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Surprise! Most Android Antivirus Apps Are Pretty Good

Need Android antivirus software? (Yes, you do.) If so, 19 different apps should protect your phone or tablet well, according to the latest evaluations from German independent testing lab AV-TEST.

AV-TEST's Android evaluation setup. Credit: AV-TEST GmbH. Used with permission.

(Image credit: AV-TEST's Android evaluation setup. Credit: AV-TEST GmbH. Used with permission.)

Of 26 apps evaluated in July, those 19 received perfect scores of 13, receiving six points each for protection and usability and an extra point for extra features. Ten of those apps — from Antiy, Baidu, Bitdefender, Cheetah Mobile, Norton, PSafe, Qihoo 360, Sophos, Tencent and Trend Micro — stopped 100 percent of both brand-new Android malware, and malware that had first been detected in the previous four weeks.

MORE: Best Android Antivirus and Security Apps

The other nine apps receiving perfect scores — from AhnLab, Avira, Bullguard, Cheetah Mobile, ESET, G Data, Ikarus, Kaspersky and McAfee — stopped no less than 99.7 percent of either kind of Android malware in the July evaluations. (Cheetah Mobile submitted two different products for evaluation; Clean Master missed nothing, but CM Security stopped only 99.7 percent of brand-new malware.)

Only seven apps didn't receive perfect scores, but there were some big names among them. They included Alibaba, Avast, AVG, NSHC, Quick Heal and Webroot. The lowest detection rate was 97.1 of brand-new malware, achieved by Webroot SecureAnywhere Mobile. On the other end, AVG Mobile Security and Avast AntiVirus Free stopped 99.5 percent of brand-new malware, just missing the AV-TEST perfect scores.

Credit: AV-TEST GmbH

(Image credit: AV-TEST GmbH)

Most Android antivirus apps are distributed as "freemium" software. The bulk of the functions, including malware protection and, usually, antitheft features, are free, but extra features such as privacy advisors are available for $15 or $30 per year.

Some of the better Chinese Android security apps, however, are completely free, including Cheetah Mobile CM Security, Antiy AVL and Qihoo 360 Security. Those three offer apps in English; Baidu doesn't.

Stay tuned for the next round of Tom's Guide Android antivirus reviews, which will include reviews of several of these products.