Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe review

Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe

360 Mobile Safe – not to be confused with the lesser-featured 360 Mobile Security – is the only app in this test that is completely free. It's made by the listed Chinese company, Qihoo. Although free apps from relatively unknown foreign companies raise our suspicion levels, we could find nothing untoward in the licence agreements. (See all anti-virus reviews)

Certainly, AV-TEST found little at fault with its malware detection, either, with Qihoo spotting an almost perfect 99.9% of known malicious apps. There are nice, clear notifications when a newly installed app has been scanned, and you can launch the app straight from the notification, which is a thoughtful touch. Its anti-virus performance is less convincing: it failed to detect our test virus, even after a full system scan, and allowed us to click on all the phishing links in our spam folder.  However, Qihoo offers much more than mere malware scanning. (See also: Best Android apps.)

The smartly presented app includes a series of phone optimisation and clean-up tools that shut down unused memory-consuming apps and delete unnecessary system files, helping to keep low-powered handsets ticking more nicely. This clean-up facility can be started by shaking the handset from the home screen, which also opens a basic Breakout-style game while the tidying is taking place  – a fun, if frivolous, feature.  

There's an optional pop-out window, which is activated by tapping on a tiny indicator pinned to the right of the homescreen that displays how much of the phone's memory is currently being used. Open it up, and you can press the Boost button to free memory, or activate a number of other phone controls.

Other unusual features include a data usage monitor that helps ensure you don't exceed your monthly download cap, and a private call/messaging vault, that allows you to communicate with selected contacts without those messages/calls appearing in the standard Android apps. Instead, they're hidden behind a password-protected screen, which is much easier to use and set up than Kaspersky's version.

The call blocking tools are better than most of the others apps on test here, too, with options to blacklist and whitelist callers, bar certain keywords in text messages, and apply filters to a schedule. You can block work calls at weekends, for example.

The anti-theft tools include options to locate and lock the handset remotely, as well as sound a blaring alarm or delete personal data from the device – note, however, that this isn't the full factory reset that we prefer, which means email and Play Store accounts are still dangerously exposed to thieves. Another downside is that the anti-theft features can only be activated by SMS from another phone, not via a web console, and the delete data command can only be issued from another trusted number. This will prove the feature useless if you can't get access to that secondary phone in an emergency.

Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe: Specs

  • Size: 7.1 MB
  • Requires Android 2.2 and up
  • Size: 7.1 MB
  • Requires Android 2.2 and up

OUR VERDICT

A vast array of security and useful phone management tools, all offered without any charge whatsoever. We'd like its anti-virus to be more proactive and the anti-theft tools are relatively weak, but it's harder to complain when it's free.