G Data Total Security review: Aptly named, but steeply priced

This security suite is bursting at the seams, but that doesn’t mean it’s good value

A screenshot of G Data Total Security's main dashboard
Price
$50 1yr, 1 device
  • Stuffed with features
  • Dual malware scanning engines
  • Decent performance
  • Security scans are slow

G Data has evidently set out to integrate every feature you could conceivably want into its top-end security suite. It’s called Total Security, and the interface is spread across no fewer than ten pages, accessed from a long row of icons along the top of the window. The software is also generously endowed with virus-detection technology: uniquely, it uses twin scanning engines, to help ensure nothing slips through the net.

If you’re looking for something a bit more modest, G Data also offers regular Internet Security and Antivirus options, both available from the G Data website.

G Data Total Security review: Features

Naturally, Total Security performs on-access scanning of files on your PC and watches over web access and local emails. It also includes some welcome additional features. The bootable recovery media builder is easily accessed directly from the virus protection page, and there’s an integrated backup module that not only duplicates files and folders but can also create images of entire partitions and disks.

We like the Browser Cleaner, too, which provides a central console for auditing and managing all extensions and plugins registered with Chrome, Firefox and IE. Support for Edge is missing though and, oddly, the built-in password manager doesn’t seem to work with the default Windows 10 browser either. Even if it did, it would be of limited use, since G Data doesn’t offer a companion app for mobile devices.

The same issue limits the usefulness of G Data’s parental control module. You can block or permit certain types of web content for individual users, and limit internet access and screen time, but these restrictions only apply to the PC the software is installed on.

A screenshot of G Data Total Security's firewall configuration menu

The suite includes some system tune-up and management tools, too, plus a custom firewall, which provides granular control over file and printer sharing services, internet connection sharing and VPN connections. It’s nicer to work with than Windows 10’s built-in firewall, although not many people really need this sort of hands-on control.

G Data Total Security review: Protection

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G Data’s unusual belt-and-braces approach to virus scanning, although innovative, didn’t seem to do much good in the tests carried out in early 2021 by independent security labs AV-Comparatives.org and AV-Test.org. Across both sets of tests, G Data came out with an average protection rating of 99.8% – a strong showing but behind the likes of Bitdefender, F-Secure, McAfee and Norton, all of whom received perfect 100% scores.

Nor did G Data take the gold medal for accuracy, raising two false alarms during the test. Again, that’s not bad at all and, in practice, we’d be happy to entrust our online safety to this suite but there’s no overlooking the fact that it was bested by F-Secure, Eset and BullGuard. The double-engine architecture doesn’t deliver the advantage you might expect.

G Data Total Security review: User interface

It’s inevitable that scanning suspected malware twice is going to affect performance. G Data handles this pretty well, slowing down test systems by an average of only 9.1%.

That puts it only a little bit behind front-runners F-Secure and McAfee, which slowed things down by 6.1% and 6.3% respectively. Indeed, G Data is faster than Windows’ own built-in protections, which had an average impact of 12.5%.

A screenshot of G Data Total Security's virus protection dashboard

The scanning process itself is fairly slow, however; G Data took 15mins 37secs to scan an external hard disk containing 55GB of backed-up files, while F-Secure SAFE did the same job in 27 seconds.

Getting around the G Data interface can be frustrating at first too. The icons that open the various feature pages aren’t labelled and some of them subdivide into panes, using smaller, even more cryptic icons. You’ll get the hang of it in time but we found ourselves hunting around for features more often than we’d like.

G Data Total Security review: Verdict

G Data Total Security isn’t exactly expensive but at £36 for a one-year, single-user licence, it’s pricier than most other security suites. If you glance down the lengthy feature list you might consider that fair enough but not all of the program’s functions are as useful as you’d imagine.

While there’s certainly an appeal to having all of these tools in one place you’ll get protection that’s just as good, and probably more manageable, from a rival package – or one of G Data’s own cheaper options.

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