These days, there are plenty of browsers you can use to access the internet, but the top three see the vast majority of users. Whether you’re a long-time fan of Chrome, a stalwart Firefox user, or are trying out the brand new Microsoft Edge remix, you’ve probably tried and tested the competition.
Did you know, however, that Avast now has its own browser? It’s called the Avast Secure Browser and can be found on Windows, Mac, and very recently, Android. Is it worth your time, or is it another browser lost among the Big Three?
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Avast. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
Avast Secure Browser’s Performance
Avast Secure Browser is fast and agile the moment you start it up. This is because the entire browser runs off of Chromium, which many browser developers have made the choice to jump ship to. Microsoft Edge made this change a few months ago, and their efforts meant more people used Edge than Firefox.
As such, it is fast and stable, as you’d expect from a Chromium-based browser. Avast Secure Browser even “found” my Chrome bookmarks and cookies and transferred them over without any problems. This made it easy to start with Avast Secure Browser.
To see how Avast’s Chromium base holds up, we used JetStream to see how well it did. The bigger the score the better.
Fortunately, Avast Secure Browser got a very respectable score of 58.968:
For reference, Chrome scored a 61.015 on the same test. As expected of a Chromium-based browser, it can keep up with Chrome when it comes down to the technical stuff.
Avast Secure Browser’s Extensions
Fortunately, Avast Secure Browser doesn’t require a lot of setup. This is because it comes packed with lots of useful extensions from the get-go.
You can open the Security & Privacy Center to see what extensions the browser has pre-installed and which ones are enabled. The browser enables all the important ones by default, so you need not access this screen to get the benefits of the extensions.
The moment you boot it up, it has an ad blocker, an anti-phishing extension, one for anti-tracking, a browser fingerprint disguise, HTTPS encryption, a password manager, an extension guard, and a webcam guard. It will also double-check your credentials on websites like HaveIBeenPwned to ensure they’re secure.
Because of its Chromium base, it’s also compatible with Google Chrome extensions. When you add an extension, Avast’s extension guard jumps in and shows you the privileges you’re giving to the add-on.
Avast Secure Browser also has extensions for Avast Antivirus and a VPN; however, you have to install these independently, and the VPN has a monthly fee.
Avast Secure Browser’s Defenses
Given this is a security browser, how good is it at defending you? To start, Avast Secure Browser inherits all the security measures from its Chromium base. This means if you visit an insecure website (for example, one of the test pages on BadSSL), you’ll see Chromium’s error messages pop up.
However, Avast’s browser goes one step further above its Chromium roots. We covered the extension guard earlier, which is useful for finding out which permissions a new extension wants. However, while doing tests with BadSSL, I found an interesting feature of Avast’s browser.
I was testing the browser using BadSSL’s insecure form webpage. Because it’s not a real login page, I got lazy and made my username and password “hello.” When I “submitted” the information. Avast Secure Browser immediately warned me that the credentials I chose were very weak:
As such, if password hygiene is important to you, Avast’s browser will ensure that your credentials are secure enough to keep your account safe.
The Pros and Cons of Avast Secure Browser
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at the pros and cons of the browser.
To start, the choice for a Chromium base was very smart. It’s hard to keep up with the top three browsers, but using a Chromium base allows Avast’s browser to keep up with everyone else.
The extensions were also a nice addition. None of them felt like “bloatware;” extensions that did nothing important but took up a lot of resources. I was pleased with the extension guard informing me of an add-on’s permissions and the password checker informing me of a weak password.
The only flaw really isn’t a flaw at all. It had been published earlier that Avast was selling user data via its subsidiary, Jumpshot, who packaged the data in the form of market trend reports. To rectify concerns, Jumpshot was shut down in January. You can read the CEO’s memo on this matter.
My Verdict on Avast Secure Browser
If you are a regular user of browsers like Firefox and Chrome, Avast Secure Browser has a surprising amount of good points. Its Chromium base lets it keep up with the big leagues, and the pre-installed extensions make it easy to get someone online safely with minimal setup.
Obviously, if you use Avast’s antivirus software, it works in tandem with the browser for a secure experience. However, you don’t need the antivirus to use the browser, but it’s worth a look if you want to try out something new.
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