12
Sep
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Trend Micro, the company that "Secures Your Journey To The Cloud" with an extensive line of security products for home and business, also offers a mobile security solution for Android users, called simply Mobile Security Personal Edition. This app is what we'll be discussing in the thirteenth installment of our Mobile Security App Shootout.

At A Glance

Within Trend Micro's security app we find another smoothly designed, well functioning security solution that sets up quickly and is exceedingly easy to use. The phone app has a nice set of features, but the real practicality in Mobile Security Personal Edition is its loss/theft protection. The app gives you a 30-day full-featured trial, after which protection will cost you $29.99/year.

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One big plus for me is the fact that MSPE supports multiple devices, including tablets. The device-side app itself doesn't quite scale to tablet resolutions, but the support is impressive and features still work deftly on your Honeycomb device. However, one thing that is lacking with Mobile Security Personal Edition is feature richness. The app ably performs all the commands it sets out to, but there could be many more features that we've seen in other apps.

App Features

Besides the app's online control panel, several security options are available on the device side of things. Before getting into those, however, I want to point out that a major irritant for me is the fact that MSPE leaves a notification icon in the task bar at all times. I couldn't find a way to make it disappear, and this would immediately alert a thief that you might be tracking their new bounty. For a clever thief this is also an indication to hurry up and remove admin rights for the app and uninstall it.

Back to the app features, MSPE's device-side app contains a handy app scanner which checks all your apps for malware, as well as scanning each newly downloaded app as it is installed. This means you'll never have to worry whether or not an app downloaded outside the Market (say, from the browser) is infected with malware, as Trend Micro has you covered.

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Next is MSPE's Surf, Call, and Text Security, which allows the user to enable safe surfing, parental controls (website blocking), and call or text blocking based on phone numbers. Personally I like the inclusion of call/text blocking because I can easily block suspicious/telemarketing numbers and never have to see them appear on my screen.

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Otherwise, the device side app offers the ability to toggle various protection options, and has a detailed explanation of remote security features. This seems like a bad inclusion, though, because your device's captor can then find out what to expect from the app.

Online Features

Like many other apps featured in the Roundup thus far, MSPE features the ability to control your device using an online control panel, which shares the refined styling of the device-side app and has very intuitive controls that do what you want with just one click. First up is location, which is triggered immediately after you load the control panel. The great part about this is that it will switch on your device's GPS if it has been turned off.

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Next up are some familiar features. First is the scream function, which causes a full-volume alarm-like beeping sound that continues until the user touches the device screen.

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The lock feature is familiar but Trend Micro has added a special twist: the user's email address is displayed on screen with a friendly note asking the thief (or random passerby) of your device to contact you and return the device to your loving hands. The device is then only unlockable using your Trend Micro account password.

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Finally we have the wipe feature, which will wipe all user data from the device. The console warns up front that the app will not survive a data wipe, and your device will be left vulnerable after using this last-ditch option.

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Final Thoughts

Trend Micro's Mobile Security Personal Edition is a strong app in terms of functionality, interface, and design, but it makes itself very obvious on your device, and is fairly easy to get rid of. I want to say that I really like this app, but its lack of features and ease of uninstallation keep me from considering it as an everyday solution when there are better, cheaper options out there.

Pros

  • Trial Functionality - The user gets 30 days of full-featured protection, after which the app costs $29.99/year
  • Ease of Use/Interface - MSPE has a really strong interface that is clean and well-designed. Using its features couldn't be easier.
  • Support for Multiple Devices - The user can add as many devices as desired.
  • Support for Tablets - All features work perfectly on tablets as well as phones, which is a huge plus.

Cons

  • Price - $29.99/year isn't that bad, but there are definitely cheaper options that have more features.
  • No Root Presence - A data wipe will kill the app, leaving your device vulnerable.
  • No SMS Support - Unfortunately if data or Wi-Fi isn't connected, your phone is vulnerable when lost or stolen, as the app doesn't accept SMS commands.
  • There Could Be More - The features MSPE provides are strong and work well, but there could definitely be more than 4 remote security options on the control panel. Especially for a subscription-based app.

In the end, Mobile Security Personal Edition is an alright solution for those who want reliable, functional protection without many frills, and who are willing to pay a yearly fee. In the grand scheme of things the fee isn't very high, but I can't help but think about cheaper alternatives that have the same - or more - features.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

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