1. Computing

Bitdefender Sphere

Overall Impression

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

By

Home users often have a range of mixed computing devices, from PCs to Macs, to smartphones and tablets. This wider range of devices makes applying antivirus software and security protection a more costly endeavor. Bitdefender Sphere helps solve that problem by securing an unlimited number of Windows, Mac, and Android devices for up to 3 users within a single home. It's not just hardware and software protection either. Credit monitoring and Bitdefender's specialized social networking security for Twitter and Facebook extend the protection so users themselves are also protected.

Holistic Home User Protection

Home users are increasingly being cast in the role of IT security experts. Quite often, there are multiple devices and operating systems to contend with, from PCs to Macs to smartphones and tablets. Bitdefender Sphere protects all of these devices from malware and online threats, with specialized features for specific devices.

For Android-based smartphones and tablets, Bitdefender Sphere includes Bitdefender Mobile Security which, in addition to malware protection, provides remote lock and/or wipe in the event your smartphone or tablet is lost or stolen. The feature can also help home users remotely find their mobile device in the event its been misplaced.

For PC users, Bitdefender Sphere includes Bitdefender Total Security (a beefed up version of Bitdefender Internet Security) which extends its highly capable anti-malware protection to include free 24/7 credit monitoring, parental controls to keep your children safe online, cloud backup to safeguard important files, and utilities to streamline system performance and speed. Other features include a two-way firewall, a vulnerability scanner, rescue mode, virtual browsing, file shredder, file encryption, and a gamer / presentation mode dubbed Autopilot.

For Mac users, Bitdefender Sphere includes Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac which guards against both Mac and Windows malware that could otherwise pose a downstream risk to other users in your household. Additionally, phishing filters guard Mac users against websites that attempt to steal your online banking or credit card credentials.

Malware Detection and Removal

When choosing an antivirus solution there is no more important criteria than the antivirus software's ability to detect and remove viruses and other forms of malware. After all, if it cannot perform well in this core function, what is the point in using the product?

Bitdefender shines in this area - their antimalare products have historically and consistently been a top performer in independent malware detection and removal tests from AV-Comparatives, AV-Test.org, Virus Bulletin, and others. Indeed, while some vendors may boast of historically strong results with a single testing agency, Bitdefender is among a very few elite antivirus vendors that can boast of superlative results across the board, from all testing agencies.

System Requirements

Products Included in Bitdefender Sphere: Bitdefender Total Security 2012, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, and Bitdefender Mobile Security.

For PC users, Bitdefender Sphere protects the following operating systems: Microsoft Windows XP SP3 (32 bit) , Vista (SP2), Microsoft Windows 7 (SP1). For smartphones and tablets, Bitdefender Sphere protects devices running Android v2.2 or later. Intel-based Macs running the following operating systems are also supported: Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.6 or later), Mac OS X Leopard (10.5 or later), Mac S X Snow Leopard (10.6 or later), Mac OS X Lion (10.7 or later).

Pricing and Support

Bitdefender Sphere is competitively priced at $99.95 (USD) as you're essentially getting three full products which separately would retail for about $160 USD. The Bitdefender Sphere license is good for up to 3 users within a single household and on unlimited devices within that household. Bitdefender Sphere is aimed at today's modern home environment where multiple PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets are the norm.

Bottom line, if you only have one or two devices to protect then Bitdefender Sphere may not be the most cost effective option. But for those of us with multiple devices to protect, Bitdefender Sphere represents a substantial savings compared to traditional antimalware offerings. And with Bitdefender's best-in-class malware detection and removal abilities, you won't be sacrificing protection for the sake of price or convenience. Sometimes, you really can have your cake and eat it too.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.