I am also setting up a new laptop and was tempted to start a conversation(I think I've done that before) but thought I'd check and found this one.
I think I may try out Panda and possibly use it with defender. I always look for these conversations, dread them, and wish it was easier to ask and be certain for some good reasons...
You can see in the responses that people learn something and stick with it. ______ is the best free AV. And "you can't use two." Some of these things are truths at one time or another but these things change and they can change fast.
I just looked at results from at least 4 different websites that actually tested antivirus software... tests from this year... and the results on each were quite different at times. Each one, based on their tests, had different winners, etc. Each site was fairly reputable(more or less) and it makes it quite difficult to say "okay, that sounds like THE best free option."
av-test, av-comparatives, pc magazine, and tom's hardware... all had different ideas on protection, ease of use, and performance. What looked GREAT on one might look mediocre on another.
All thoughts here are going to be similar I imagine.
I wish a couple things here...
1. I wish it was easy to know which source(s) to trust the most.
2. I wish there was an EASY way to stay informed... as what's best today might be garbage tomorrow(or it might be revealed they're spying on you) and you might not know it unless you're actively searching for that info... which I sure don't do on a regular basis.
Years back I used AVG all the time... eventually switched to Avast... have that on most of the household computers but do believe I'm trying something different on the new one.
hmm... said I might try panda... now I'm looking at bitdefender again. Comparing performance and protection it's looking a little better to me.
Although one more frustration(as if there weren't enough) with all of this is that some of the tests and comparisons(like av-test) some of the products test the pro(paid) versions only so you don't get a good idea on their free products.
Lots of thoughts eh? ha.
In case anyone reading wants to chase all my rambling thoughts and where I got them I can post the links of some of the sources I compared with... of course if you read my ramblings you need to understand that some are different and I honestly have no clue which one is going to be more accurate.
Tom's Hardware: This one gave very little detail as far as a real side by side comparison. Just lists their favorites and you can click on each to read reviews
PC Mag: This one doesn't go into a lot of detail or compare performance and protection as much as it just shows the features each has or does not have.
AV-test: This one doesn't give a good picture of some of the free ones where it shows their paid versions but is good side by side and you can even compare(if you scroll down) how they rate them on different operating systems.
AV-Comparatvesi: This one has a list of different reports. Downside; the info is not all in one place. Upside; more details and comparisons. I used their real world protection and performance reports...
AV-test and av-comparatives both look good for bitdefender which is why I'm leaning towards giving that one a try.
I hope my info dump here isn't too much and is useful in some way.
These processes, finding info, knowing what to trust, etc... drives me NUTS... I have a hard time making decisions. ha.