Viruses can enter your computer like a sneaky thief in the night, with the malicious intent to steal all your confidential data, to either use it against you or to just cause chaos, leaving you without a clue on what to do.
Because the world is not always good, and there are users and hackers who aim to find ways to get into your network and system, it is wise to get a great antivirus program which will successfully defend your computer from malware that constantly bombards your network on a daily basis.
In this guide, the BlueGadgetTooth team has researched and reviewed the two most talked about antivirus security suites – McAfee vs AVG to see which one came out as the winner in a battle between the two.
If you want to skip over to the test results, you can click here.
After thorough tests, and data collected by reputable resources that constantly test anti-virus and anti-malware programs on a regular basis, the BlueGadgetTooth team has picked AVG as the undisputable winner.
AVG did better in all tests, and the results were not marginally better than McAfee, it was way better. This is after we compared McAfee vs AVG in a comprehensive series of tests – emerging as the victor of the battle thanks to its stellar performance in malware detection, easy UI and minimal system impact.
When it comes to the security of your computer, you don’t want to depend on an average security suite to protect your data. You need something that you can really rely on, and in this battle between McAfee vs AVG, AVG came up tops.
Testing antivirus programs is not as simple as just running it to check how reliable it is when it comes to your data. As the BlueGadgetTooth team deals with ever evolving technology on a daily basis, it was really important to make sure that all our data always remained secure. At all times.
We compared McAfee vs AVG on a number of categories – like just how effective both antivirus programs were at malware detection and removal, understand the features both come programmed with and testing how using these programs impacted the performance of your device’s system. On top of all this, we also took a closer look at just how easily navigable both security suites were, and how easy the UI was for the average user.
McAfee is a global security software giant that was founded in 1987 by John McAfee, who then parted ways with the company in 1994. After many mergers and successful acquisitions, McAfee grew to the global giant it is today.
McAfee specializes in security software programs, and has ventured into encryption technologies; broadening the range of security features it offers its users. Based out of Santa Clara, California, McAfee is now owned by Intel, TPG capital and Thoma Bravo, with Intel owning a 49% stake in the company.
McAfee primarily develops tools in digital security for computers, server devices and mobile devices. The McAfee brand has a number of core products as well as sub products that have become part and parcel of the McAfee Company over the years with its mergers of various security firms, strengthening its hold on the space of digital security, as well as introducing and increasing its presence in the mobile security market.
AVG Technologies is a global security software company that was founded in Brno, Czech Republic in 1991 by Jan Gritzbach and Tomáš Hofer. The main holding company is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
This company went on an acquisition spree, merging and buying several companies developing technology for online security as well as other security solutions. The security software giant, Avast acquired AVG Technologies on 30th September 2016.
AV-Comparatives uses real world testing for its tests, throwing a wall of online malware to computers running on 64bit Windows 7, to reveal the various protection results.
AV-TEST attacks various computers with the latest malware and the most popular ones which are discovered within a four week time frame. The company’s evaluations rotate on a two month basis between 32 bit Windows 7, 64 bit Windows 8.1 and 64 bit Windows 10 to get a better understanding of the malwares’ effect on various computer systems.
Now let’s get down to business to see who scores better in each category:
To check just how effective McAfee vs AVG is at detecting malware, the BlueGadgetTooth team decided to use the results provided by two reputable independent product testing labs – AV-Comparatives from Austria, and AV-TEST from Germany. They are known for regular testing various antimalware programs by bombarding the computers installed with the various security suites to check how they stand against a barrage of malware storms.
Both Suites tested by the labs may not be the exact same products mentioned here, however, each brand uses the same malware detection programs across their security suites, so the results would not change, providing the same results as shown.
As per the tests at AV-Comparatives, the malware detection rate for AVG while offline was 97.5%, while for McAfee, the results revealed a 47.9%, the lowest result in the tests. Whilst online, AVG scored 99.3%, and McAfee scored 97.7%.
The Online Protection Rate for AVG is 99.9% and McAfee was 99.86%. This is with 20011 malware thrown against the computers, with only 2 malware compromising a computer with AVG software, and 28 compromising devices with McAfee software.
McAfee did have a lower number of false alarms in clean files, with the number standing at 2, whereas AVG was in the middle of the spectrum, standing at 9 false alarms.
Winner: I think the winner is pretty clear here – AVG wins this battle with higher scores and better test results.
The installation process of AVG is fairly simple and straightforward. The file downloaded really quickly. All I did was click on the downloaded file and install it. Now, the installation process took a lot longer than I actually expected, taking 15 minutes from start to finish.
However, there was nothing I really had to do, apart from wait for the process to get over. You may as well get a book to read while it’s installing as twiddling your thumbs for fifteen minutes may not be a very constructive use of your time.
The UI of the AVG program was really, really simple. Mostly a next step click process, you don’t have to know much about computers or antivirus programs at all – the whole thing walks you through the entire process. Even the computer scan was simple, taking around 5 minutes – identifying problem areas and asking permission to resolve them. If you give your approval, then you’re good to go.
The only thing I didn’t like was that it brought up the PCTuner and there was no option to cancel it, making you download it, not giving the user any choice as such even if it is a free trial. PCTuner is a great thing to have as it ensures your PC’s performance doesn’t slow down, but I don’t always want programs downloaded onto my computer.
After all, that is the whole point of getting an antivirus program – to avoid unwanted programs from getting installed in your device. So, for me, this was a slight negative point – as it almost acted like malware. There should be a simple –‘No thanks’ button to click on.
The installation of the McAfee however, took longer. It detected another antivirus program which had to be removed. That’s fine, but the computer had to be restarted twice, as it detected two programs, restarting after each detection. To me, that seems like a waste of time. If it could restart once after detecting all possible problem areas, it would be better.
The installation took a lot longer, and after a while I stopped keeping tab on the timer, due to the restarts. For me, this is not a very user friendly option. If you have to wait too long, to get anything done, it is not a viable option.
Before you think that it is as simple as just going to the website and running it, think again. I downloaded a file, which led to the above screenshot (downloading took its own sweet time), then it led to the installation process, which was another story altogether.
You fill out your details, but I had to move around quite a bit to get this up and running. You do have to go online to get your license key to get the program activated. Overall, not a very user friendly interface as compared to AVG.
Winner: AVG won hands down. There was no unnecessary waste of time; it got to the point, showing me files and browser options I didn’t know I had, with the detection and removal happening within minutes, with no restarts.
We ran a series of programs with and without a scan running from each security suites to determine if we faced any system performance issues from McAfee vs AVG. From running CPU hungry programs like Photoshop, to checking downloads, to checking if browser speeds were affected, we did notice that AVG was a little bit slower. In fact, we checked with the tests done at AV-TEST.org to see their independent test results, which are shared below.
Winner: McAfee won this round, as it only marginally slowed down the system’s performance when a scan was running. AVG had poorer system performance impact, which gets negative brownie points. However, as the scan itself doesn’t take that long, we just don’t run super heavy programs in the background, while it is running.
Apart from scanning and detecting malware, AVG checks if your WiFi connection is encrypted. This is helpful if you are connecting to a network that is not your home network. This could be networks in public spaces like cafes, hotel lobbies and more. It checks for ARP cache poisoning and flags wireless networks which take you to captive portals as insecure, so you are aware of the potential dangers.
More than that, the anti-theft features in the AVG antivirus is extensive, allowing you to be able to locate, lock, trigger a noise if it is misplaced or even wipe contents clean from the device remotely.
Another anti-theft feature we like is the Camera trap. This is when your phone is stolen and someone tries to get into your phone through the lockscreen, but fails to pass it three times. A picture is automatically taken. For people with kids, you can protect certain apps with a PIN, so that they can’t access those apps by mistake. So no embarrassing pics can be uploaded to your FB account or tweets on just how high your candy crush score is.
You can also save all sensitive photos directly to a vault, or transfer them from the default gallery to the vault.
For those who are looking to save on battery power, you can opt the ‘stretch battery life’ option, but your Bluetooth and WiFi connections may be turned off – which may not be the things you want to happen. You can kill running tasks and track the data usage of each app.
McAfee also has malware protection, but it also protects you from phishing sites. With so many hackers wanting to get your banking details disguised as a real banking site, you may inadvertently input sensitive data that could have disastrous results. McAfee could detect these very well.
It also offers Firewall protection. You may be thinking that your inbuilt default Firewall protection already exists, but added protection never hurts. In fact, when I tried to disable protection, I found that I just simply couldn’t. This was to check if any malware could attack the system and get through the firewall. Well, it can’t. This is always good news.
You also have the option for a Smart Access Mode, so that you don’t have to manually approve any sites or prevent pop ups from, well, popping up.
My Network page allows you to check out which devices/ users are connected to your network, listing it by name and IP addresses. It also shows which ones have McAfee Protection.
There is also the Shredder Tool which overwrites files so that they are permanently deleted, and cannot be recovered at a later stage (unlike files sent to the Recycle Bin). The QuickClean feature will scan for cookies and temp files which could take up much needed space.
Winner: Both security suites have equal features and it is worth noting that this was tested with the Windows Edition. The Mac edition does have many features missing from both suites. In this case, we would have to call it a tie.
When it comes down to it, price is paramount as well. If something does the same job as well as the other, but costs way less, you’d obviously pick that one.
AVG Ultimate comes at $99.99/year for unlimited devices, whereas McAfee Total Protection, on an average day is priced at $99.99/year for only ten devices. However, there are times when there are huge discounts, where you could save up to 40%.
Winner: Looking at the price points, AVG stands as the winner as it is available at the same cost as McAfee, but offers protection for unlimited devices instead of just ten. Considering all of us have multiple devices in our homes, it makes sense to go for an option which covers every family member and their respective devices.
You may think that hey, I only surf the net and connect with people on social media platforms. But all of these have your email address and all the data connected to it. That means, that malware like Trojan horses or spyware could infect your system, get confidential data to either hold it ransom against you, or steal your identity.
If you don’t want to be in a position where you switch on your computer only to see a ransom note (yes, that happens), then you should get a good antivirus program. This is because even if you do pay a ransom, there’s no guarantee that you will get your data back, or even that they won’t do it again one week down the line.
Identity Theft is a very serious problem, because if your identity is stolen, you may only be aware of it when you are hit with a huge credit card bill. You could be saving for months for emergencies and for someone you don’t know to throw it all away on extravagant holidays or products can break anyone’s heart and spirit.
Recovering lost funds can be really hard, which means you can say goodbye to all you’ve earned, as well as headaches to look forward to as you try to get things back in order.
If you don’t want to face problems in the future, you should safeguard your home and your devices against hackers. Keeping your family safe from cyber threats is really important, especially in today’s world where there are many malicious users who mean to do no good to you.
After reviewing both McAfee vs AVG, it was clear to me that AVG stood out as the winner of the battle. The number of features it provides, with the price point and unlimited device protection gains huge brownie points.
And this may not seem like a big deal, but the ease of installation and running scans is a huge plus. Nobody wants to navigate through different windows just to get the program up and running. If something is too much work, chances are you will lose interest, and in all honesty, so did I with McAfee.
Hey, it's Tomas here! I'm the founder and chief editor here at BlueGadgetTooth. After spending hours explaining my parents how to hook up their Internet, why it's being so slow etc. I decided to start this blog to help people with their gadgets and questions about technology.