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Paid Anti-virus Programs

ESET NOD32: The Review

ESET is a well-known cybersecurity firm based in Bratislava - actually, it was considered Slovakia's most successful company for three years in a row.

They have a great track record, with their main product ESET NOD32 Antivirus the antivirus program of choice for over 100 million people.

ESET NOD32 is available for Windows 10,8, 7, and Vista. As of 2021, it also operates on Mac and Linux systems.

For $39.99 a year, you're promised top-notch protection against viruses, spyware, ransomware, and all other common forms of malware.

But how does ESET NOD32 stack up in the crowded antivirus playing field of 2021? In this post, we're going to take a comprehensive look at the program in an effort to answer just that.


First, the features you're guaranteed with ESET NOD32 Antivirus are:

  • Access to a large, cloud-based file reputation service (in other words, a database) that will monitor your system for known virus signatures. Effective against zero-day attacks
  • The ability to perform targeted scans - great if you have an idea where on your computer the problem might be located and want to save on time and processing power
  • Advanced features like device control (which monitors connected devices such as USB sticks or Bluetooth)
  • A web module, compatible with various browsers, that provides protection against malicious sites with ransomware and phishing attacks
  • A Host Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS) to block external exploits
  • Built-in webcam protection
  • An incredible degree of customizability
  • Installation and setup

    To install ESET NOD32, you'll first need to purchase it, which you can do here. Alternatively, you can opt for a 30-day free trial. In both cases, you will need to enter a valid e-mail address and your country of residence in order to install the program.

    Next, you can choose to activate ESET's LiveGrid® Feedback system, which will add information about novel threats you may encounter to the cloud.

    When it comes to "potentially unwanted applications" (PUAs), you can decide whether you want the program to simply notify you of them or remove them automatically.

    Finally, you can choose whether or not to participate in a customer experience improvement program that will collect data about how you use the program.

    After this, the installation should go pretty rapidly, and the program will perform an automatic, first-time scan.

    User Interface

    ESET NOD32 is a bit more difficult to navigate than other antivirus programs. On the left sidebar, you have buttons labeled Home, Computer Scan, Update, Tools, Setup, and Help and Support.

    Under the Computer Scan section, you can initiate a full system scan or a targeted scan of select drives or folders.

    Update will allow you to download updates for the software from ESET.

    Tools is the more complicated section that has a lot of advanced features.

    Setup can be used to install features you don't have enabled, while Help and Support will lead you either to ESET's "Knowledge Database" where you can search up answers for questions, or a page where you can submit a ticket for genuine human contact and help.

    What ESET NOD32 Offers

    ESET Nod32 offers a highly-focused piece of software that does its main job - protecting your computer from malware - incredibly well. As of 2021, it also includes a password manager and some other features it previously lacked.

    Its high degree of customizability will be very attractive to advanced users, but the user interface is not so overwhelming that newbies won't have any idea what they're doing, either (besides the "Tools" section, maybe).

    What ESET NOD32 Does Not Offer

    ESET NOD32 does lack some features you'd see available in comparable programs: for instance, a VPN or file shredder. It also lacks a quick scan feature, though the ability to target specific folders makes up for that somewhat.

    Again, what you're getting here is a highly-focused piece of software.

    This prompts the question: just how well does it do its job? To answer that, we need to look at the lab tests.

    Lab Tests

    Independent testing lab AV-Comparatives found ESET NOD32 was able to detect 98.5% of all malware it was exposed to. Later in the year, it detected 99 % of malware.

    SE Labs ranked ESET NOD32 at 3rd out of 13 other antivirus programs in its ability to intercept malware.

    This software also received MRG-Effitas level 2 certification, meaning, while it missed a few pieces of malware initially, it was able to correct this error and removed them within 24 hours. This test gives a good demonstration of its adaptive ability.

    Overall, ESET's flagship program is just about as effective as those of industry leaders like Norton or Kaspersky.

    Before we reach our final verdict, let's summarize ESET NOD32's value and performance with some pros and cons.


    1. High degree of customizability, a definite pro for users who know the ins-and-outs of antivirus software.

    2.Statistically high malware interception rate (around 98 - 99 %.

    3. Has a very minimal system impact - only utilizing around 100 MB of RAM when not in use - meaning you won't see any drops in performance.

    4. Inexpensive at only $39.99 per device per year, with a discounted scaling system if you need protection for more devices.

    5. A web protection module that is compatible with more than one browser - many other antivirus web modules are compatible with only one browser.

    6. Single-license sale - you can use it on one computer and not have to pay the cost for extra licenses you're not using.


    1. A highly-focused program that concentrates solely on protection from malware. Has advanced features in this category, but lacks things like a VPN or file shredder that come with other programs.

    2. Advanced features may be overly-complicated for inexperienced users; however, they can simply be ignored.

    3. Lacks a firewall, for which you'll need ESET Internet Security, a separate product.

    Final Verdict

    There are two main perks to using ESET NOD32 over other antivirus programs: first, that it's highly customizable and, second, that it uses a relatively small amount of space so is less likely to interfere with other things you want to do on your computer.

    The high degree of customizability is there if you want it - if you just want excellent protection from malware, that's easy enough to manage even for inexperienced users.

    Overall, we would highly recommend this software - it has a proven track record and is very effective at protecting systems from the dangers of the Internet and, at the end of the day, this is what counts for most people.