ESET has been a popular and longstanding system protection provider for many years. Their antivirus software product, NOD32 Antivirus, is well known and used today by many computer users. We do an in-depth ESET NOD32 Antivirus review in this post.
ESET is an internet cybersecurity company founded and headquartered in Bratislava, Slovakia. It has provided antivirus and firewall software since 1992 to customers around the world. Due to the international nature of its operations, ESET may be less well known in the United States than other antivirus software companies, such as MacAfee and Norton.
About ESET NOD32 Antivirus
ESET provides several antivirus security solutions to its customers. ESET NOD32 Antivirus is an entry-level product for customers to secure their PCs from online threats.
Many independent testing labs have ranked ESET NOD32 Antivirus highly in comparison to other well-known brands.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus Capabilities
- Anti-spam features
- Gamer mode
- Exploit blocker
- UEFI scanner
- Cloud-powered scanning
- Secure password storage
- Small system footprint
- Script-based attack protection
- Ransomware shield
- Webcam protection
- Free support in your preferred language
- License manager
- Scan downloads
ESET NOD32 Antivirus Installation
ESET NOD32 Antivirus installs very quickly. It installed on our test PC in just a few minutes. Just clicking “install” on their website will start the download process.
For more information, read ESET NOD32 Antivirus installation here.
GUI / Interface
ESET NOD32 Antivirus has a very easy-to-use interface, with only a few clear selections to choose from. The left-hand menu covers all important aspects of the program at your fingertips.
One important benefit of ESET NOD32 is that all major functions are at most two clicks away from the main screen. Some antivirus software falls prey to too much clutter and deep clicking needed to reach its advanced options. Not this one.
NOD32 Main Program Window
The main program window has the image of a white and blue android next to a protection status indicator. If your system is in good shape, the main visual indicator will be green in color with a checkmark. This will turn yellow or red if there is a problem and you need to take action.
The left side menu has the following choices:
- Computer Scan
- Help and Support
The main program window is clearly designed and allows you to start a system scan quickly.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus / Anti-Malware Protection
ESET provides a solid level of protection against viruses and malware.
Multi-Layer Malware Protection
ESET NOD32 Antivirus features three layers of malware detection and protection:
- Behavioral monitoring
- Signature matching
- Online analysis of new files
LiveGrid Malware Collection
The company provides the option of participating in its online malware sample collection program. This is called LiveGrid and is used to improve malware detection capabilities for all of ESET’s users. LiveGrid uses code that users submit and analyzes them to improve ESET products and provide custom updates. You can join or leave at any time.
Host-based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS)
HIPS is for advanced users. It can learn from your PC using machine learning to optimize its system protection. This is a powerful behavioral anti-malware capability. This option can be turned on or off at any time.
Custom scans can be run that cover specific drives and folders. There is also a Removable Media Scan that reviews USB, DVD, CD, and SD cards for threats.
ESET NOD32 can also check email attachments and those that are in the midst of downloading.
Missing Security Features
Two important features are missing from ESET NOD32 that other information security products include:
- ESET NOD32 does not include a VPN. A VPN can play a significant role in keeping users’ information safe by hiding their IP address when they use the Internet. You will have to buy another VPN product if you want a private network.
- ESET NOD32 also lacks its own firewall. It uses Microsoft’s Windows Defender which you have to manage elsewhere.
These two features may or may not be valuable to you. If they are, then we recommend another product like Norton. If not, then ESET NOD32 is a solid choice.
NOD32 Antivirus Gamer’s Mode will temporarily stop unimportant alerts and updates so that you can run your favorite games without distractions or system slow down.
ESET NOD32 includes a detailed scheduler. NOD32’s scheduler allows for setting daily or weekly scans of your whole system or a single drive. Our one complaint is it can be a bit complex to setup.
NOD32’s Tools selection is very broad and contains the following:
- Log files
- Running Processes
- Security Report
- Watch Activity
- ESET SysInspector
- ESET SysRescue Live
- System Cleaner
- Submit Sample for Analysis
ESET SysRescue and SysInspector
This is a live bootable disc image you can download and install from a provided link. This can be used via a CD or thumb drive to perform a system refresh.
SysInspector shows a list of all running processes and their level of danger.
ESET NOD32 includes the ability to manually or automatically update the software. This feature is very easy to use and simple to find in the clean UI design.
ESET NOD32 Support
There is email, online and phone support provided. However, Support only runs Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PSA.
ESET also has a user forum you can view to find answers to issues.
Our ESET NOD32 Antivirus Test
We ran a scan test of ESET NOD32 on our standard mid-range antivirus test PC with these specifications:
- Desktop PC Model: HP Pavilion 595
- Processor: 8th generation Intel Core I5-8400
- RAM: 12 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM Memory
- Hard Drive: 1 TB 7200 RPM HD, 128 GB PCIe Solid State Drive
- Video Card: Intel UHD Graphics 630
- Operating System: Windows 10
- Software: Microsoft Office, Google Chrome, included pre-installed software on the system.
- File types: xls, txt, doc, mp3, mp4, jpeg, jpg, bmp, png, pdf, docx, exe, wav, wma, bat
- Average file size: 4.4 MB
ESET NOD32 Test Scan Performance
A regular scan for viruses and malware took 33 minutes, 34 seconds on our system.
Total objects scanned: 42,2019
A Removeable Media scan took 4 seconds to complete.
Total objects scanned: 257
A Custom scan only on the documents folder took 3 seconds.
Total files scanned: 157
PROS of ESET NOD32 Antivirus
- Clean and straightforward user interface
- Highly rated reviews in independent tests
- Good variety of plans
- State-of-the-art malware detection
- No drain on computer speed
- Easy installation
- Only necessary notifications
- Malware and Anti-Phishing Protection
- Good enough for Google to use for its Chrome browser
- Easy to learn how to use
CONS of ESET NOD32 Antivirus
- Average malware protection
- Few useful extra features
- Provides basic Windows protection
- No 24-Hour Tech Support
- ESET Upgrades can get expensive quickly
- No VPN
- No Firewall
- No Automatic Backup
- No File Shredder
- No Automatic Database Update
ESET NOD32 Antivirus Review Summary
ESET NOD32 Antivirus provides strong malware and antivirus protection. Installation is easy and fast, and it has quick scanning. An additional self-configuring firewall helps protect from online threats that may come through your internet connection.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus provides somewhat average system protection against rogue software. But the software is easy to use and requires few system resources to operate, making it a good overall value for most users.