be potentially too confusing for the layman. I do not say this to insult anyone’s intelligence or to find fault in the experience.

The Bottom Line

ESET is wonderful. I’ve discussed the good and I’ve discussed the bad. Even with the bad, I still have to sing ESET’s praises. It’s a feature packed mobile security solution that provides the best of the best for the power user and a top notch (FREE!) anti-virus solution for everyone else.

ESET has proven track record in IT security. I’ve used ESET’s NOD32 in the past, as a field tech for a company. It’s a quality product.

ESET is a brand you can trust.

Do not hesitate to give ESET Mobile Security a spin on your mobile device.  You won’t regret it.