The last time ESET updated its security suites--the antivirus & anti-malware-only NOD32 & the more feature-heavy alternative Smart Security--it was a different computer security world. It was March 2009: Anonymous barely existed, Stuxnet hadn't gone public, & ransomware was the stuff of science fiction.
Version five of ESET NOD32 is a solid, creative try to generate a suite that adapts to a quickly changing threatscape, with an emphasis on generic detections & the now-commonplace reliance on both cloud & locally stored detections. Where NOD32's bigger brother Smart Security five left us wanting more in the ancillary features department, the area that plenty of do not think about "core" security, NOD32 strikes an ideal pitch between features, cost, & effectiveness.
ESET's overall performance presents a reliable security option. It is not the most effective security suite we have seen this year, and the benchmarks leave room for growth, but overall it is a solid, secure choice, with low false positives and a light touch on your computer's performance.
Real-world check results for ESET were confusing. On our real-world check computer, an x86 Windows 7 laptop computer that they use for all hands-on testing of security suites, ESET scans were invariably slow and ponderous. On average, the first scan took hours, and later scans were only faster by about twenty to 30 minutes. These marks did not match up to CNET Labs' results, which found ESET's scan times on a freshly imaged computer to be among the quickest results we have seen so far this year. Because of the huge number of programs that get installed and uninstalled on the real-world laptop computer, which could adversely affect the computer's Registry, we are inclined to favor the labs leads to this case.