The user interface for many modern antivirus programs soothes the eye with simple shapes and pastel colors. Panda Security definitely isn't in that camp. The vibrant colors of Panda Antivirus Pro 2013 definitely stand out from the crowd, but as far as effective protection goes it's in the middle of the pack.
Even during installation Panda shows more color than most. The activation screen is backed by eye-catching color gradients, for example. When installation is complete, the product's main window offers icons that activate various security components. You'll also see several icons related to features found in Panda's full security suite product line. Clicking these gets a feature description along with an offer to upgrade.
Minor Installation Challenges
Panda Antivirus installed just fine on ten of my twelve infested test systems. Malware prevented activation on two of those, but it didn't block access to updates, so I had no trouble running scans. On one system, malware prevented the installer from downloading the latest components; tech support offered an offline installer that worked around that problem.
Ransomware prevents normal use of Windows on the remaining system; it only works in Safe Mode. Tech support Panda's PScan, a kind of message-based remote control tool, to diagnose the problem and eventually switched to real-time hands-on remote control to effect a fix.
With all the installations complete, I ran a full scan on each system. On my standard clean test system the scan took 37 minutes, which is about average. However, a subsequent scan finished in less than half a minute. That's fast!
Good Malware Cleanup
After running a full scan on all twelve test systems, I tallied the results. In a few cases Panda asked whether I wanted to remove a particular less-risky item; I always said yes.
At the end of a scan, Panda simply displays the number of items checked, the number of threats found, and the number of threats resolved. You can click a link to expand the display with details, or click another link to open a full report that includes all recent activity.
Panda Antivirus detected 82 percent of the threats and scored 5.9 points for malware cleanup. With 6.4 points, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 has the next higher score among products tested with this malware collection. Daily Safety Check Home Edition and Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2013) edged out Bitdefender with 6.5 points.
Interestingly, Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 2.0 took just 5.4 points in this test. It's definitely a different product line from the straight Panda Antivirus. That's also evident when looking at rootkit-based threats. Panda Antivirus detected 80 percent and scored 6 points, while Panda Cloud detected 100 percent and earned 8 points. Kaspersky is the leader in the rootkit category, with 9.4 points. For a full explanation of how I test and score malware removal, see How We Test Malware Removal.