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PCMatic vs McAfee: Which one to choose?
McAfee is a reliable antivirus product that’s been around for more than three decades. It focuses on protecting users against malware, ransomware, phishing, and other types of threats. PC Matic, in turn, is more of an optimization suite, a set of tools for a performance boost, optimization, and, of course, protection. For the average user looking for an all-in-one kind of solution, it will be the preferable pick.
This software provides the best balance between pricing and functionality. McAfee also includes tune-up and cleaning tools, but they’re not as effective. In this PC Matic vs McAfee comparison, we’ll talk about their main features, extras, real-world performance, support, pricing, plans, and more, to help you make the right choice.
McAfee vs PC Matic: Main Features Comparison
As we just said, PC Matic is a different kind of service: it aims at overall system optimization, not just anti-malware protection. But, before we get into the specifics, let’s take a look at the features that it shares with McAfee:
- Real-time protection against known threats (viruses and Trojans);
- Automatic, manual, and scheduled scans;
- Anti-phishing and ransomware protection;
- Spyware protection;
- Device optimization tools.
Yes, the list is pretty short, but, as you can see, PCMatic protects not only against malware but also spyware and phishing. On top of that, it features an Automated Maintenance feature that takes care of performance optimization without the user’s involvement. It gets rid of unnecessary files, defragments all discs, frees up the start-up list, and cleans the registry.
It can also download and install all the latest drivers, make Internet Explorer work faster, and fix all security “holes” in the OS as part of a maintenance routine. None of that is available with McAfee, which is why we’re calling PC Matic the winner in this round of the McAfee vs PCMatic competition. You get more by paying less, and while some of the PCMatic extras are almost exact copies of the Windows services, most of them are worth our praise.
To figure out which software is more reliable, we had to run a series of in-house tests and compare them to third-party results. In the virus (malware) detection test, PC Matic managed to earn a perfect rating. However, it had a high rate of false positives (more than 800) and lags behind the competition in this regard. In the AV-Test evaluation, it performed flawlessly in the performance test; sadly, it was only average in the zero-day attack test.
Our team planted several malicious samples, and PC Matic instantly blocked them all. A quick note: this software follows the whitelisting approach, which is relatively new. Most antivirus products create blacklists – databases with known malicious code – and keep adding new ones whenever they emerge. In contrast, whitelisting is when the antivirus creates a catalog of harmless files and skips them every time they “pop up.”
It means you’ll have to manually “tell” the program which files/apps should be left alone, which is a downside. Check out our review to learn more about this. McAfee performed similarly well in the AV-Test evaluation. The bad news is – in the real-time test, it fell behind the leaders and achieved only average results. As for ransomware and phishing, the two programs performed decently. The scanning options are also alike.
PCMatic is a Windows-heavy product, meaning it was specifically designed to work on this platform. It’s also available on Macs and Android devices (not currently compatible with iOS), but, again, it would be best to experience it on the Microsoft operating system. The main dashboard is a bit overcrowded and looks like a screenshot from a sports match rather than anything else.
But, it only took us five minutes to make sense of PC Matic and its navigation. Everything becomes easy once you familiarize yourself with the various options and menus. The macOS client isn’t as impressive, however, and for that reason, we recommend switching to McAfee if you’re an avid Macintosh fan. This software has one of the best apps for that platform and comes packed with an impressive list of features.
We want to stress out again that right now, PC Matic isn’t available on iOS. And, its Android and Mac versions are not as comprehensive and complex as the Windows edition. Some reviews claim that PC Matic is only compatible with computers running on Win 10 and nothing else, but that’s not really true. It’s just that it fulfills its true potential on this system.
Extra Features Comparison
When it comes to the list of extras, McAfee is a far more preferable pick. Here are just some of its features that are not available with PC Matic:
- Personal firewall (protects the network from outside attacks that try to take over it);
- Parental controls (used to set up restrictions and limitations on your kid’s computer for their protection);
- Safe browser (automatically launches whenever you bank or shop online. The browser prevents hackers from stealing your logins and passwords);
- Password manager (helps with creating sophisticated, hard-to-crack passwords and syncing them all together);
- Data shredder (get rids of unwanted files for good – they can’t be recovered after this);
- Gamer mode (eliminates the chance of random messages popping up when you’re playing a videogame).
As you can see, McAfee has quite an impressive set of extra features. While you might not need the gamer mode (also known as the “silent” mode) or parental controls, the firewall and the safe browser will definitely come in handy. We talked about PC Matic’s extended list of optimization tools earlier, and in that regard, it’s a better pick. But, if you need an antivirus solution that also includes several vital additional features, we recommend going with McAfee.
PCMatic lacks a live chat and support over the phone. However, McAfee’s live help isn’t of much use, as the company only provides an automated bot that can answer the most basic questions. Email support is available with both products; yet, you can’t create a ticket if you’re a McAfee user. To test how fast and helpful the support agents are, we got in contact with them during different times of the weak and using different devices.
Summing up, we can say that as far as customer service goes, there isn’t much difference between McAfee and PCMatic. Ideally, we would’ve liked to see a live chat with real people on the other side of the line. The good news is – you can use FAQ sections and knowledge bases with lots of information on the official websites and try to solve whatever problems might occur on your own.
That’s not all: easy-to-understand guides and how-to videos are also a part of the picture. These resources will help you understand the basics of using an antivirus/optimization tool. They cover registration, download, installation, cleaning, organizing, and more. PCMatic’s website is a bit harder to navigate, but it won’t take you long to make sense of it all. Both products are very easy to install, and a full system scan is always a couple of clicks away.
Pricing and Packages Comparison
- PCMatic Annual Subscription – $50 per year
- PCMatic Lifetime Subscription – $150/year
- McAfee Total Protection – $29/year
- McAfee LiveSafe – $39/year
You’ll have a choice between two packages no matter which antivirus you pick. With PC Matic, the only difference between the available plans is how long they last. They protect the same number of devices (up to five in total), but with Lifetime, you can stop worrying about your subscription running out. It will stay active for as long as you have the software installed – just like the name suggests.
In a way, McAfee is similar but takes a different approach. While Total Protection covers one to ten devices for one full year, LiveSafe covers an unlimited number of devices (also for one year). So, it’s up to you to decide which offer suits you best in 2020. Both products have a 30-day refund policy (money-back guarantee). PCMatic doesn’t offer a free trial.
With McAfee, you can always rely on a 30-day free trial of the Total Protection package. However, there’s no McAfee free (we’re talking about a 100 percent free edition of the product). PCMatic is available as a free solution. Sadly, it can only run tests; to fix anything, you’ll have to pay (upgrade to a paid package).
Here’s our verdict: while McAfee is an affordable product and features a free trial, PC Matic is the better option here. Thanks to the generous pricing policy and the multitude of maintenance features, it will be a good investment for your money. As for its Lifetime subscription, it is a one-of-a-kind deal and will protect five devices for…a lifetime.
- A unique approach to detecting and eliminating malware
- Whitelisting, Fileless Script Block and RDP Port Controls
- Compatible with every single Windows OS, starting with XP
- Available in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese
- Full support of Android devices
- Automated PC Maintenance
- Low system Impact, works with decades-old computers
- Built-in AdBlocker
- Very user-friendly, easy to install
- McAfee offers full-featured protection.
- This is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use antiviruses.
- Reliability is well above average, but not superb.
- Value: above average.
- Money-Back Guarantee is 30-days-long.