Trend Micro Maximum Security Review
Trend Micro Maximum Security isn’t one of the best antivirus options right now. It has lots of great features, but they’re rarely best-in-class. The biggest issue, however, is that it was outperformed by free alternatives such as Microsoft Defender when it came to handling live malware.
- Useful range of security and performance optimisation tools
- Steep renewal fees
- Lacks webcam protection
- Password managerGenerate, save and auto-fill secure password via browser extensions
- Gaming modeCeases notifications and CPU-intensive activity when a game or application runs at full screen
- Protected browserProtected browser mode for secure online banking and purchases
- Parental controlsProvides content filtering, app restrictions, time limits for younger members of the household
Trend Micro is best known for its enterprise endpoint protection, and there are shades of that in some of its consumer features, such as an optional monthly email report of your security status.
Bear in mind when subscribing that Maximum Security has a steep renewal fee, and that you’ll have to manually opt out of auto-renewals. Core protection tools provide real-time and on-demand malware scans, spam and threat detection for Outlook, and a botnet-detecting firewall booster that integrates with the Windows. But is it good enough to rank as one of our best antivirus options?
Like most anti-malware suites, when you buy Trend Micro Maximum Security directly from the company’s website, you’ll be signed up for an auto-renewing subscription that goes up in price after the first year.
Expect to pay GBP24.95 in the first year for three devices, renewing at GBP69.95 per year; GBP29.95 for five devices, renewing at GBP79.95; and GBP39.95 for 10 devices, renewing at GBP104.95.
Malware detection performance
The Trend Micro Maximum Security detection engine hasn’t fared well in recent consumer anti-malware tests. In real-world malware exposure tests carried out by AV-Test, it protected against 98.4% of viruses in a month when its rivals achieved perfect scores. It protected against 100% of malware in AV Comparatives’ real-world test, but with 36 false positives.
SE Labs also saw an unusual number of false positives, as well as a comparatively low protection rating of 95%.
Trend goes out of its way to on-board users smoothly, with a little questionnaire to establish the type of protection you require. This covers if you require protection for mobile devices or against ransomware, which browsers you use, whether you want to install a browser extension to indicate potential web threats, and whether you require parental controls. All of this can be skipped if you prefer to set things up manually.
The Trend Micro Maximum Security parental controls provide reasonably granular, subject-based blocking – including subjects such as porn, drugs, gambling and hate speech, and it attempts smart image filtering by default. The usual range of times limits and app restrictions are available.
Also included is a PC health check-up, designed to help optimise your computer’s performance, and there’s a whole set of privacy tools, too. These include a data theft prevention tool that allows you add sensitive information such as card numbers and addresses to prevent them from being entered into insecure online spaces, and a privacy settings check for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Other tools include a secure file eraser and an encrypted Vault folder for your most private files. An interruption-free gaming mode (called “mute mode” here) can be enabled via a right-click option on Trend’s notification area icon. It activates automatically when an application is running full-screen.
At install time, Maximum Security allows you to opt out of installing the Trend Micro password manager, on the same set of screens where it informs you of potential data collection and other licensing terms. You really are better off with a different password manager, since it lacks basic features such as two-factor authentication and doesn’t work well with Microsoft Edge. In fact, a number of Trend’s web-based tools defaulted to using ageing Internet Explorer as their default browser, regardless of our system settings.
Should you buy it?
You want lots of handy features:
You get plenty of tools and utilities here, so it’s still worth a look if you need all of them.
You want the best virus protection for your money:
Trend Micro Maximum Security is surprisingly expensive, and although its interface is slick, its web components feel outdated and its virus detection could be better.
Trend Micro Maximum Security comes with a fair range of tools on top of its core antivirus, but few of them are best-in-class – and it lacks features such as webcam protection that are common among its rivals.
Worse, it hasn’t performed too well in recent tests of its handling of live malware threats, making ESET, Kaspersky or Windows’ built-in Microsoft Defender better choices for your security.
How we test
We use every antivirus software ourselves, so we can check out the various features.
We also use reliable websites to determine the malware detection performance, including AV-Test, AV Comparatives and SE Labs.
We download and use the software ourselves to test the included features
We use trusted and approved websites to determine the malware detection performance
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Is Trend Micro Maximum Security free?
No, you need to pay a yearly fee for the antivirus, although there are some free mobile apps and widgets available.
Is Trend Micro a good antivirus?
Trend Micro Maximum Security did a decent job of detecting malware in performance tests, but you can find better performers elsewhere.