Today, with international hackers stealing Bitcoins with untraceable apps and planting viruses on our devices to gain access to sensitive data, it is very important to use contemporary solutions in order to protect ourselves. Windows 10 and the latest Mac OS have improved security measures, but they’re just not enough, especially if you’re connected to the Internet 24/7. McAfee certainly is one of the most recognized antiviruses today, and for a good reason. This antivirus is easy to use, support is excellent, and the prices are affordable.
The company was founded more than three decades ago (in 1987, to be exact), and has always had a perfect reputation. As a branch of Intel (since 2010 when Intel bought the company), the famous American tech giant, it has all the resources needed to provide the best possible protection. As of 2014, it is one of the five major antivirus manufacturers and holds 5.7% of the worldwide market. Numerous moguls around the world trust McAfee to keep their precious data safe.
On the downside, real-time protection could be stronger, even though it does perform better than average in multiple tests ran by third-party companies. So, what does that mean for the average consumers? Is it wise to trust this company with protecting your sensitive data or not? Or maybe it’s time to switch your focus to other providers of antivirus packages like Kaspersky or Bitdefender? Read our detailed McAfee review and find out! Our objective team of experts will help you decide whether this antivirus engine is on par with the leaders or lagging behind the top-5.
- 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.
- MBG (Money-Back Guarantee) is 30-days-long .
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- It’s safe to say that if you’re planning on protecting your home and/or business (it can be a tiny enterprise or a huge firm), the McAfee Antivirus is a great pick.
- Furthermore, because of the smart licensing policy, you’re free to protect as many devices as you want with one single license, which, again, is perfect if you’re running a business.
- And finally, McAfee offers a line-up of totally free tools that allow you to implement parental control and block the spam that keeps knocking on the door of your email.
The List Of Pros And Cons
Like any other Antivirus out there, this one comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages – pros & cons. Let’s take a look at both and find out whether it’s the right choice for us or not.
Reliability & Security
Obviously, the #1 concern when it comes to antiviruses is security. As a general rule, there are two areas where they need to prove their worth. Those include the regular routine of scanning for viruses and the much more advanced and complicated process of real-time protection while data is being copied to your operating system.
So, does McAfee impress or disappoint? According to several well-respected third-party companies that specialize in testing various antivirus packages, McAfee security is in the top league for traditional virus detection (that’s true for every single package).
Lab Test Results
Let us take a look at the lab test results. These were done by independent third-party companies and are as objective as they come. With AV-Comparatives, the most trusted virus testing company, every single McAfee antivirus solution (package) performed flawlessly in the traditional virus detection tests. In real-time scanning, however, this product fell a bit behind the leaders and only managed to achieve average results. Still, the performance is solid and better than what most rivals on the market can offer.
Important note: the biggest concern with McAfee has always been its inconsistency. This August, it was ranked #5, with 100% detection; however, a month later, it dropped to #14. That’s why AV-Comparatives often publishes summary reports that include results of 5 independent tests. And in that report, McAfee has a 99.6% protection rate and is ranked #6. For example, Avira and Kaspersky, industry leaders, have a 99.7% protection rate. In the AV-Test test, McAfee performed even better and successfully blocked 100% of the potential threats.
Detection rates are critical, no doubt there, but the overall performance also plays a key role. And with McAfee running on your device, you won’t feel a significant drop in performance. The Task Manager shows that even though there can be as much as 20 background process working when McAfee is active, they require very little resources to operate.
Overall, they use up to 200MB of RAM, which is quite alright. As far as CPU and hard drive usage go, McAfee is one of the least demanding engines on the market. Again: there is almost no impact on performance with this one.
In 2016, McAfee earned only 15 points out of 18 in the AV-Test tryouts. However, this year, it earned a perfect score (18) – that means it’s excellent at protecting against malware, detecting malicious websites, and putting little strain on performance. Kaspersky and Avira are the only two other antiviruses that earned 18 points. Bitdefender came in second with 17.5. That proves that while in the past, McAfee wasn’t the most reliable solution, today, it’s on par with the leaders of the race.
According to the experts, you’ll never have a complete picture unless you run a ransomware simulator on your device and see how the antivirus behaves. Ransomware is an app/small program that infests your computer/gadget and encrypts any images, documents, and MP3 files it can get to. And a good antivirus should be able to find it and kill it. For example, during our test, Kaspersky was able to detect it early on.
First of all, it neutralized the threat. Secondly, it “healed” the encrypted files. Sadly, McAfee failed at even recognizing our ransomware as a potential threat and let it encrypt a massive number of files. But don’t let this test disappoint you. As mentioned, in real-world tests, this engine successfully detects and neutralizes most threats based on behavior alone, and that’s what counts at the end of the day.
For malware to steal data, get in control of a device remotely, or cause any other harm, the coder needs to know the OS by heart and find ways to “fool” it. A phishing coder, on the other hand, has only one job: to make the user enter his/her login and password into a replica of a well-protected web site.
That way, they steal the credentials and can instantly access users’ credit cards, bank accounts, and more. The list of potentially dangerous websites is being constantly updated, but we decided to check whether McAfee would be able to recognize replicas that were reported but not yet analyzed.
We launched several phishing URLs in four browsers and were impressed by the results. According to statistics, 50% of the antivirus engines fail at protecting the device. Kaspersky used to be the leader with an ideal 100% protection rate. Well, now we have another victorious antivirus: McAfee with the same 100% protection score. Furthermore, it even proved to be better when tested on Mac OS. Kaspersky only blocked 84% of the dangerous URLs, while McAfee managed to perform flawlessly (100%).
Ease Of Use
We can say with certainty that McAfee is among the friendliest antiviruses available right now. The main window is very informative and shows all the necessary information, keeping the users up to date on the current state of things. By the way, you won’t have to reboot the antivirus or the device after installation – it will start to work as soon as it’s successfully installed.
The user interface allows you to get access to parental control, change something in the anti-spam settings, configure the firewall, and schedule future virus scans that will automatically launch when the time comes. Navigation is fast and intuitive.
In 2017, they changed the user interface of the Windows client, and now it’s faster, more intuitive, and looks great. In 2018, the Mac OS client received the same changes, and the two are almost identical. There’s a menu at the top that gives you access to every single feature the antivirus has. The menus include Account, Privacy, Identify, Security, and Home. Everything is right there in front of you and easily accessible. The buttons might seem too big, and the windows might look like they’re empty, but you’ll get used to it in no time.
To install any McAfee product, you need to go online and activate the license key you received after paying for a package. If you click “Yes” on Automatic Renewal, you’ll get the company’s Virus Protection Pledge service. With it, when any malware gets past the antivirus undetected, a team of highly qualified experts will solve the issue remotely. On its own, this service will cost you 89.95 dollars. And if they fail at neutralizing the malware, you’ll get your money back. To install McAfee, download the .exe file, launch it, and follow the guide.
It might take a while (up to 25 minutes on some older devices), but we had absolutely no problems with installation during out test. As mentioned earlier, the engine doesn’t put a strain on your CPU or your RAM, which means you can keep on using your computer/mobile gadget with it working in the background.
Unfortunately, the most important button – the one that runs a scan – isn’t accessible through one click. You’ll have to find the “Scan for viruses” feature and then choose between a Full and a Quick Scan. Custom scans aren’t available. And, the very first scan can take a while (up to 30 minutes). New scans will take significantly less time to complete. The McAfee scanning is average in terms of speed. Plus, it has an excellent detection rate and doesn’t raise any false alarms during the scan.
Available Packages And Extras
Here is a list of the available McAfee packages:
- Only available for Windows
- Basic protection
- 1 PC and 10 PCs editions are available
- Email Spam protection
- System Optimizer
McAfee AntiVirus Plus
- Optimization tools (PC only)
- iMac Protection
- iOS phone/tablet protection
- Android phone/tablet protection
- Secure Banking
- Safe Browsing
McAfee Internet Security
- Includes all the previous features
- Anti SPAM Security
- Password manager
McAfee Total Protection
- Includes all the previous features
- Secure Encrypted Storage
- Secure Payments
- PC Boost
- Identity Theft Protection (comes with 5 and 10-devices licenses)
- Parental control (only available with 10-devices license)
- Almost Identical Set of Features as Those of McAfee Total Protection
- The top tier comes with an unlimited number of licenses.
It’s important to note that McAfee LiveSafe and TP are the only products that one can buy on the official website. So, if you want the less expensive and more basic options, you’ll have to look for them elsewhere (3rd-party retailers, both physical and virtual, can help).
As one of the leading antivirus solutions on the market, McAfee offers competitive pricing:
$29.99 (1 device, only Windows OS)
McAfee Antivirus Plus:
$59.99 (1 device)
$69.99 (5 devices)
$89.99 (10 devices)
McAfee Internet Security:
$79.99 (1 device)
$89.99 (5 devices)
$99.99 (10 devices)
$69.99 (1 device)
$89.99 (5 devices)
$109.99 (10 devices).
$109.99 (protection for an unlimited number of devices)
McAfee Plus, Internet Security, and Total Protection come with a Free Trial. It lasts for 30 days, which is more than enough to see whether you like a particular product or not. Moreover, as the company often runs promotions, you’ll be able to purchase a package with a discount. The 2018 McAfee products work with the Windows 7-10 operating systems.
As for the cross-platform bundles, they work with Mac, iOS, Android, and other modern-day gadgets.
Are you keeping up with our McAfee review? Great, now let’s take a look at the costs:
- The most basic McAfee antivirus is available for $39.99. It’s good for only 1 PC for 12 months.
- McAfee Antivirus Plus costs $59.99 and can protect up to ten devices. However, please remember that the gadgets on iOS won’t be protected.
- Internet Security will be yours for $89.99. It’s also capable of simultaneously protecting ten devices.
- Total Protection is the most expensive product: for 1 device, you’ll have to pay $59.99 ($89.99 for 5 and $99.99 for 10). As for LiveSafe, it generally comes installed on brand-new personal computers and will also cost $99.99 for 1 year.
You’ll be happy to learn that McAfee Plus, Internet Security, and Total Protection come with a Free Trial period that allows you to use them for 30 days and see whether you like a certain product or not. Moreover, as the company often runs promotions, you can your preferred product with a discount.
McAfee Support and Customer Service
On the official website, you’ll find a FAQ section along with an extensive knowledge base. It will help you solve most problems on your own, without reaching out to customer support. The online chat system is excellent; you can also go old-school and call support or send an email. Tech support is available 24/7 (the phone number is toll-free, of course). McAfee customer service is highly professional, friendly, and the staff is always ready to lend that helping hand. Furthermore, users can buy all kinds of support packages.
PC Tune-up is a service for the computers that are too slow and freeze all the time. The experts at McAfee can help you improve your device’s performance by removing unnecessary apps/programs, stop non-essential apps from taking up precious CPU and RAM resources, and remove “junk” to free hard drive space. Furthermore, they will optimize your browser for a better experience, set up scheduled auto-organizational routines on your device, along with auto-checks, and enable automatic updates of the OS.
A one-time service will cost you $69.95; 1 year of constant support costs $179.95. This is the company’s McAfee®Concierge Gold package. With it, you’ll also get McAfee TechMate, home network setup, virus/malware removal, software installation/configuration, and, of course, PC and Internet tune-up for 1 PC/Mac (protection for two computers costs $209.95). On its own, the Virus Removal Service costs $89.95.
Is McAfee Any Good?
Without a doubt, McAfee is one of the most respected and trusted brands in the world of antiviruses. It’s capable of protecting your computers and gadgets from the modern-day threats. The 30-day money-back guarantee, 24/7 support and advanced encryption options on the more advanced products turn it into a competitive player on the market.
The unfairly high “pressure” they put on your device and the average real-time protection are the biggest downsides of the McAfee products. But again, the prices are competitive. And anti-spam, parental control, and the True Key app only add to the overall appeal.