We talked a little bit about Bitdefender's new antivirus offering earlier today in our giveaway post, but now we want to dive a little deeper into the app and explain what makes it good, how it differs from Bitdefender's paid mobile security service, and how it compares to similar antivirus offerings.

The first question you may have is "since Bitdefender's Mobile Security app was already free(mium), why release this?" That answer is actually pretty simple: as of today, the model for Mobile Security has changed to a trial period-only. Basically, you can try the full suite for two weeks, and after that are presented with the option to buy. If you elect not to buy the full app, it simply stops working. However – you can get Antivirus Free for, well, free. It offers the most basic protection in the Bitdefender family – but that doesn't mean it isn't a useful, powerful application. Basically, if you're worried about viruses on Android, Bitdefender Free is a great way to gain some peace of mind and keep would-be threats at bay.

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But what makes it different from other Android antivirus applications? Well, the primary difference is the way it handles scanning. Most antivirus apps download virus signatures and keep them stored directly on the device; AV Free, however, keeps these signatures in the cloud. Basically, this leads to faster scanning, improved accuracy (so snafus like this recent AVG/Nova Launcher one don't happen), and almost zero impact on battery life. Booyah.

It also features a real-time scanner called Autopilot that monitors all installed apps as they come in (as well as an option for internal storage/SD card contents). This takes care of any potential problems before they can become actual problems. In our tests, this worked very well – it detected the test virus within seconds of it hitting the device.

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Not everything is done on-the-fly, though – you can also call up the scanner whenever you please and run it on demand. And with the virus signatures in the cloud, it's always up-to-date. Since none of these features require any sort of setup, Bitdefender Antivirus Free is one of the simplest antiviruses we've ever used.

Combine all this with its intuitive color coding system for device status (Green: all is well, Yellow: non-critical issues have been found, Red: critical issues have been found and require immediate attention) and "set and forget" nature, and what you have is a great way to keep your device free from malicious software without negatively affecting performance or battery life. And if you find that additional protection is something you'd like, don't sweat it – the full Mobile Security suite is just a tap away in the settings menu.

  • Jason Banich

    I scanned my phone, Bitdefender seems to think DroidSheep is a malicious app. I mean... its not malicious to me... I don't need to be told my device is unsafe because of that.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Avast does the same thing for a few network/root apps I have installed that I know are not malicious to me. There doesn't seem to be a way in Avast to turn off the false positive. Can you in BD?

      • Jason Banich

        There look to be roughly 0 options for Bitdefender whatsoever, so no, you can't hide false positives :/

      • http://www.allinbound.ro/ Alin Vlad

        These grey-zone apps can be used as hack tools or installed on someone's phone without their knowledge. This is why we decided to keep detecting them". And I agree: if you're an advanced user, there's no harm in being told about those, but if
        you're a normal user, better safe than sorry :)

        Second, to access AV Free's (few) settings, tap your menu
        button on the main screen.

        • Jason Banich

          I mean, I figured out how to access the settings, but there are zero settings that actually do anything useful, like clear an app as a false positive.

    • http://www.allinbound.ro/ Alin Vlad

      Since it's an app that can be used to capture facebook, twitter, linkedin and other accounts data, we cannot clasify it as safe.

  • BlueAce127

    BitDefender is one of the better antivirus softwares on PC. Looks the same on mobile.

    • http://www.allinbound.ro/ Alin Vlad

      Thank you for the kind words.

  • http://twitter.com/SportsAndTV Brian Pearcy

    am I the only one that remembers what the podcast says about these kind of apps?

    • ragflan

      Did you miss the word 'sponsored' in the title of the post?

  • Guest

    I'd like for you guys to

  • sixty-four

    This seems counter-intuitive to me:

    "AV Free, however, keeps these signatures in the cloud. Basically, this
    leads to faster scanning, improved accuracy [...snip...], and almost zero impact on battery life."

    I get the "improved accuracy" but how would this approach be faster and more power-efficient if data retrieval from "the cloud" has to occur for each scan?

    Just wondering.

    • http://www.allinbound.ro/ Alin Vlad

      Instead of downloading and storing virus signatures directly to Android devices, Bitdefender Antivirus Free uses in-the-cloud services to check online for the latest safeguards to outbreaks.

      This not only results in super-fast scans, but in close to zero impact on battery life and device performance.

  • Andras Kosa

    Slow as the desktop variants. Not so battery friendly as other apps. Try TrustGo Security. It is free and you'll have a pleasant surprise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/parsuwanath Parsuwanath Jain

    Bitdefender best anti virus !!!!

    • http://www.allinbound.ro/ Alin Vlad

      Thank you.

  • SC

    I don't really understand the "signatures in the cloud" scan.

    1. Does that mean I've to connect to the web whenever it's scanning?

    2. Does that mean my (at least, some) data is uploaded to some servers for scanning?

    I'm a bit confused.

    Thank you.