Avast Secure Browser

Avast Secure Browser isn’t a browser with many bells and whistles, especially outside of the privacy and security realm. That may be just fine with you, though. If you want a browser that’s a cinch to install and use, and you care much more about privacy than customization, you’ll barely notice that Avast is limited when it comes to features.

Avast works pretty well without you making any significant changes to its settings. It looks and functions similar to Chrome, and the default search engine is Google, so you can get started in a familiar environment right away. With a few tweaks to the comprehensive security settings page, you’ll be done personalizing your browser altogether (unless you want to change its aesthetics).

Features

If you have a bunch of tabs open and want to group them for easier at-a-glance visibility, you can right-click the tab and choose "Add to Tab Group", then create a new group or add the tab to an existing one. Name the group whatever you like, and choose a color. In the screenshot above, you can see that a few tab groups have been created.

The Avast Addons store has extensions in various categories to extend the functionality of your browser.

Otherwise, Avast’s features are what you’d expect. You can change the theme and color scheme a bit, decide what happens when you open a new window, set Avast as your default browser, and play around with other basic settings.

Privacy

When you spend time online with Avast, your data remains safe from hackers, and tracking from third parties is also blocked. Malicious downloads and websites are blocked too (Anti-Phishing), along with dangerous extensions (Extension Guard), and Avast forces sites to use encryption so your info is even more protected.

Hack Check

Avast Secure Browser's Hack Check feature allows you to see if your email address was exposed in a data breach or leak (Image credit: Avast)

Avast also masks your online identity with Anti-Fingerprinting so sites can’t identify you or keep track of your online profile. And as with many browsers, there’s login data control via the Hack Check feature, so you can run your email address to see if your passwords were included in a leak.

Security and Privacy Center

Avast Secure Browser comes packed with security and privacy features though you will have to pay if you want access to all of them (Image credit: Avast)

All of the browser’s security and privacy settings can be accessed in the Security and Privacy Center. Some options have to be paid for and may come with a free download or trial, like Avast Security.

Interface

This is the user interface of Avast Secure Browser (Image credit: Avast)

User experience

Avast looks very much like Google Chrome, which makes sense because the browser is built on the same Chromium platform. The default search engine is Google, but you can switch to Bing, DuckDuckGo, or Yahoo if you’d like. That’s all to say that you’re probably familiar with how the browser and search engine look and feel, making the learning curve practically non-existent.

Ads

You can choose which ads are blocked when browsing the web (Image credit: Avast)

Avast auto-blocks ads, which makes page-load time faster. You can opt to hide all ads or only the most aggressive ones.

Ad Block Pause or Unpause

Clicking on the grey shield in the top right of a browser window lets you pause or unpause Avast's ad blocker (Image credit: Avast)

If you have ad-block enabled on Avast, you can temporarily turn it off when you’re on a site where you may want to see ads. Clicking the grayed-out Shield icon on the top-right of the browser lets you pause and unpause ad-blocking via a pop-up.

The ad-blocker worked really well for us. When set to Strict, web pages loaded super-fast on Avast, and scrolling to read an article was more enjoyable, too, because there weren’t ads auto-populating along the way. It also made for a cleaner appearance, closer to reading mode than a regular ad-filled page.

Platforms

The Avast browser is available for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. 

Browser data can be synced across all of your devices so that you can move between them freely without missing out on things like bookmarks and history. And if there’s some reason why you don’t want your info synced, you don’t have to enable it, and you can use Avast on your devices independently.

On mobile, you can turn on the ad and tracker blocking feature, and there are a number of mobile-specific security features you can turn on or off.

The competition

Avast feels faster than other browsers when ad-blocking is enabled, and in our testing using Speed Battle, it did perform a bit faster than Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. However, tweaking settings for the browsers may show different results, and the score gap wasn’t vast to begin with, so you could argue that they’re all roughly the same speed-wise.

In terms of its privacy settings, Avast has a lot covered that other browsers don’t. The Anti-Fingerprint and Anti-Phishing features we talked about above are good examples of this. 

Final verdict

For the daily internet user who may head online to shop or work, the most powerful and noticeable feature is the ad-blocker. Pages load fast, and you don’t have to wait mid-read for an ad to pop up. If you’re visiting a lot of sites per day, this makes a big difference in time, and it strains your brain less because there’s not as much to pay attention to or work around.

While Avast’s features are limited, they do make sense ­– changing your theme for better visibility and grouping tabs are both valuable options. And with its own Addons store and access to the Chrome extensions store, you can add any functionality you’re missing out of the box. It’s also nice to have a browser that syncs across devices, as many users will be hopping between their desktop and mobile throughout the day or week.

Want to learn more about how Avast can keep you safe? Take a look at our Avast Antivirus solutions review.

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