Trend Micro Antivirus Review
Trend Micro Antivirus+ is a cheap, tough alternative to other antivirus solutions. Though in testing it does occasionally drop the ball, regular users will probably appreciate it for its many strengths. Check our full Trend Micro Antivirus review for the details.
Trend Micro is an inexpensive antivirus offering that falls short of our best antivirus software, though it puts up a good fight in our hands-on testing and labs have treated it well in recent years. The core tenets are there and, for a cheap package, you can’t go wrong.
In this Trend Micro Antivirus+ review, we’ll compare the base plan to the more expensive Internet Security and Maximum Security plans. We’ll discuss features, pricing, user-friendliness, protection and support before giving our verdict.
We think Trend Micro is a broad antivirus that’ll appeal to families and individuals. The pricing is good, so you’ll get in cheap, but there’s a trade-off in performance, protection and features, even if it’s minor.
- Trend Micro Antivirus+
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- Bitdefender Antivirus★★★ Best Antivirus ★★★
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- Easy to use
- Lots of protection features
- Robust support system
- Solid lab results
- Few extra features
- PC-only on inexpensive plans
Features are scarce on Antivirus+, as this plan establishes the baseline protections on which all others are built. Still, there are a few non-security features that should make using your machine more convenient.
The first is “mute mode.” It stops non-critical notifications from interrupting work, games or movies. Trend Micro doesn’t remove the notifications completely, but delays them until you turn mute mode off.
The second, and last, is social media protection, which is more annoying than useful. Trend Micro will show a green check mark next to safe links it finds on Facebook and Twitter. Common sense should handle that task better, though, considering the feature slows any website down to a crawl.
Other features focus on security. You get ransomware protection, real-time scanning and web filtering. There’s also a comprehensive list of email and network protections, so Trend Micro can fish out phishes.
Trend Micro’s Paid Features
Internet Security and Maximum Security have a better list of features. Even though these features are hidden behind a paywall, the core protection is the same, which is something from Trend Micro’s lineup that we like a lot.
Internet Security comes with parental controls and a system optimizer that functions like CCleaner. The premium is mainly for the two extra devices you can secure, though. We would expect some sort of file shredder at this tier, as well, but Trend Micro doesn’t include one.
For features and practicality, Maximum Security is the best value. You get all the features from previous versions, plus mobile support and up to 10 protected devices. Trend Micro includes its password manager, which is decent, but doesn’t hold a candle to the best password managers, such as Dashlane (read our Dashlane review).
You also get a secure browser, but Avast’s Secure Browser is free (read our Avast Pro review).
Even so, we’re giving a high rating for this section. Trend Micro has a good variety of protection features that span all plans, with the difference between them coming down to device count and operating system support. While there aren’t as many goodies, the relevant features are included which is more than some antiviruses can say.
Trend Micro Features Overview
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
This review is focused on the inexpensive [url id=Antivirus+ plan from Trend Micro, but the plan isn’t the best choice for everyone. As such, we’ll run down the other offerings for home use.
Antivirus+ is the perfect plan for protecting a single Windows machine. It’s the same price as Norton Basic (read our Norton Security review) and comes with basic antivirus, ransomware protection and a phishing filter.
Internet Security bumps the device count to three, but is still restricted to Windows. The plan is best suited for families with a couple of PCs floating around the house. You get extra features such as private social media access, parental filtering and system optimization.
None of these features change much about the core antivirus, which is something we like. Trend Micro doesn’t hide extra protection behind a paywall, instead it optimizes each plan to fit a particular market.
Trend Micro Maximum Security
Maximum Security doesn’t change your level of protection, but adds to the list of features. You get support for up to 10 devices across Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The plan is good for families, as well, but a solid choice for anyone with cohabitating operating systems.
Outside of the wider range of devices you can protect, you get a password manager. As noted above, the password manage is good, but not great, as many bundled managers are. The feature set aligns with McAfee Total Protection (read our McAfee Total Protection review), though the device count is lower for the base rate.
While not cheap enough to make you click away and purchase Trend Micro immediately, prices are still good. Antivirus+ is the rate we’d expect, with the higher-tier Maximum Security at a slight discount compared to the competition.
Trend Micro is a lightweight antivirus. The installer is larger than Webroot (read our Webroot review), but not the half-gigabyte package from Norton.
Installation had some issues, though. Naturally, during the course of testing different antiviruses, we’ve installed and uninstalled many software programs. Trend Micro doesn’t play nice with the remnants, forcing us to take a long run through the registry to clear the system of any hint of another antivirus.
It’s unlikely you’ve tested as many antiviruses as we have, so we can’t say this issue will pop up for you. If you’re switching from another program, though, make sure all traces of it are gone before attempting installation.
Once installed, Trend Micro runs a quick scan of your machine, setting a baseline for your files. Further scans are carried out with the giant “scan” button in the middle of the UI or, rather, the tiny down arrow next to it.
Clicking there will bring up the three scan modes. There are quick, full and custom scans, the last of which can go down to the folder level.
You can set a scheduled scan by clicking the gear icon to the right of the down arrow. We wanted the placement to be more at the top of the UI, but that’s splitting hairs. Scans can run daily, weekly or monthly. Scheduled scans can only be full or quick, though.
You’ll also find security settings and exception lists in the settings menu. Trend Micro has a good variety of options without overwhelming the interface. All other settings, such as password protection and start-up security, can be found by clicking “other settings” at the bottom of the window.
You can also set your own background for the interface, which is a neat, but unnecessary, feature.
The main interface has four buttons at the top for frequently accessed settings. Between the four, you can configure real-time monitoring, set up the annoying social media protection and set the folders targeted for ransomware protection.
Overall, the UI is clean without sacrificing usability. It isn’t the customizable behemoth that Bitdefender is but still an easy-to-use system that doesn’t trade away power.
We use lab results and hands-on testing to evaluate the effectiveness of an antivirus. Our testing methods are rudimentary compared to the labs, running through known exploits to test the basics of a software program. Because of that, we put more weight put on lab results for our overall score.
Trend Micro blocked five of the six tests in the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization’s feature settings check for desktop antiviruses. It failed the phishing test, so we tried recent URLs from PhishTank to investigate further.
It blocked four of the 10 samples used, which is poor performance, but still better than Sophos Home (read our Sophos Home review).
The three labs we reference in our reviews tested more expensive versions of Trend Micro, with AV-Test and AV-Comparatives looking at Internet Security and MRG Effitas testing Maximum Security.
That said, the protection level is the same no matter what plan you choose.
AV-Test reports excellent scores for Internet Security with 100 percent blockage against zero-day malware attacks and samples found in the wild throughout its May and June evaluation. Overall, Trend Micro received 17 out of 18 possible points, stumbling in performance and usability.
Internet Security caused a 5 to 10 percent slowdown over the industry average for launching popular websites and installing frequently used applications. It gave a total of two false positives, which is more than the industry average, but less than F-Secure (read our F-Secure Antivirus review).
AV-Comparatives noted similar protection rates, with 100 percent blockage between February and June, but more false positives. It gave anywhere from two to 13 false positives in tests with around 200 samples, earning two out of three stars.
The latest performance results from AV-Comparatives rate it as “standard,” the second to last tier. Note that the February to June evaluation of the software and the performance tests were done separately.
Poor MRG Effitas Results
MRG Effitas doesn’t have the same results. Trend Micro put up pitiful scores in its Q1 2018 full spectrum analysis. Maximum Security’s automatic block rate was only 75.5 percent, missing 8.3 percent of all samples tested. Out of three possible grades, Trend Micro failed MRG Effitas’s latest certification.
Usually labs more or less agree with findings on a particular antivirus. MRG Effitas is harsher than most, while AV-Test is more forgiving. With such a wide gap between the labs, though, the results require explanations.
We’re not completely sure why MRG Effitas saw such poor performance from Trend Micro, but, if we had to guess, it’s probably because of how recent the samples were. Trend Micro uses machine learning, which means it gathers data about previous exploits and applies that information to protect against future ones.
Trend Micro had a poor performance against that set of samples. Going back to the Q4 2017 test, Trend Micro gained a Level 2 certification, meaning it detected and neutralized, at least, 98 percent of threats. It passed with the same certification in the Q3 and Q1 tests, as well.
What we gather from all this data is that Trend Micro has good, but not great, performance. It’s less effective than the ultra-secure Bitdefender (read our Bitdefender Antivirus review), but puts up good results in most tests.
Trend Micro’s support system condenses all possible resources for support into an easy-to-navigate interface. You get a general help center with FAQs, downloads, manuals and video tutorials, a knowledgebase for more intensive topics and a forum for shooting the breeze about desktop antiviruses.
There’s live chat, phone and email support on top of that, too.
The knowledgebase is broken up by product, showing the most popular topics in the FAQ. Instead of articles, Trend Micro uses a list of collapsible answers, so you can quickly scroll to what you’re looking for.
Separate from that, there are video tutorials, downloads and product guides. The topics are less focused on technical issues and more on using Trend Micro, though. For example, video tutorials show you how to optimize your performance and enable features in your interface. The product guides cover the same topics, just in one spot.
The last area of DIY support is the forum. It’s not as clean as the rest of the support system, with a long, disorganized list of topics. There’s a “categories” tab, but it seems some topics have slipped through the cracks.
Our main complaint about the forum is that it’s not chronological. While writing this review, we saw topics that were anywhere from a couple of hours to over a year old on the homepage. Trend Micro organizes the topics by reply, which makes finding the most recent and relevant information difficult.
Trend Micro’s Direct Support
The three major forms of support are available: live chat, phone and email. Trend Micro promises a response to email inquiries in 24-48 hours. When we sent a test question, they got back to us in a little over a day, bearing that out.
Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST. It only covers North America, though. Trend Micro offers an Ultimate Service bundle, which includes Maximum Security for up to five devices and an extended support plan.
The $30 premium gets you 24/7 access to support in six countries, home network support, unlimited virus removal and unlimited PC security health checkups. Overall, considering Maximum Security is bundled into the rate, Ultimate Service is worth the price.
Live chat is strange because Trend Micro carries it out over Facebook. The service is available Monday through Friday from 2-11 p.m. PST. Trend Micro uses an automated response when you first message the account, but there is a real person answering questions.
Trend Micro’s support system is among the best we’ve seen from any antivirus. All contact routes are covered with a unique system of live chat and every DIY avenue we could want.
Forum organization is sloppy, but, overall, we have no complaints.
Trend Micro is a good budget antivirus. It covers all areas of protection well, based on lab results and our hands-on testing. MRG Effitas didn’t find it effective in its latest test, but the history shows good, but not excellent, performance.
For the price, number of devices and operating systems supported, we recommend Maximum Security over Antivirus+. You get a lot more features for not much more coin. Even so, the core tenets of protection are the same no matter what plan you choose.
If you’re looking for something with a different feature set, make sure to read our other antivirus reviews.
Let us know your thoughts on Trend Micro in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.