Bitdefender is the best antivirus software out there, winning our praise for the quality of its protection and customer service. Trend Micro’s cybersecurity products, such as Trend Micro Antivirus+, are good and affordable alternatives. To help you decide which to buy, we’re going to put them to the test in this Bitdefender vs. Trend Micro comparison.
Setting up a Fight: Trend Micro Antivirus+ vs. Bitdefender
Trend Micro and Bitdefender have been battling cyber threats for nearly 50 years combined, but we’re not going to let either company rest on their laurels. This head-to-head comparison will put both antiviruses to the test in five rounds.
We’ll start with features before we look at pricing plans, user-friendliness, quality of protection and customer service from both companies. To help you make a decision, we’ll award a point to the winner of each category (or a point to each if it’s a draw).
We’ll explain why in a quick round up after each section, as well as a final round up at the end. The overall winner will be the first to earn three or more points. If you feel we’ve been unfair (or too generous!), don’t be afraid to disagree in the comments section.
Rather than surrender to ever-changing cybercrime threats, antivirus software companies have to adapt. New features are the natural consequence, bringing greater protection to customers.
To see whether Bitdefender or Trend Micro is the protection you’ll need, we’re going to look at the features both companies provide.
Like most antivirus providers, Bitdefender doesn’t offer every feature at the bottom end of its product list. If you’re looking for more than “just” an antivirus, Bitdefender’s product plans are designed to accommodate you. It has a wide set of features, but you’ll have to pay more for all of them.
The central focus of Bitdefender is protection against malware. Beyond the buzzwords, Bitdefender’s general antivirus protection is exceptional, with extra features designed to respond to more unusual threats.
To protect you, a vulnerability scanner will search your system for insecure software to reduce the risk of a cyber attack. A firewall is also included to protect your system, although this isn’t available in the basic Bitdefender Antivirus Plus package.
To help you stay safe on the web, Bitdefender includes Safepay, its locked-down web browser. Safepay gives you an isolated area to access sensitive sites (like online banking) with a virtual keyboard included to protect against keylogging tools.
Bitdefender also includes its own limited VPN service to toughen up Safepay while you’re on the go. Instead of letting you ignore the dangers of public WiFi, Bitdefender gives you a 200MB data allowance to encrypt your connection while on open WiFi.
Although the data allowance is about on par with the best free VPNs, it’s better than nothing. If you need more protection, consider combining Bitdefender with a premium VPN like ExpressVPN (see our ExpressVPN review).
Bitdefender includes protection for microphones and webcams, as well as web filtering extensions to block suspicious websites. There’s also a basic password manager, but it’s no replacement for a manager like Sticky Password (see our Sticky Password review).
To top things off, anti-tracking and anti-theft protection is included, as well as protection for your mobile devices. You may need to pay a little extra, but Bitdefender strives to provide customers with all the features they might expect from a top-tier security product.
Trend Micro Antivirus+
If you imagine Bitdefender as a large buffet meal, Trend Micro Antivirus+ is a snack, but Antivirus+ is only one security product in the larger Trend Micro arsenal.
However, Antivirus+ is the basis of its protection. This Windows-only antivirus comes with ransomware protection and something that Trend Micro calls “advanced AI learning” to predict and respond to the behavior of potential threats.
Antivirus+ also comes with an email scanner and Pay Guard, a tool for locking down your existing web browser. It isn’t a Bitdefender SafePay replacement, but it may beef up your security by deactivating any risky extensions before you shop or bank online.
To see extra features, you’ll need to look at one of the other Trend Micro antivirus products. Trend Micro Internet Security adds parental safety and social media security features. It also comes with system analysis and optimization tools.
At the top, Trend Micro Maximum Security combines the features of the other Trend Micro products with extras, such as a password manager and mobile protection. Like Bitdefender, Trend Micro’s password manager is fine, but it can’t hold a candle to alternatives like Dashlane (see our Dashlane review).
There’s nothing to particularly complain about when we look at Trend Micro’s feature list. There’s enough meat on the bones to give the products their value, but if you’re looking for a wider security suite, you’re going to be disappointed.
Round One Thoughts
Trend Micro includes some add-ons, but its primary focus is protection, as we can see in the Antivirus+ package. In contrast, Bitdefender gives you much more, with features designed to make it a much more useful security suite to protect against more uncommon threats.
When you look at the antivirus price plans offered by most companies, you might end up bogged down in discounts, device coverage and coverage length, to name a few.
If you want to know whether Bitdefender or Trend Micro’s products are affordable and worth the investment, we’re here to help with this comparison of each company’s price plans.
Bitdefender is a price-friendly antivirus provider for new customers, with large discounts available. Discounts do vary, but Bitdefender generally offers new-customer discounts of more than 50-percent off the usual retail price.
1-year plan $ 2.92/ month
$34.99 billed every year
1-year plan $ 3.33/ month
$39.98 billed every year
1-year plan $ 3.75/ month
$44.99 billed every year
Bitdefender has four separate products for customers, which vary by length of coverage and the number of devices you need to protect.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the cheapest product and comes with the bulk of Bitdefender’s protection as standard, although it lacks some of the additional premium features, such as a network firewall. It’s Windows-only with coverage from one to 10 devices available.
The first package to include most (although not all) of Bitdefender’s features is Bitdefender Internet Security. This is also restricted to Windows users, but should only cost you an extra $5 per month compared to Bitdefender’s promotional rate for Antivirus Plus.
It comes with privacy protection for your webcam and microphone, firewall security, parental controls and encryption for your files. Like Antivirus Plus, you can protect yourself with plans for one, three, five and 10 devices.
If you’re looking for Mac and mobile protection, however, you’ll need Bitdefender Total Security. At publication, the discount rate for Total Security is exactly the same as Internet Security, but otherwise there’s only $10 between them. It comes with mobile protection that earned it a mention on our best antivirus for Android shortlist.
Mac users also do well, as Bitdefender is one of three antiviruses we recommend in our best antivirus for Mac shortlist, too. With coverage for five or 10 devices, you’ll gain all the features previously mentioned, along with anti-theft protection.
If you need to protect more than 10 devices, you’ll need the Bitdefender Family Pack, with coverage for 15 devices included in the price. The discount price is a steal, with new customers getting about $60 taken off the standard price of around $120.
Most customers, if they’re looking for multi-device protection, will find the best value for money in the Total Security or Family Pack plans. Both offer all the features Bitdefender has, while including Mac and mobile protection.
Trend Micro Antivirus+
Trend Micro’s pricing structure is designed to be affordable. Trend Micro Antivirus+ is the cheapest, but the more expensive plans aren’t badly priced either.
1-year plan $ 2.50/ month
$29.95 billed every year
1-year plan $ 3.33/ month
$39.95 billed every year
1-year plan $ 4.16/ month
$49.95 billed every year
We’ve already covered the limitations in features, but Antivirus+ is limited in another way: coverage. For around $40, you gain protection for a single Windows PC.
Single-device coverage on Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the same price as Trend Micro Antivirus+, although new customers can pay the same amount to cover three devices with Bitdefender, thanks to new-customer discounts.
Looking at Trend Micro’s other products, Trend Micro Internet Security is also Windows-only, offering coverage for three devices at around $80 per year. It’s the same price as Bitdefender Internet Security but with fewer features.
The only opton for mobile and Mac is Trend Micro Maximum Security, with coverage for five or 10 devices. Maximum Security is the same price as Bitdefender’s top-tier product, Total Security, but with poorer discounts for new customers and fewer features.
Round Two Thoughts
Trend Micro is inexpensive, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, Trend Micro’s antivirus products are equal in price to Bitdefender’s, but with smaller discounts for new customers and far fewer features available. If you want the best bang for your buck, Bitdefender wins, hands down.
You shouldn’t install an antivirus and be left to struggle with features, buttons and settings galore. If it isn’t user-friendly, it isn’t worth paying for.
In this section of our comparison, we’ll be testing whether Bitdefender and Trend Micro are easy to use or not, from installation to daily usage.
Bitdefender has a simple installer that should get you up and running in less than 20 minutes, assuming you have a speedy connection. The installation is around 500MB in size, but once it’s downloaded, much of the installation is completed without any user input.
Everything about the Bitdefender client is designed around being easy to navigate. Your main dashboard section gives access to the most common features, including starting a quick antivirus scan.
This can be customized, so if you’re a fan of Bitdefender Safepay, you can add this here for quick access. Other features are accessible from the side menu. Under “protection,” for instance, you’ll find Bitdefender’s vulnerability scanner and network firewall features, along with your other antivirus protection options.
Bitdefender tries to be proactive, so when it spots user actions that could put you at risk, it’ll warn you, like alerting you to use Safepay. You can set custom profiles to mute these features when it’s inconvenient (for instance, when you’re at work or gaming). There’s also a wide range of customization available under the “settings” menu.
Bitdefender is a great option for most users, and only providers like Avira offer such an exceptional user experience, as our Avira review explains. There’s a lot of choice for savvy users, but Bitdefender has clearly been designed to be as easy to use as possible.
Trend Micro Antivirus+
Trend Micro has a smaller installation file than Bitdefender (around 250MB), and despite a few extra stages, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to install.
After a restart, you’ll be ready to go. We mentioned previously in our review that Trend Micro doesn’t play well with other antiviruses, and this is still the case; it’ll warn you to remove any competitors you have before it’ll install.
The Trend Micro client is modern, appealing and centered around its primary purpose: to scan and protect for malware. Opening the client, you’ll see a large, round “scan” button. Hovering over it gives you options for quick scanning or much more in-depth scans.
At the top, you have a list of four categories, giving you access to hidden Trend Micro features and settings. “Privacy,” for instance, leads you to privacy features like Pay Guard, with options to configure beside each feature.
If you’re confused by anything, each setting and feature has a brief description. You can also access Trend Micro’s help and support by clicking the question mark icon in the top-right corner of the client screen.
The main settings area is accessible from the main screen by clicking the gear icon just beside the “scan” button. Trend Micro has a lot of options for configuration, mostly with self-explanatory descriptions and extra help icons.
Trend Micro’s client is clean and simple, putting it in the same category as other user-friendly alternatives like AVG (see our AVG review).
Round Three Thoughts
Bitdefender and Trend Micro both have clients that are user-friendly, but Bitdefender has more customization for users and a slightly clearer design, making it the better option of the two.
When you’re looking to pay for antivirus protection, you’re not after something that is only 70 or 80 percent effective. You want the best protection available, or it isn’t worth the investment.
We’re going to use the reports from three independent security firms to see how well both Bitdefender and Trend Micro perform in real-world tests of their antivirus protection.
Bitdefender dipped a little in AV-Test’s May-June 2019 tests, but bounced back to the top in the most recent July-August 2019 testing. With nearly 100-percent effectiveness during July and August, Bitdefender scored 6 out of 6 overall for the quality of its protection, as well as for system performance.
Scores from AV-Comparatives’ February-May 2019 protection test were equally as impressive. Bitdefender blocked 751 out of 752 malware samples: a 99.9-percent success overall. It also performed well in a test of overall performance, with AV-Comparatives awarding Bitdefender its “Advanced+” award in both categories.
Our final lab, MRG Effitas continued this theme for Bitdefender, with 398 out of 398 samples blocked in Q2 2019 full-spectrum tests. This 100-percent success rate earned Bitdefender MRG Effitas’ Level 1 “certified” award, alongside Norton Antivirus (see our Bitdefender vs. Norton Antivirus comparison).
Trend Micro Antivirus+
There’s no disputing Trend Micro’s consistent AV-Test scores. Since 2013, Trend Micro has scored 6 out of 6 for protection on almost every occasion, with only a minor drop in February 2019. AV-Test’s July-August 2019 testing confirms this, with another 6 out of 6, and perfect 100-percent test scores during both months.
Performance tests were a little worse, with a steady 5.5 out of 6. This means that Trend Micro had a bigger impact on PC performance than the industry-average scores.
Trend Micro had mixed success in AV-Comparatives’ February-May 2019 test scores, with 749 out of 752 samples blocked. A 99.6-percent rate of success is a little worse than Bitdefender, but not by much.
However, AV-Comparatives reported a worrying 13 false positives, awarding Trend Micro with its mid-tier “advanced” award for protection, as a result. It also did poorly in performance testing, ranking 13th out of the 15 software tested.
MRG Effitas’ Q2 2019 full-spectrum tests put Trend Micro near the bottom, with only 94 percent of the 398 samples immediately blocked. Around five percent were blocked after retesting 24 hours later, but more than one percent were completely missed.
Although Trend Micro did better than other big providers like Avast, it was nowhere near the 100-percent success rate that MRG Effitas recorded for Bitdefender (see our Avast review).
Round Four Thoughts
Trend Micro had some good scores, but there’s no excusing the number of false positives and outright infections that these labs picked up in their testing. Bitdefender, on the other hand, had near-perfect scores across the board.
When things go wrong, you should have access to high-quality customer support. In this section we’re going to judge the quality of customer support from Bitdefender and Trend Micro.
Bitdefender has several offices across the globe, and that diversity is reflected in its support options. There are, for instance, 16 different phone lines situated in various continents.
Along with phone support, Bitdefender also offers 24/7 support over live chat or email. There’s a support forum to ask questions, which is monitored by Bitdefender staff as well as other customers.
Responses are quick and the forum is active, with customers and staff generally replying every few hours. Posts are separated by product as well as by language.
You can also take advantage of the knowledgebase that Bitdefender provides. It comes with simple, clear guides covering the most common issues. Guides come with images and videos in many cases to help you work through problems.
Trend Micro Antivirus+
Support for Trend Micro Antivirus+ and the other Trend Micro protection products are easily accessible from the “help and support” area of the Trend Micro website.
Everything is laid out in a very clear fashion, with support separated by product. If you need to speak to someone, you can scroll down to see options for social media outreach and more traditional forms of support, such as phone support.
Phone support during office hours is available in many countries, although some of the phone numbers are for the same location. For instance, the UK support line also covers Ireland and much of Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East.
If you need 24/7 support, this is available for U.S. and Canadian customers with the “ultimate service” bundle (which includes Trend Micro Maximum Security), but this will cost you extra.
There’s also live support over Facebook Messenger, available Monday through Friday. You can use the community forum, but this is simply a list of questions posted by users, making it hard to navigate or search through.
Round Five Thoughts
Good customer support can make all the difference, and Trend Micro has gone the extra mile. Although 24/7 support costs extra, the amount of support options (including Facebook Messenger) makes it easy for customers to resolve their issues.
However, Bitdefender can’t be faulted either, as it provides a better forum and 24/7 support. Overall, it’s a draw.
Bitdefender was always going to be a tough antivirus to beat. Trend Micro is a big player in the market, but it fell down where it counts, especially with mixed protection scores in recent tests.
Trend Micro proved competitive in certain areas like pricing, but Bitdefender simply offered more. The same cost, but with better discounts for new customers and far more features, makes Bitdefender the obvious winner here.
That’s not to say that Trend Micro is a bad option. It’s affordable and does a lot right, especially with so many customer support options, but Antivirus+ is probably worth a miss. If you really want a Trend Micro subscription, aim for the higher-tier Maximum Security instead.
If you want to spend your money wisely, though, our recommendation is Bitdefender. If you’re looking for something a little different, check out our antivirus reviews for further recommendations.
Do you use Trend Micro and disagree with our comparison? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading.