Trend Micro Antivirus review: Good protection but tricky to use

Web reputation technology steers you clear of malicious sites.

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security stopped every malicious file we attempted to download and blocked every phishing scheme and malicious website we tried to access - that's 356 different malware threats. It includes spam filters to reduce threats coming in through email and safe browsing tools that mark websites that are safe to visit. It also has Pay Guard, a special tool to protect your credit card numbers and online accounts from being shipped while you shop and bank online.

The pros of using Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security stopped every malware threat we tried to download well before the download process began. Using web recognition technology, this software then blocked the entire website where the threat originated, displayed warning messages and added additional information about each threat, or why the website was blocked in the detailed activity reports. Additional safe browsing tools marked websites listed in search results as good or bad, so we knew which were safe to click through and visit.

We allowed our computers to become infected with a few threats so we could test Trend Micro's ability to find and remove malware that does get by the internet protections. This program didn't have any problem finding these threats that included ransomware, Trojans, and rootkits. Threats were moved to the quarantine folder and held securely there before being permanently removed, leaving no remnants to re-infect our computers.

On top of stellar protection that recognizes and blocks both viruses already known and new malware, known as zero-day threats, Trend Micro Antivirus includes spam filters. These keep phishing schemes and annoying email from reaching your inbox while also scanning the messages and attachments for any malicious downloads. These spam filters work with both paid and free email accounts.

Trend Micro stopped every threat we attempted to download and warned of dangerous websites.

Internet threats aren't the only place Trend Micro protects you. This antivirus program scans all USB drives before allowing any files to open or transfer to your device to ensures they are legitimate and bug-free.

Trend Micro also includes Pay Guard that shields credit card numbers and account information while you bank or shop online. This makes it harder for keyloggers and internet snoops to swipe sensitive information or steal your identity.

See where we rank Trend Micro, and learn more about this program, in our list of the best antivirus software for Windows.

The cost of using Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security

Trend Micro creates noticeable lag on computers it's installed on, especially when trying to load videos or attach files to outgoing email or private messages. And while playing online games, we experienced some buffing while Trend Micro performed scans of our system.

This antivirus program is one of the more difficult programs to install. While it does walk you through most of the steps, there are a lot of them, and some features and functions aren't instinctively located on the dashboard, or already enabled. If you need any help with this antivirus program, you can email Trend Micro or check out some of the hints on its website, but you will have to pay for any telephone support. This is especially frustrating since the program already isn't cheap - about $40 for a single user license. At this price or less, several other antivirus programs give you three or more user licenses and include live support.

To make this program more confusing, there are a few tools listed on the dashboard that you can't use unless you purchase a different license to access them. For example, the "Family" link from the dashboard takes you to built-in parental controls, but you can only use them if you purchase either the Trend Micro Internet Security (opens in new tab) or Maximum Security (opens in new tab) program.

Is Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security worth the price?

We love how well Trend Micro protects every aspect of your online experience and keeps your computer clear of malware. But the bill for Trend Micro's excellent malware protection is a bit steep. For the price of a single Trend Micro antivirus user license, other antivirus programs give you three or more. But that's not the only cost for stellar malware protection. This software requires a bit of time to install and set up since several tools need to be enabled before you can use them. And there are workarounds to help Trend Micro create less drag to your system, including enabling its silent, or full-screen mode, but it takes some effort and a bit of software know-how to find and figure it out. If you're not even a little tech savvy, this program isn't for you.

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security (opens in new tab) receives full marks for malware protection, especially since it stopped 100 percent of the threats we used during testing and is excellent at detecting and warning about dangerous websites. Its spam filters are very helpful in keeping malware, phishing schemes and junk mail out of your inbox, and Pay Guard shields important financial and personal information while your shop and bank online. However, it's heavy use of resources, and the difficulty to use does affect Trend Micro's overall score.