After Avast purchased AVG in 2016, the two security pioneers have become more or less similar on several fronts.
Although they share a core antivirus engine and a few other features, the AVG and Avast remain distinct products with different approaches to their customers’ online security.
Furthermore, they both offer free and paid versions, but there are intrinsic differences where they diverge significantly.
While Avast gives you security bonuses like a password manager and network security analyzer, AVG has a much lighter impact on system performance, but far less useful extras. The good news is the latter has a wider range of customization options, which is great especially if you’re a picky or demanding user.
The question would be whether the AVG pay-model solution is best for the money, or will the free option suffice. Read on to find out the answer.
Right off the bat, AVG’s dashboard impresses with its simple, minimalist, and clean design.
The Internet Security suite offers pro-level features on an unlimited number of PCs and Android devices, though you can also install AVG Antivirus Free on as many devices as you like.
There are six scanning options: basic system check, file or folder scan, deep scan, Explorer scan, boot-time scan and USB scan. It doesn’t have a quick scan option though. You can hit the green “Scan Computer” button any time to launch a manual scan, and if there aren’t any security issues on your device, you’ll see the word “Protected” in green at the center of the main screen.
Other AVG products include:
- TuneUp, which optimizes the performance of your device by removing junk or hidden files, making it work faster
- Secure VPN, which offers online privacy, secures your WiFi connections, and disguises your location as you access websites around the world.
- Driver Updater helps fix issues on your PC by automatically checking and updating over 127,000 drivers. This means better browsing, downloading, streaming, gaming and improved audio quality, plus less freezing and crashing
- AntiTrack prevents tracking cookies from sharing your personal information with online snoops and advertisers. It wipes off your tracks online once your session is over
Bonus features like the sturdy, enhanced firewall, extra ransomware protection layer, simple spam filter, webcam protection, free secure browser and ad blocker make AVG a strong contender.
The downside is that Mac users get a rather basic version for free, which provides real-time protection from viruses and spyware, and blocks malicious sites. For more advanced protection, Mac users have to look to other antiviruses with paid solutions.
Ease of use
AVG has a simple process from download to installation and finally scanning devices.
Once you download AVG and begin the installation, you almost “forget” about the as it runs in the background, while warning you of any potential threats from pages, links or files in your device.
The initial download file was a meager 7.44MB, but 919MB was downloaded during installation. In less than 10 minutes, the installation was complete, and didn’t require a reboot, though it took another five minutes to analyze and update.
From Task Manager, there were seven processes for AVG, which at idle totaled about 148.9MB of memory usage. This increases during a full computer scan, with higher memory and CPU usage.
You can change settings to adjust the speed of each scanning mode, but this would mean more system resources get consumed. AVG compensates for this by adjusting its scan speeds automatically depending on the system resources available.
It’s simple yet intuitive interface makes for easy navigation plus you can customize AVG settings to your liking and see whether an option is available or not. For example, the free version highlights basic protection features in green, while graying out full protection features with a “Not Protected” warning and lock icon.
From independent lab tests, AVG antivirus performs generally well against known malware, and can handle harmful programs on users’ devices. However, it isn’t as powerful as top antivirus solutions that boast features like file encryption, parental control and automated software updates that AVG doesn’t have.
Test results show that AVG works well in general, and is effective.
In January and February 2019 tests, AV-Test Institute marked AVG with 6 out of 6 points for protection, 5.5 points for performance and 5.5 for usability.
AV-Comparatives, on the other hand, conducted the Real-World Protection Test between February and March 2019, and AVG demonstrated 99.7 percent effectiveness in blocking malicious programs, and had 3 false positives. This is an impressive improvement in comparison to the summary result for the period July-November 2018, where it had 99.6 percent effectiveness and 10 false positives in total.
They also granted AVG a 3 out of 3 stars Advanced+ rating; the highest attainable result.
Unlike the first two independent review labs, MRG-Effitas granted AVG a 2nd-level certification, earning it the right to be among the top 10, with an average score of 9.4 points. This means that AVG is able to take care of an attack within 24 hours of its detection.
AVG still has certain areas of improvement like malware protection, where its competitors perform a lot better, and detection of zero-day and targeted attacks.
One of its biggest advantages is that it detects new malware types so it won’t let any unknown files launch on your computer before analyzing them. AVG also works well with Windows Defender and other software that protect your devices.
Phishing and ransomware are one of the main security threats to any device. AVG is strong on detecting phishing attempts, and has a LinkScanner in each of its products to check websites in real-time before they launch in your browser.
Its ransomware protection is available for free ensuring you stay secure, but in case you’re infected with a known malware type, AVG’s free ransomware decryption tools may come in handy.
AVG offers customer support via several channels such as phone call, email, live chat and social media. An FAQ section and a large AVG community are available where you can find answers to most frequently asked questions regardless of your search query.
If you don’t get a resolution to your problem, a special online form is available on the website, which you can fill in and the support team will get back to you via email.
Response times are fair, but we found live chat and social media to be faster if you’re not able to call.
If you’re just getting started with antivirus software, or you’re a regular Internet user, AVG is an excellent choice. Its free utility packs excellent protection, but you can upgrade directly to the AVG Internet Security – Unlimited for more sophisticated protection.