PC Matic Antivirus 2024: Review Summary
PC Matic is ranked #14 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.
PC Matic has excellent anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, and a low price. However, it has many false positives, which means it frequently mistakes harmless files for malware.
On top of that, it lacks many security features. Compared to industry leaders like Norton and Bitdefender, it lacks a firewall, password manager, and VPN.
We therefore prefer Norton 360 Deluxe. It has better test scores, more security features, and a lower price. It’s simply a superior antivirus program.
- Malware protection: 95%. PC Matic detected and removed most of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
- Speed impact: 100%. PC Matic anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
- Features: 40%. PC Matic offers anti-malware and anti-phishing, but lacks a firewall, password manager, and VPN.
- Price: 60%. PC Matic is affordable. But considering what features you get, Norton offers far more value for money.
If you want the best protection, we recommend Norton.
|Ranking||#14 of 28|
|Operating systems||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android|
PC Matic Antivirus 2024: Full Review
We tested PC Matic and found it simple to use and set up. It relies on whitelisting to stop malware, which is effective but can mistakenly block safe programs. While its apps for Windows and Mac are solid, the mobile versions for iOS and Android could be better. Compared to big names like Norton and McAfee, it lacks some advanced features but is budget-friendly and offers a lifetime subscription. Plus, it’s available in seven languages.
We put PC Matic’s anti-malware capabilities to the test. It uses a whitelist approach to block suspicious programs. Anything not on its “good list” gets blocked and sent for review. This can take up to 24 hours, but you can manually whitelist a program if you’re in a hurry. PC Matic argues that this is better than blacklisting, which struggles to keep up with new malware.
However, we found two issues:
- It often blocks legit software, which can be annoying.
- While it downplays other antiviruses’ blacklisting, top-tier options like Norton use more advanced methods like AI and machine learning to identify new threats.
PC Matic also offers some protection against brute force attacks and detects malicious scripts. In our scans, it was quick but inconsistent. The first scan skipped malware scanning, but the second one caught all the malware samples we had. It did, however, flag some safe files.
The software also allows for easy scan scheduling and provides an additional layer of protection against fileless malware, which is commendable.
Overall, PC Matic’s anti-malware features are decent but not groundbreaking. Its whitelist approach works but has room for improvement. We’d like to see more advanced features in line with competitors like Norton and McAfee.
Report and cleanup
We examined PC Matic’s reporting and cleanup process. After scanning, it gives a color-coded report full of details and recommendations. The colors indicate the severity of issues, but we found the report a bit overwhelming initially. It took some time to understand what each color meant.
When it came to fixing the issues, PC Matic was quick, taking only a few minutes. One caveat: SSD users aren’t warned about the disk defragmentation option, which is generally not advisable for SSDs. We were surprised the software offered this, especially since it detected our SSD during the scan.
After resolving the issues and a system restart, a follow-up scan showed no new problems.
Overall, while the report could be clearer, the cleanup is quick and straightforward. It’s not as comprehensive as some competitors like TotalAV, but it allows for user choice in what issues to resolve.
We explored SuperShield, PC Matic’s take on real-time malware protection, which comes as a separate download. Unlike other antiviruses that include real-time protection by default, with PC Matic, you have to enable SuperShield after at least one system scan.
The status of SuperShield is displayed in your system tray: green means you’re protected, yellow indicates updates, and red means it’s not working. We found SuperShield straightforward to use. Its dashboard shows all running programs, color-coded for safety.
We tested it against various types of malware, including ransomware. SuperShield was highly effective, blocking all attempts to infect our system. However, it also flagged some legitimate software, which you can manually whitelist if you’re certain it’s safe.
While it’s odd that real-time protection is optional, SuperShield does its job well. It’s good at blocking malware but can be a bit overzealous with safe programs. It’s a useful feature, though not as seamless as competitors like Norton.
We dove into PC Matic’s whitelisting feature, which allows users to approve safe but unknown programs. Post-scan, you can easily whitelist a program from the list of blocked items. If you accidentally quarantine a safe file, restoring it is straightforward via the ‘Quarantine’ option in the dashboard.
Whitelisting gets trickier with SuperShield. The process involves multiple steps, including clicking the system tray icon, navigating through several menus, and then manually allowing the program. Afterward, you have to reset SuperShield’s settings to avoid allowing all blocked programs in the future.
While the basic whitelisting is user-friendly, SuperShield could make it simpler. Competitors like Bitdefender offer easier ways to add exceptions. Overall, PC Matic’s whitelisting is effective but could benefit from streamlining, especially in SuperShield.
Dark web monitor
The dark web monitoring, done in collaboration with IdentityForce, is thorough. After a quick signup, it scans for your information in breaches and provides actionable advice. It doesn’t match the real-time support of Norton’s dark web monitoring, but it’s a strong feature nonetheless.
The Ad Blocker works well but doesn’t offer anything more than its backbone, uBlock Origin. So, while effective, we’d prefer a more customized solution like what TotalAV offers.
As for the VPN, it has standard features like 256-bit encryption and supports up to 5 devices. But it’s not included in PC Matic’s main plans and comes with an $80/year separate price tag. Given similar-priced but more feature-rich alternatives like ExpressVPN, we find it a bit steep.
The Android app is basic but efficient, offering to scan apps and files quickly. It’s not as feature-rich as competitors like Norton, but it’s user-friendly. The iOS app is more of a content blocker due to Apple’s restrictions. It effectively blocks ads, social media, and tracks privacy, and also lets you monitor all your PC Matic protected devices, which the Android app lacks. Overall, PC Matic’s mobile apps do the job but don’t stand out.
Regarding customer support, there’s no live chat or phone support, but they do offer a chatbot for quick answers. We emailed a complex query and got an in-depth answer in just 30 minutes. When requesting a refund through email, the money was back in our account on the same day, which was impressive. Their website also provides excellent resources like how-to videos and user guides.
The customer support was surprisingly fast and efficient, even if it lacks some of the immediate contact options that competitors offer.
Plans and pricing
We examined PC Matic’s plans, pricing, and usability to give you an insider’s look.
PC Matic offers three plans: a Free Plan, an Annual Plan, and a Lifetime Plan. The Free Plan is basic, covering up to 3 Windows computers with real-time malware protection and ad-blocking. It lacks dark web monitoring and device optimization. We found it to be an okay starter option but prefer Avira’s free plan for added features like a VPN.
The Annual Plan, at $50/year, adds coverage for 5 devices and includes dark web monitoring and PC optimization. Optional pricey add-ons include identity theft protection and unlimited technical support. While cheaper than many competitors, it doesn’t offer as many features as premium options like Norton 360.
The Lifetime Plan stands out at $150, offering all the Annual Plan features for a one-time payment. It’s a great value if you’re certain PC Matic meets your needs, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
As for usability, PC Matic excels. Installation is straightforward and the interface is user-friendly. It’s available in multiple languages, making it accessible for a wide audience. We found that most features are easy to use, though some advanced settings in SuperShield could be a bit tricky. Thankfully, PC Matic’s website offers helpful tutorials and FAQs for any difficulties you might encounter.
In summary, PC Matic offers a range of affordable plans but lacks some advanced features found in competitors. It shines in user-friendly design and is especially suitable for those who want a straightforward, easy-to-use solution.
Plans and pricing
In the table below are the core products with their features and prices.
The prices shown are from the USA. However, most brands have different prices (and currencies) in other regions. So visit the brand’s website to see the price in our country.
Test score comparison
Next to our own anti-malware tests, we analyze those by AV-Test. We’ve compared the results of the 10 most recent tests for Windows 10. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:
- Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
- Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
- Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.
We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:
Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.
Brands not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.
We’ve compared the prices of the top antivirus products for Windows. To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a single Windows PC with the most essential features:
- Anti-phishing (web protection)
- Password manager
- Unlimited VPN (no data limit)
A few notes:
- Some brands are missing features, lowering their value for money.
- Prices are second-year prices in the USA, without first-year discounts.
- Prices are rounded up for readability (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100).
Brands have different prices outside the USA. See those on their website.
We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.
Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.
We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.
How we test antivirus software
Below we describe how we run our tests. For even more details, visit our blog posts on how we test antivirus software.
Anti-malware protection test
We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.
We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.
Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.
False positives test
False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.
System performance test
We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.
We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.
Password manager test
We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) test
We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.
Parental control test
We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.
Anti-phishing protection test
We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.
Ransomware protection test
We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.
Bonus features test
We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:
- Ad Blocker
- Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
- Email protection
- File encryption
- File shredder
- Gaming mode
- Microphone protection
- PC maintenance features
- Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
- Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)
- Spam filter
- Startup optimizer
- Tune up tools
- Virtual keyboard
- Webcam protection
Ownership and reputation test
We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most frequently asked questions.
Is PC Matic a good antivirus program?
How do we test antivirus software?
We analyze the protection from malware, the performance impact on a PC, and the number of false positives. On top of that, we test various security features such as the firewall, password manager, VPN, and more.
Author: Tibor Moes
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab