Detailed Expert Review
UPDATE: When Google and Mozilla removed AVG’s web extension from their stores, a scandal broke out which revealed that Avast (who also owns AVG) had allegedly been spying on their users’ browsing data and selling it to corporations for millions of dollars in profit. In light of these unethical practices, we can no longer recommend them on our site. You can read more about the controversy and our decision here. For a review of antivirus companies we do recommend, please see this list of the 10 best antiviruses of 2020.
While you’ve probably heard of AVG and its strong reputation for security and performance, did you know that it offers a choice of three products that not only provide security and privacy but also tools to help your PC run better?
AVG is also one of the more affordable options in the market, meaning you get a lot of great protection for multiple devices for a single great price. But I just don’t think it beats out other top premium performers like Norton and Kaspersky.
The first thing that impressed me about AVG is that the company is always at the top of the list when major labs test antivirus products. These lab tests have found that AVG stopped every single attack it detected, and even 99% of attacks it did not know about previously, also known as zero-day attacks. This is important because a lot of times your computer is attacked not by well-known viruses, but by new tactics antiviruses don’t know about. The company also got perfect scores from Virus Bulletin and is a proud member of the company’s VB100 list. AVG ranks as highly as Avast and is even higher than big names like McAfee, Kaspersky, and BitDefender.
Antivirus Scanner Is Always on in the Background
AVG’s first line of defense against hacks and malware attacks is its powerful antivirus, which protects you against a variety of common exploits. The AVG antivirus scanner is always on and keeps track of any changes you make to files and folders, guaranteeing that nothing happens without you knowing.
More importantly, it can make your scans faster after the first time with Turbo Scans, which ignore folders and files AVG has already checked and remain unchanged. If AVG antivirus does detect a problem, it sends it to a special ThreatLab team to check it out and let the rest of the AVG network know.
Enhanced Firewall Offers Protection from Ransomware
More important, though, is that AVG is more than just an antivirus. The company also provides its Enhanced Firewall, which keeps any suspicious activity and traffic from reaching your computer or device.
More importantly, AVG protects you from ransomware, a tactic that is becoming more popular every day and is very dangerous. Ransomware protection includes regular scans and a special folder that is encrypted, where you can store all your most sensitive files, photos, and more to make sure no one can steal them. You can even choose which programs can change these files at all.
Payment Protection Watches Your Email for Scams
One last feature that impressed me is AVG’s Payments Protection. The company’s products monitor your email for possible spam and scams that are a cover for fraud. If AVG detects the website, you’re visiting and shopping on is suspicious, it will instantly notify you and help you avoid losing your personal information and password.
Ease of use
I was a bit confused when I first opened AVG, but I quickly found my way with AVG’s easy-to-use interface. The program’s main screen has five large cards that tell you how well protected each area of your PC is (“Computer,” “Web & Email,” and more). These aren’t buttons, but they simply indicate the status of each component. When a scan of a specific sector finishes, it updates these cards. You can start a scan by simply pressing the button at the bottom of the screen. You can also customize your scans by choosing how often they happen, how thorough they are, and you can also automate them. It would be nice if you could access each category directly from the large cards on the main screen, but overall, I found that installing and using AVG was a breeze.
You can access one of AVG’s two levels of support: basic and premium. The company’s basic service gives you access to the company’s knowledge base, which includes answers to common problems and questions other users have asked before. It also features a great community forum that lets you directly interact with other users to find answers and share notes on existing problems. If you’re a Premium user, you also gain access to the company’s toll-free premium support line around the clock, as well as a useful live chat. The support staff was well-trained and great at answering my questions, but I do wish basic users had some access to the same level of assistance. Even so, I was able to find answers to most of my questions, and all the support agents I spoke to were great at helping me solve my problems. Both free and premium users can also contact the company directly via an email ticket form on AVG’s website. These responses take a few days but usually include information that is helpful for resolving any outstanding issues.
Another thing I really liked about AVG is how fair their pricing is. The company’s Internet Security and Ultimate plans let you protect as many devices as you want, which gives you excellent savings. Additionally, if you are only interested in AVG’s antivirus security, you can choose the free antivirus option, which is likely your best choice even though it only protects one device. If you also browse the web frequently and would like more protection, the Internet Security option may be a great deal, since it offers excellent tools to secure your online activities. If you’re considering the Ultimate plan, you’ll be paying slightly more for the optimization tools AVG offers, as well as access to the premium support line and live chat. Otherwise, Internet Security likely represents the best value for most consumers.