360 Total Security Essential offers the same antivirus protection as 360 total protection, without the additional cleaning and fixing tools. It's still an excellent free antivirus program, which will protect you from the majority of threats you might face online.
Five antivirus engines
The antivirus uses five antivirus engines, including 360 Cloud Engine, CVMII, Avira, and Bitdefender. Scanning your PC for threats is quick, and we were impressed by its attention to detail. For example, if removing a detected threat requires a PC restart, 360 Total Security will warn you.
The Avira and Bitdefender are disabled by default. This is good, as enabling them increases RAM usage, but you have them as an option if you want to be extra secure. 360 Total Security Essential also includes an optional browser extension which will notify you if any pages you visit are potentially malicious. This seems like overkill to us, as most browsers today will warn you if a site is not secure or dangerous.
We did find that occasionally 360 Total Security Essential confuses EXE files for some games as malicious, even when we know them to be clean files. This happened a couple of times, and deserves to be mentioned.
In some ways, 360 Total Security Essential is superior to its big brother 360 Total Security. Stripping away features to the minimum necessary makes it more lightweight, and more appropriate for someone who just wants some protection.
An effective and efficient antivirus
360 Total Security Essential is really easy to use, with a clear interface that's simple to navigate. It explains what every feature does, and it's easy to configure. If you're looking for an antivirus solution that's not intrusive and lets you get on with whatever you're doing, 360 Total Security Essential is a good choice.