Security apps for Android get a lot of bad press because a lot of users don't see the point of installing virus scanners—not for Android! But we should keep in mind that these types of apps often come with a lot of other (and potentially very useful) functions. Does Lookout Security & Antivirus fall into this category? Let's find out!
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|Reviewed version||Latest version|
Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Android version: 4.0.1
Lookout Security & Antivirus is more than an anti-virus programme for Android—it is a full blown security suite which could potentially protect / help prevent your device from being stolen.
Sidenote: I don't see anti-virus as apps as being essential for Android users, provided you don't turn to dodgy sources to cram your device full with apps, or download louche applications from the market. That said, sussing out scams or viruses calls for a certain amount of experience and / or intuition, which is why the anti-virus function makes perfect sense for newbies.
The app doesn't require permissions to access app files directly. Instead, it asks Android for the package identifier and runs a scan on the data base to see if the app is potentially infected. Granted, this isn't the most accurate of methods, but it can warn newbies of potential virus ridden apps.
Having said this, I find that the other functions that come with the app trump the above.
For instance, the Privacy Advisor is a great way to stay alert and on your toes—it sends notifications whenever there are security issues. Lookout performs a quick scan and the tells you which apps can fix your device's position, access personal data or SMS and contacts. It won't unnecessarily confuse or unsettle users though, seeing as there is a disclaimer explaining that the apps listed are not necessarily malicious, though the Advisor can track down the virus ridden apps. After having gone over all the information provided and come to the conclusion that an app is not quite kosher, it can be uninstalled then and there.
I was a lot less impressed by the Safe Browsing option. It's meant to verify links that can be accessed from the standard Android browser and warn users of potentially not secure ones. However, I was able to access several Warez sites that featured cracked apps (potentially infected), as well as several rip-off sites. Hopefully the blacklist will be expanded very soon!
Both of the functions described above are part of the premium version of the app.
Next there's the Backup function, with which you can backup contacts, call register and photos. Most of us are using Google Sync, so I don't really see the point of this function. There's no option for backing up videos.
The functions that impressed me the most are hands down Find My Phone and the option to lock the device.
I'm going to go into more detail about Find My Phone, but want to mention first off that all functions in this menu require internet access in order to run.
Your device can be positioned (you will receive a notification message informing you of your device's whereabouts), and you can also have a loud siren go off, making it easier to find your stolen, lost or misplaced device once it's been located virtually.
This option is available for free version users. The premium version harbours an additional function, and that is locking the device or else clearing it of all files. The first option requires entering a PIN code which can later be used to unlock the device again.
As far as the settings go: the app scans can be set at intervals, and other function can simply be de/activated. It's a pity settings cannot be protected via password, meaning a thief need only find the option and deactivate it!
Lookout is a useful application and some of its functions are very promising, but it could be made to be even more powerful with just a few adjustments.
Screen & Controls
Both the website and mobile application for Lookout Security & Antivirus are set up intelligently: all functions are thoroughly explained within the app so that easy usage is guaranteed, even for newbies.
Speed & Stability
Lookout Security & Antivirus is fast, efficient and runs smoothly, even the scans. The app has never crashed on me, and it goes like clockwork in the background. It takes up less than 10 MB.
Lookout Security & Antivirus ist free of charge, but should you want the advanced features you will have to shell out US$2,99 per month. A cheaper option to actually insuring your device, and worth the price, in my opinion.