PC Matic Review: Quick Expert Summary
PC Matic is different than all the other antivirus programs I’ve ever tested. Instead of using a blacklist of known malware like most antiviruses do, PC Matic’s antivirus scanner has a whitelist of all known legitimate programs. It blocks any program that’s not on the whitelist. I was curious about whether PC Matic’s unconventional approach to malware detection would really work. To find out, I tested it against a wide range of malware, including viruses, trojans, and ransomware. I also assessed its additional features, ease of use, and overall value.
During my tests, PC Matic’s malware detection rate was 100% — which is impressive. I also think PC Matic’s PC optimization tools are great. They check for driver updates, remove junk files, defragment hard disks, and do a lot of other system cleanup tasks. And I also like how easy it is to use PC Matic’s mobile apps — although they may be a little too basic for advanced users.
However, PC Matic has some serious issues. While its scanner has perfect malware detection, it also blocked a lot of completely legitimate programs during my tests. Plus, it doesn’t have many of the additional internet security features offered by competing brands. For example, Norton offers a VPN (virtual private network), a password manager, and parental controls, and Bitdefender offers web and microphone protection, ransomware remediation, and a secure web browser.
Honestly, I don’t think PC Matic can compete with the best antivirus programs in 2023. However, it’s a decent, low-cost antivirus that provides good protection against malware. And it comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you plenty of time to try it out.
|Overall Rank||#22 out of 68 antiviruses|
|🎁 Free Plan||❌|
|💵 Pricing||$50.00 / year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
|💻 Operating Systems||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android|
PC Matic Full Review
PC Matic is a decent antivirus that’s easy to set up and use. It uses whitelisting to block malware, which works well, but it also often blocks legitimate programs.
While PC Matic doesn’t have all the advanced features of top antiviruses like Norton and McAfee, it’s very affordable, does the basics well, and offers a lifetime subscription option. It’s also available in 7 languages, including English, Japanese, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German.
PC Matic Security Features
PC Matic’s malware scanner uses whitelisting to block malicious programs. This means that PC Matic has a database of known “good” programs and blocks programs that aren’t on that database. If a program isn’t on PC Matic’s list, it’s automatically sent to the company’s testing team. If it proves to be safe, it ends up on the whitelist. You can manually whitelist a program if you don’t want to wait until PC Matic’s team tests it.
PC Matic says that blacklisting programs isn’t effective because hackers constantly come up with new threats. The logic is that it’s easier to keep track of good programs than it is to keep up with new malware.
This sounds good, but there are two problems with this approach:
- 1. PC Matic regularly blocks valid programs. If a program isn’t on its whitelist, PC Matic will block it — regardless of whether it’s an actual threat or not. Sure, the PC Matic team looks into unknown programs and you can whitelist programs, but getting a lot of false positives can be annoying.
- 2. PC Matic likes to say that other antiviruses only use blacklists to prevent malware. It’s true that antivirus programs use blacklists, but they also use other advanced methods to detect malicious behavior. Premium antiviruses like Norton and Bitdefender use malware databases, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to identify and block emerging and advanced threats.
PC Matic also has a feature that detects malicious scripting activity — malware that, unlike a .exe file, doesn’t need to be downloaded. It also provides some protection against brute force attacks, which is when a hacker tries to discover user logins and passwords by guessing them.
PC Matic’s approach to malware detection isn’t bad — but it’s not great either. I’d like to see PC Matic come up with a more effective way to separate safe, unknown programs from dangerous, unknown threats. However, I agree that it’s better for an antivirus program to show false positives than false negatives. And I can’t say that PC Matic’s approach doesn’t work — after all, it was excellent at blocking all types of malware during my tests.
PC Matic Comprehensive System Scan
PC Matic scans devices for a wide range of problems. It looks for malware, junk files, driver updates, broadband quality, and many other things that can harm or slow down your device.
When I tested PC Matic by running a scan, it completed in just 2 minutes, which was very strange. When I looked at the report, I saw that PC Matic actually didn’t perform malware scanning. I found this very unusual. The default scan settings include malware scanning — and PC Matic says it “HIGHLY” recommends keeping malware scanning checked. So, I gave PC Matic’s scan another try. The second scan was also finished very quickly (in 3 minutes), but the report included malware scanning this time.
The second scan detected all of my malware samples, but it also flagged a couple of legitimate files. As I already mentioned, it’s better for an antivirus to flag legit programs than to miss malicious ones, but this still may be confusing to some users.
PC Matic also has a simple-to-use scan scheduler. When the first system check is complete, you can schedule a scan for any device registered under your account. To schedule a scan for all my devices, I simply had to set a time and date and go through the default options to see if I wanted to make any changes. For example, I could schedule a full scan instead of a quick scan or disable automatic driver updates. I could also choose to receive my scan results by email — which is pretty useful as I like to run scans on my home PC while I go to run errands.
Overall, PC Matic’s scan is decent. I found it very easy to scan my computer and schedule both individual and group scans. However, while its whitelisting strategy is okay, I’d like to see PC Matic include more advanced malware-fighting technology, like Norton and McAfee do.
PC Matic Report & Cleanup
After completing a scan, PC Matic delivers a detailed, color-coded report with explanations and recommendations. The report is packed with information, and while some users may find it quite useful, I honestly felt pretty overwhelmed. After thoroughly inspecting the dashboard instructions, I understood what every color represented (for instance, red is for issues that require immediate action, gray is for skipped scans, and dark blue is a non-essential tweak). But, I think that the report should be much clearer and easier to understand.
Once I inspected my report, I proceeded to fix the issues that PC Matic found. I could choose whether I wanted to fix all the problems or skip some of them. SSD disk users aren’t warned that they should uncheck the disc defragmentation option before fixing their issues. This seemed a bit wrong to me because it’d be easy to miss that box, and experts recommend SSD disk users do not use defragmentation. I was surprised that PC Matic even offered me this option because it recognized that I had an SSD disk during the scan. Still, I like that I had the choice to disable this option.
PC Matic resolved all the issues in just a couple of minutes. It advised me to restart my computer and do another scan to make sure there were no more problems. I followed the instructions, and PC Matic didn’t find any new issues.
I like that PC Matic’s report is detailed, but I think it could be easier to understand and better organized. However, the cleanup process is quick and simple, and I like how you can select whether to fix all the problems or just some of them.
PC Matic does real-time malware protection differently. Antiviruses like Norton, Bitdefender, and Intego have real-time protection already included, but PC Matic offers SuperShield, an additional feature that needs to be downloaded separately.
SuperShield uses PC Matic’s “global whitelist” — all the things PC Matic thinks are legitimate — to recognize and stop malware from infecting devices.
You can turn on SuperShield at the end of PC Matic’s installation process, or you can enable it later. However, keep in mind that you can’t use SuperShield until you perform at least one system scan.
To make sure SuperShield is running on your computer, check your system tray. If the SuperShield icon is green, you’re protected. If the icon is yellow, SuperShield is updating, and if it’s red, SuperShield isn’t working.
SuperShield is easy to use and understand. I could access the SuperShield report from my dashboard, which showed all programs and apps that were running or trying to run on my device. A green circle next to an entry means it’s a good program. Yellow circles indicate unknown programs, and red circles indicate unknown or malicious programs that were blocked.
I wanted to see how SuperShield reacted to malware, so I tested it against some ransomware. As soon as I downloaded the ransomware simulator, SuperShield blocked the software. I then whitelisted the ransomware simulator and ran it on my device, but SuperShield was super persistent and wouldn’t let it execute, which is great!
Overall, SuperShield does a pretty good job at stopping malware from entering your system. I tested this by putting other malware on my PC, including viruses and trojans, and SuperShield blocked every one. SuperShield also blocked legitimate programs during my tests. However, I could whitelist the programs that I knew were safe.
Keep in mind that manually whitelisting programs is ONLY recommended if you’re 100% certain that they are legitimate. Unknown programs are automatically sent to the PC Matic team for inspection, and it takes the team a couple of hours to analyze them. If you’re not absolutely sure that a blocked program is good, wait for the PC Matic team to inspect it and determine whether it’s safe or dangerous.
In general, I think it’s really weird that real-time protection is optional. That said, SuperShield was simple to use and consistently prevented malware from executing on my device. However, it also prevented safe and unknown programs from running, which is a bit annoying. But the PC Matic team is quick to analyze unknown programs, and you can manually whitelist programs you know are safe.
Overall, PC Matic’s SuperShield is a decent real-time malware protection tool — that said, it’s definitely not my favorite (Norton’s is way better).
PC Matic blocks all unknown programs regardless of whether they’re malicious or not — but you can whitelist unknown programs you know are safe.
If PC Matic blocks a program during a system scan, you can easily whitelist it from within the dashboard. PC Matic shows a list of blocked programs, and all you have to do is check the whitelist box next to the program you want to unblock.
If PC Matic flags a file as unsafe but you still want to use it, you can use the Quarantine tool to restore it. All you have to do is open the Options tab on the dashboard, select Quarantine, choose the item you want to restore, and click Restore.
However, when I wanted to whitelist a program that SuperShield blocked, things got a bit complicated. I had to:
- Click on the SuperShield icon in the system tray.
- Hover over Protection Level > Block Notification Method.
- Select Prompt for Override (advanced).
- Open the program I wanted to whitelist.
- A window appeared and I selected Always Allow.
After I whitelisted a program, I had to return SuperShield’s settings to normal (the default option is Display Only — Recommended) to prevent it from whitelisting ALL blocked programs in the future — including dangerous ones like malware.
Whitelisting programs that are blocked during a system scan is simple, but I’d like to see an easier solution for whitelisting programs from within SuperShield. However, I think it’s great that users don’t have to wait for PC Matic to whitelist programs that are legitimate — just don’t forget to return SuperShield’s setting to default when you’re done manually whitelisting programs!
IdentityForce Dark Web Monitoring
PC Matic recently teamed up with IdentityForce to offer dark web monitoring. From your PC Matic account page, you can click Register Dark Web Monitoring. This will activate a membership with IdentityForce, which grants you access to its services.
Once you’re registered, you can add various details to your account, such as listing details of your wallet contents to make canceling your cards easier should you be a victim of theft. There’s also a basic password manager to store your passwords and generate new ones, and you can add your social media account details so IdentityForce can monitor them too.
As soon as I registered, PC Matic ran a scan on my details and immediately alerted me to a breach involving my email address. It gave me clear and simple advice on what to do to rectify the situation (changing the password on my account and any other places where I’ve used the same password).
I was pretty impressed with the dark web monitoring overall. You do have to go through an additional registration process because the service is provided by an external company, but it only takes a couple of minutes, and once you’re in, the tools on offer are quite comprehensive. It can’t quite compete with Norton’s live agent approach to dark web monitoring, but it’s certainly a useful addition to PC Matic’s features (and unlike Norton’s dark web monitoring, it’s not restricted to certain countries).
PC Matic Plans and Pricing
PC Matic’s Home Security plan is one of the most affordable antivirus programs on the market. While it’s pretty basic when compared to top brands like Norton or TotalAV, it’s a decent option if you don’t need a lot of extra internet security features. PC Matic offers yearly or lifetime options on the Home Security plan. Unfortunately, unlike brands such as Avira and Panda, PC Matic doesn’t offer a free plan.
Here’s an overview of PC Matic’s plans:
|PC Matic Home Security||PC Matic Lifetime|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Price||$50.00 / year||$150.00|
|Number of device licenses||5||5|
|Malware scanning & removal||✅||✅|
|System tune-up tools||✅||✅|
|Dark web monitoring||✅||✅|
PC Matic Home Security — Annual Plan
PC Matic’s Home Security includes:
- Coverage for up to 5 devices.
- Real-time malware protection.
- PC optimization and maintenance.
- Scan scheduling for one or all devices.
- Dark web monitoring.
- Ad blocker.
You can also get several add-ons. There’s PC Magnum, a program that permanently deletes sensitive information from devices and browsers. There’s also a Family Identity Theft Protection add-on, which protects 2 adults and unlimited kids from having their identities stolen online and includes identity theft insurance and stolen funds reimbursement of $1 million. If you’re based in the US, there’s the Support Unlimited add-on too, which offers unlimited technical support for all of your devices (but it’s pretty expensive).
Priced at $50.00 / year, PC Matic is cheaper than many other antivirus programs, but it doesn’t include many of the features premium competitors offer. For example, Norton 360 comes with a VPN, a password manager, cloud storage, and more — this is a much better value.
PC Matic Lifetime — Best Value Plan
PC Matic’s Lifetime subscription is a great value — it only costs $150.00 and provides unlimited access to PC Matic’s features and unlimited updates. It’s rare for an antivirus to offer a lifetime option, so PC Matic Lifetime is an excellent deal. However, before making the commitment, you need to be sure that PC Matic is the right antivirus for you. If you’re interested, you can try PC Matic risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PC Matic Ease of Use and Setup
PC Matic is super easy to use — it has a very intuitive interface and all of its features are easy to access and understand. It’s also nice how PC Matic is available in multiple languages besides English, including Japanese, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German.
The best part is that PC Matic does all the work for you. You don’t have to use advanced features or deal with complicated settings to be protected against malware. Because of this, PC Matic is a particularly good choice for beginners and non-tech-savvy users looking for a minimalistic, install-and-forget antivirus.
Installing and setting up PC Matic was simple. After I purchased PC Matic Home Security, I was redirected to the Getting Started page on the official website. There, I could go through tutorials, how-to-videos, and FAQs before installing the software.
Once I clicked on the Install PC Matic button, I was asked to choose my operating system. Even though “PC” is in the name, PC Matic works on Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS.
After choosing Windows, all I had to do was click on the Download button, confirm I had removed all other antivirus software from my system, and follow the installation instructions. When the installation was complete, I was prompted to launch PC Matic and log into my account. And that was it — installation complete!
All I had to do next was run a scan and enable SuperShield — which also didn’t take long and was just as easy (even though I didn’t like having to install a separate feature for real-time protection).
Using most of PC Matic’s features was very easy for me. I had no trouble running antivirus scans, scheduling scans, or adding safe programs to the whitelist. However, I did find some of SuperShield’s features a bit tricky.
When I wanted to whitelist a program from within SuperShield, I had to find a tutorial. Thankfully, PC Matic’s website has a great selection of FAQs and guides that clearly showed me how to whitelist programs that I use regularly.
Overall, PC Matic is easy to set up and use — I just had to make a purchase, download the program from the official site, and install it on my computer. I like that there are tons of step-by-step guides and videos on the site with detailed instructions on installing the program and dealing with any issues.
PC Matic Mobile App
PC Matic has two mobile apps: one for Android and one for iOS. Installing the apps was simple — all I had to do was download them (from the Google Play Store for my Android device and Apple App Store for my iPhone) and log into my PC Matic account.
The apps are pretty basic — with the Android app you get just two options:
- Scan all of my applications.
- Scan all of my files.
I tested both options, and both scans were finished in less than 10 seconds. The report only showed how many applications and files were scanned and how many infections were detected.
I then accessed the app’s menu, located in the upper right-hand corner. From the menu, I could access the app’s settings, scan history, web portal, and files that couldn’t be removed.
In the app’s settings, I could choose to view my whitelisted apps and schedule a scan. I could also choose to update the software only when I’m connected to a Wi-Fi network.
While the app doesn’t have many options, it works great. It’s not my favorite antivirus app for Android— I think there are many better options, including Norton. That said, I found it really easy to access and understand all of PC Matic’s mobile features, and performing and scheduling scans was very simple.
The iPhone app bills itself as a content blocker (iOS apps don’t scan for malware because of Apple’s restrictions). It’s very easy to install, with the app itself telling you exactly what you need to do to get it set up.
Once installed, you can use the app to filter certain kinds of content while you browse on Safari. There are 4 options for blocking content: an ad filter, a social media blocker, a privacy filter to block trackers and analytics, and a security filter to protect you from malicious sites. These were all pretty effective in my tests.
The iPhone app also offers the option to monitor all the devices you have covered with PC Matic. You can check notifications and protection status for each of your devices — this is a handy extra that the Android app doesn’t have.
PC Matic Customer Support
PC Matic doesn’t have phone support or a human live chat, but they do have a live chatbot, email support, and a knowledge base with a wide range of user tutorials.
The live chatbot is only useful for basic questions about PC Matic, like how to add it to a new device or renew your license.
For advanced questions, you need to send an email to PC Matic’s technical support team. I submitted a question using the email request form on the official site and got an automated email saying they’d get back to me as soon as possible. I received an answer in less than half an hour!
I was honestly impressed with PC Matic’s customer support — the answer I received was very detailed and easy to understand, and the support representative followed up with an email asking if I’d resolved the issue.
I also contacted PC Matic’s customer support team to request a refund. Although the site says that you have to contact the company by phone for this, I sent an email and they again got back to me in just 30 minutes. They confirmed my request and informed me that I could expect a refund in 5-7 days. And indeed, I received my refund exactly as promised.
PC Matic also has a ton of resources on their site, including:
- User guides that explain how PC Matic works.
- How-to videos.
- FAQs about all PC Matic products.
- Instructions on how to recognize and prevent tech support scams.
I really like the user guides and how-to videos. They’re very helpful when you’re getting started with PC Matic, or if you have any trouble setting up and using the software.
Overall, PC Matic’s customer support is really good. There’s no live chat or phone support, but the live chatbot is helpful for basic questions, and the email support is quick to respond and provides detailed answers.
Final Verdict: Is PC Matic Any Good?
PC Matic is a decent antivirus program. Its whitelist-based malware scanner performed well in my tests, and its real-time scanner blocked all of the malware I tried to execute.
During my tests, PC Matic blocked a lot of legitimate programs simply because they weren’t in the PC Matic whitelist — but that’s OK. I think it’s better to get a couple of false positives than even one false negative. But I can’t say I’m too happy with the way PC Matic deals with unknown programs.
PC Matic also scanned my computer for performance issues and quickly resolved all detected problems. I like that it provides system optimization, but I wish the system scan reports were easier to understand.
I found PC Matic’s mobile apps basic but pretty user-friendly — they’re good for people who don’t want to bother with advanced options.
There are plenty of excellent resources on the official PC Matic website, and the customer support team is quick to answer questions. I received a reply to my email in less than half an hour, and the answer was really detailed. However, there’s no phone line or human live chat like there is with other antiviruses such as Norton or TotalAV. The AI-powered live chatbot is useful for basic questions, though.
Overall, PC Matic isn’t the best antivirus program available. While its malware detection rate is really good, it doesn’t use advanced malware detection technology, like AI or machine learning. It also lacks many of the features included in the best antiviruses with internet security. But it’s still a decent option for users who want an antivirus and system optimization scanner that’s easy to install and use, and it includes all the essential features you need to stay protected against most malware.
PC Matic — Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use PC Matic on mobile?
PC Matic works on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. The Android app is somewhat basic, but it works well. It provides malware protection, but it doesn’t have the useful device optimization tools that are included in the desktop version. However, it’s still a good choice for users who are looking for a simple, install-and-forget antivirus for mobile.
The iPhone version is also basic but decent, with some good content blocking options and the ability to monitor your other devices that are protected with PC Matic. That said, there are better options out there — I recommend checking out the best antiviruses for iOS that provide protection against a wide range of cybersecurity threats.
Is PC Matic free?
No, PC Matic doesn’t have a free version, which is a bit disappointing. However, you can try PC Matic risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you’re looking for a free antivirus program, you could try one of the best free antiviruses in 2023. On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend a couple of bucks on a premium antivirus, PC Matic Home Security is a decent option. It includes malware protection and device optimization features. PC Matic is also one of the only antiviruses to offer a lifetime subscription.
Is PC Matic secure?
Yes — PC Matic is a very secure antivirus program that uses whitelisting to detect malware. It performed really well in my malware tests, even though it doesn’t use the same technology as some of the top antiviruses on the market.
Instead of the traditional blacklisting used by most antiviruses, PC Matic has a list of “good” programs and blocks the execution of files that aren’t on this whitelist, including various kinds of malware. While this unique approach does work, PC Matic frequently blocks legitimate programs, too.
I think regularly getting false positives is pretty frustrating. Also, I don’t like that PC Matic doesn’t have many of the online security protections included in the best internet security suites like Norton 360.
What is PC Matic Magnum?
PC Matic Magnum is a program that removes sensitive information from your browser and device. It permanently deletes your browsing history, download history, cache, image cache, and cookies — and can also remove MS Office and PDF files.
PC Matic Magnum can be purchased separately or as an add-on to the PC Matic package. It covers up to 5 devices, and it’s a good program, but a lot of the top-tier internet security companies, such as Norton, offer data removal tools as part of their antivirus plans.