Android App Review: Bitdefender Mobile Security

The folks at Bitdefender were kind enough to bribe supply me with a courtesy code to test their Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus (free+) app (homepage here), in exchange for a review of their app.

Bitdefender for Android

This is quite fortunate, because I’ve heard a lot of good praise for Bitdefender products among “those who know,” and wanted a reason to test/use their stuff. Of course, I’m currently a Lookout guy, but I can always be bought persuaded to change.

For me, security is security. You’re not going to need security, until you need security. Then it’s too late. Like every good security app, Bitdefender keeps its mouth shut, unless otherwise directed.

The app is easy to install and contains all of the core functions, such as malware/virus scanning and application auditing.

Bitdefender for Android Home Screen

There is a premium version of the app ($9.99 per year) that unlocks several other features like anti-theft (remote wipe and locate) and web security. Obviously, I got the fully-juiced version to test. Truthfully, I wish the two premium features of remote wipe and locate were included in the free app, but for $9.99 per year, I think that’s a steal (Lookout has a $2.99 per month plan).

I was impressed by how quickly the program executed the virus/malware scan, in approximately 20 seconds (tested on my HTC Droid DNA with 355 total apps). This was a lot faster than my Lookout scan, which took approximately 200 seconds. Admittedly, Lookout seemed to perform a more thorough scan of the apps installed on my device, while Bitdefender seemed to only scan my downloaded apps on a very high level. I’m not sure what Bitdefender’s scanning criteria is, but if it will scan my apps and keep me safe, I’m happy.

Bitdefender Scan

One sort-of flaw with the app, depending on how you view it, is that Bitdefender requires an active internet connection before executing a scan. I assume that it’s beaming its requests to the “mothership,” prior to executing the sweep. This also probably helps conserve some crucial system resources, rather than becoming a constant drain even when unneeded.

I believe every security app should have a “locate my device” feature built-in. Bitdefender charges a (nominal) premium for this feature, which is unfortunate, because Lookout offers the locate feature in its free app. You’ll want Bitdefender’s Anti-Theft app to add this location feature. You can purchase the upgrade at Bitdefender’s site.

Bitdefender Cost

Your Premium subscription will also grant you access to the My.Bitdefender.com site.

Bitdefender

My Bitdefender is where you can log in to track your device, set off remote wipe, lock your device, or send a screaming signal and message.

The message option is pretty cool, and actually lets you send longer strings of information, in case the unsightly fellow who knicked (I’ve been watching too much Downton Abbey and James Bond) your device wants to call you back.

Locating my device from the site took a little time (probably 5 minutes), but I attribute that to being indoors and in a near-concrete bunker.

Bitdefender Location

I’m okay with this length of time because the Bitdefender app placed my phone within 100 feet of its true location (I’m in suite H), whereas Lookout is going to make me walk a mile to try and find my device.

Lookout Mobile Missing Device

Of course, it may be somewhere else in the general 1 mile vicinity. No thanks. Note: I ran a second test at home and both systems correctly pinpointed my phone. Also, although Lookout offers a satellite view of the vicinity, Bitdefender gives the address, which I kind of prefer – it’s “sixes.” That satellite/map view is a simple retooling of the website, which I’ll urge Bitdefender to correct.

Overall, I’m quite satisfied with the Bitdefender Mobile Security app. I’m pleased with the cost of the premium service, though I do have my wish to have the locate feature included in the free app. I’m giving the Bitdefender Mobile Security app, 4 of 5 stars, and I’m switching my mobile protection service from Lookout. Bitdefender advertises a great service with a limited drain on system resources, and it doesn’t disappoint.

There are a couple additional features you’ll want to check out, such as Twitter and Facebook protection and Parental Controls. You can also use another “trusted device” to locate your device via SMS commands, should the need arise.

Don’t go around with an unprotected device, and Bitdefender offers your an appropriate level of protection.

As always, although I received the premium app for free, this did not effect my perception of this app. These opinions and recommendations expressed in this post are my own. Well designed apps, products, or services, get much deserved praise.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.