PC Matic Antivirus Review

By Top10 Best Staff

 

Summary

PC Matic is antivirus software that uses a proprietary whitelisting technology to provide protection from malware and viruses—as opposed to many of its competitors, which use blacklisting technology to keep computers safe from malware.

Users can download a free version of PC Matic software, but can only perform required actions with a paid version, which costs $50 for one year or $300 for a lifetime subscription. While PC Matic excels at protecting PCs from virus and malware threats, it sometimes also blocks sites and programs that are safe, which can result in user frustration.

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​Highlights

  • Features: PC Matic includes whitelisting technology that keeps your computer safe from malware, zero-day attacks, and other viruses. When you purchase PC Matic, you also get security awareness training, an Adblocker, and automated PC maintenance to keep your computer running at its peak performance.  

  • Ease of Use: PC Matic is designed for PC users; it doesn’t cover tablets or mobile devices. It’s easiest for people who enjoy simple installation, and also users who don’t mind having a safe website blocked and then going in manually to PC Matic and adding it to the whitelist.

  • Reliability: PC Matic delivers on its promise of blocking viruses and malware and performs above average at protecting home computers. However, due to its whitelisting technology, it sometimes blocks programs and websites that are safe.

  • Value: Good value for your money

  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30-day

Best For

  • PC users

  • Individuals (PC Matic Pro is for businesses)

  • Users who want simple-to-use virus protection

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Blocks all malware and viruses

  • Good value for your money

  • Includes PC optimization tool

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • Sometimes blocks valid programs/files

  • Can slow down the launch of standard apps

Why Choose PC Matic

PC Matic uses different technology than most other antivirus tools to keep computers protected. Typical antivirus software like Avira and Bitdefender uses blacklisting technology, which means that they include a list of malware and viruses that the program defends against. PC Matic uses a whitelisting approach, which means that it includes a list of programs and sites that your computer can let in.

This means that when you use PC Matic, you’ll have a list of programs and websites that can gain access to your computer; everything else is blocked, including ransomware, advanced persistent threats (APTs), polymorphic viruses, and zero-day attacks.

The analogy the company gives is that it’s more effective to have a list of people who can enter your house, as opposed to having a list of people who cannot enter your house (which would be a very hard list to compile, as you know hundreds of people and can’t anticipate when you’ll meet someone new).

What PC Matic Offers

  • Free download of software

  • 2 paid subscription options: Annual and Lifetime, for 5 PCs

  • A backup CD ($13)

  • PC Magnum ($30): Removes cookies, browser history, sensitive info, and more

  • PC Matic PRO (for businesses): Endpoint Suite, Authentication, Security, Performance, Driver Update, Patch Management (you must request a quote for each product)

Package Features

PC Matic offers a free download of its software and allows you to run a scan—however, if you want to perform any action suggested by the scan, you’ll need to buy a paid subscription.

PC Matic offers 2 main paid options:

  • Annual subscription for 5 PCs ($50)

  • Lifetime subscription for 5 PCs ($300)

There are also subscription options that cover between 10 PCs and 125 PCs, but no matter how many PCs you need protection for, the actual features are the same.

These features are:

  • Security: PC Matic uses whitelisting technology to keep your computer and personal information safe.

  • Security awareness training: PC Matic offers KnowBe4 training that teaches you what to be on the lookout for in terms of cybersecurity. The training is free with any PC Matic subscription.

  • Adblocker: PC Matic’s Adblocker will shut down annoying pop-ups and malicious ads.

  • Automated PC Maintenance: Every time you use your computer, you garner all sorts of information that can slow your computer down (like temporary internet files, cookies, thumbnail cache, file fragments, and more). PC Matic’s optimization tool cleans up these unnecessary files so your computer can run at peak performance.  

PC Matic also has a portfolio of PRO products for businesses, including Endpoint Suite, Authentication, Security, Performance, Driver Update, Patch Management. There are no list prices for these products; companies are invited to call PC Matic sales support for a quote.

Ease of Use

Installing PC Matic is simple and straightforward. Once you download it, just follow the prompts, and presto, you’ve got it. If you only download the free version, however, be aware that you won’t be able to do much with it, except run a scan. You’ll need to buy a subscription in order to carry out any actions that the scan suggests.

In terms of how PC Matic affects your computer’s performance, when compared to the industry average it scored much better in how it affects the launching of websites, the download and installation of frequently used apps, and the copying of files. The one category in which it didn’t score well was the launch of standard software applications; here it slowed down the launch more than its competitors.

Detection Rates and Reliability

PC Matic scored very high in terms of virus protection tests run by the independent testing company, AV-Test: 100% in protection against 0-day malware attacks, inclusive of web and e-mail threats and 99.9% in the detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks.

In other words, any issues that users have with PC Matic are not related to its virus protection—that is top-notch. Rather, they are related to the whitelist technology that often blocks programs and software that are actually okay.

Pricing

Annual for 5 PCs

Evergreen (Lifetime) for 5 PCs

$50

$300 (sometimes goes on sale for $200)

Value for Money

PC Matic offers fairly good value for your money, especially since it covers 5 PCs. While some competitors offer less expensive rates per year, those rates only apply to 1 device. If you order protection for 5 devices for one year, the price skyrockets. For example, Kaspersky Antivirus costs $39.95/year for one PC, but for 5 PCs the price climbs to $95.95/year. Similarly, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus costs $39.99/year for 1 device, but $69.99/year for 5 devices. In this regard, PC Matic offers better value than its competitors.

However, while PC Matic is less expensive than some of its competitors, keep in mind that other companies may offer additional features, such as social network protection, 24/7 support, anti-fraud, anti-phishing a file shredder, and more. When considering which product to buy, you have to consider which features are included and whether they are worth paying extra for or not.

When it comes to PC Matic’s lifetime subscription (which retails at $300 but sometimes goes on sale for $200), the value for your money is unbeatable; virtually no other competitor offers a lifetime subscription, and definitely not at such a low rate. (Bitdefender goes as high as 3 years—which costs $149.99 for 5 devices. Kaspersky charges $143.95 for a 2-year plan for 5 PCs.)

Help and Support

There’s not much person-to-person customer support offered by PC Matic; there are, however, some fairly extensive online resources that the savvy buyer can make use of, including detailed FAQ pages, product support, and how-to videos.

User Experience

PC Matic is fairly easy to use and install; the main issue is that the software often blocks programs, sites, and files that are actually safe. When tested by AV-Tests in September and October of 2017, PC Matic scored 48 and 28 respectively for false detections of legitimate software; to put this in perspective, the industry average is 13.

If a site or program that you’d like to access gets blocked, you have to manually add it to PC Matic’s whitelist. For some, this can be very frustrating, and is even reason enough not to buy it.

When it comes to cyber-protection, PC Matic lives up to its promise of protecting PCs from malware threats and viruses. In this regard, most users have no complaints.

Bottom Line

PC Matic offers excellent antivirus and malware protection at competitive prices, and when you purchase a subscription, you get an additional Adblocker and PC maintenance tool. However, due to the software’s whitelisting technology, it often ends up blocking programs and sites that are not actually dangerous to your computer.

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​About PC Pitstop

You may recognize PC Matic from its television commercials, but the company got its start a long time ago. PC Matic is the main product of PC Pitstop, which was founded by Rob Cheng in 1999 after a successful career at Gateway 2000. The company started out as a free computer diagnostic website; it only got into the antivirus game in 2009, when it launched PC Matic.

In 2011, PC Pitstop launched Super Shield, PC Matic's real-time protection based on a whitelist. In 2016, one of PC Matic’s customers was hit by a scripting attack, also known as a fileless infection. The company updated its technology to block scripting attacks. As malware and viruses continue to evolve, PC Pitstop is doing its best to keep up its excellent protection.

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