McAfee Review – Antivirus Analyzed and Compared

With more than thirty years of experience in protecting its users from all sorts of malicious software, McAfee is still one of the first solutions people think of when they need malware protection. But is it still a good solution, or is it trading on past glories? In this McAfee review, we’ll discuss its features in detail to find out whether this provider is still a reliable choice for staying safe online.

Key features:

  • Fastest PC security on the market
  • Many additional tools available
  • Dark web monitoring and remediation
  • Excellent customer support
  • Reasonably priced
  • VPN included in all subscription plans

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Affordable solution
  • Password manager available
  • Encrypted storage available
  • Unlimited devices option
  • Average antivirus
  • Limited options for VPN

McAfee Antivirus Software

McAfee antivirus has an extensive library of malware strains, and its scans perform very well in detecting malicious software.

However, what McAfee lacks is speed. When compared to some other solutions on the market, it moves at a snail’s pace.

Although McAfee offers extensive reports detailing the threats it has shielded you from, it doesn’t leave much space for customization. This is something many other antivirus solutions provide. McAfee’s approach to security can be described as “set it and forget it”, which some users, who like to have more customization options, might not appreciate.

Tools and Features

This section of our review is dedicated to the main McAfee internet security tools.

Virtual Private Network

McAfee VPN, also known as McAfee SafeConnect VPN, is included in every package as long as you sign up for auto-renewal. Otherwise, you can purchase it as a single product.

This VPN is an excellent solution for protecting yourself on the internet, especially when you are using your personal information, for example, while doing online banking. Another thing you might want to do is hide your physical location, which can easily be guessed based on your IP address. This is something a good VPN can effortlessly accomplish, and upon testing McAfee VPN for this review, we’ve determined it’s capable of performing the task flawlessly.

When McAfee acquired TunnelBear, an excellent Canadian VPN provider, back in 2018, it announced that SafeConnect would become the best of both worlds. It combines TunnelBear’s secure network with McAfee’s intuitive interface. With more than 1,800 servers located in 22 countries, McAfee has the resources it needs to keep your browsing private and your information safe.

McAfee SafeConnect VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption to keep you safe while browsing online. Unfortunately, that’s as far as McAfee VPN features go. It lacks plenty of options VPN experts would expect, such as specialized servers for streaming or torrenting or the opportunity to unblock Netflix or other streaming services.

However, as a part of a comprehensive cybersecurity suite, this VPN does what it needs to do – keep your browsing private. It’s straightforward to use, imposes no limitations you might encounter with other products, and, most importantly, it’ll keep you protected during your everyday online activities.

mcafee review - vpn

Password Manager

McAfee subscription plans all come with its native password manager, which is a massive help in both managing your passwords and keeping your data safe. With this feature, you can safely store all your passwords, generate new and complex ones, and rely on the password manager to auto-fill them when required. Sharing passwords across multiple devices is also an excellent capability of this manager, especially since most people constantly switch between their PC and mobile.

Vulnerability Scanner

A vulnerability scanner allows you to update all of your apps from one place, which reduces potential threats coming from out-of-date apps. This piece of McAfee security software will regularly scan them and provide you with the needed updates.

Identity Theft Protection

With an increasing number of identity thefts happening daily, Identity Theft Protection is an excellent tool to have at your disposal. McAfee provides dark web and credit monitoring, dedicated agent support, and even identity theft insurance that covers up to $1 million in damages resulting from identity theft.

Performance Optimization

Apart from keeping you safe from malware, each McAfee package comes with performance optimization tools. Known as Web Boost and App Boost, these two features are a nifty addition to McAfee antivirus.

Web Boost, McAfee’s extension for Chrome, will extend your battery’s life by ensuring you don’t waste bandwidth on autoplay videos and other distracting intruders.

As for App Boost, you can rely on it to enhance both the app load and active apps. It accomplishes this by allocating more processing resources to your commonly used apps so that they load faster. McAfee’s App Boost allocates additional processing resources to the active apps as well so that you can continue with whatever you’re doing at the moment without any glitches to slow you down.

Products

McAfee Total Protection

Total Protection is a one-stop-shop for all your online security and privacy needs. It covers everything from the malware scanner to an excellent VPN and identity theft protection tool. It comes in three one-year pricing plans: Single Device, Individual, and Family.

McAfee Safe Family

McAfee Safe Family, available as a stand-alone service or a part of the Total Protection Family plan, gives parents a robust set of tools to keep an eye on their children’s online activity. It covers up to 10 devices and is compatible with Windows, Android, and iOS. From managing app usage and online time to keeping track of your kids’ location, Safe Family is a feature every parent will appreciate.

McAfee WebAdvisor

Another interesting product by McAfee is WebAdvisor. Our review has shown that this excellent free tool successfully blocks malware and phishing sites if you accidentally click on any malicious links. It uses a color-coded system to help you see whether a link is safe or not.

Additionally, you can rely on it to scan downloads to ensure that you don’t accidentally download something you don’t want to. Typo Protection will help you get the correct web address every time, and Security Check will inspect whether you have activated the firewall and antivirus before you go online.

McAfee QuickClean, File Lock, and Shredder

QuickClean is a handy feature offered by McAfee. It reviews and automatically removes all temporary files and unnecessary cookies, freeing up space and preventing malware from taking advantage of these idle files.

Just like you wouldn’t toss your tax return paper in the trash, you shouldn’t keep your personal information just anywhere. This is where File Lock and Shredder come to save the day. McAfee Shredder helps dispose of sensitive information in a secure way, but if you want to keep it, with File Lock, you can create password-protected, encrypted drives on your PC to store your sensitive files.

Other McAfee Products

If the security solutions described above don’t fit your specific needs, we advise you to review McAfee’s exclusive protection products at mcafee.com. These include:

  • Gamer Security
  • Security Scan Plus
  • Mobile Security
  • Techmaster Concierge
  • Virus Removal Service

Gamer Security is the best antivirus for gaming. It offers real-time protection and security monitoring while boosting your gaming experience. Techmaster Concierge provides next-level support whenever you need help configuring or installing an application or setting up and configuring your home network. You can rely on Virus Removal Service to remotely remove malware from your infected computer. Finally, for those of our readers who primarily use their mobile devices to surf the net, McAfee Mobile Security for Android phones may well be what they’ve been looking for.

Ease of Use

Setting up McAfee is a breeze, especially on Windows, which may come as a surprise since installation procedures are typically more straightforward on Mac.

Once you’ve installed it, you’ll quickly notice how neatly outlined and organized everything is. Most features don’t even require you to take any action to keep yourself protected, and if anything does need your attention, it’s always clearly displayed.

mcafee review - customer support

McAfee Customer Support

Our McAfee review would be incomplete without mentioning the excellent customer support offered by this antivirus provider. Customer support representatives at McAfee are available through every channel possible: You can contact them via email, through the assistant available on their website, via live chat, social media platforms. And if you’re looking for the fastest way to get in touch with the customer support advisors, you can always give them a call.

In assessing the quality of McAfee customer support, we’ve relied both on our own experience with customer care agents and other McAfee reviews. The thread is common everywhere: Customer support is easily reachable, very tech-savvy, and helpful in solving technical problems with your McAfee products. The only downside we can confirm is this – they are not great at resolving financial issues.

Platform Availability

McAfee is famous for its ability to cover multiple devices: You can install it on a Mac or Windows computer or use it to keep your Android, iPhone, or iPad device safe.

However, note that with the basic plan, you can only protect one device. If you have more than one device, consider getting the Individual plan, which covers five devices, or the Family plan, to protect up to 10 devices simultaneously.

McAfee Subscription Cost

Total Protection single-device subscription will cost you $29.99 per year, while the Individual plan will set you back $34.99 yearly. Subscribing to the Family plan is the best deal, however, as it comes with protection for up to 10 devices for $39.99 per year. If you are looking to cover more than ten devices, consider the Ultimate plan, which costs $109.99 per year.

Each of these subscriptions slightly varies when it comes to the features included. Most notably, McAfee VPN is only included in the package when you opt for auto-renewal.

McAfee Alternatives

Even though McAfee genuinely is an excellent solution for all your cybersecurity needs, it never hurts to get acquainted with alternative offers.

Avast is one of those antiviruses that, like McAfee, often comes preinstalled on new devices. These two are similar in performance metrics and the features they offer. Robust protection is a common thread between the two. Still, it’s safe to say that Avast focuses more specifically on anti-malware security, while from this McAfee review, we can conclude that McAfee puts more emphasis on providing comprehensive solutions, compromising to an extent its anti-malware capabilities in the process.

Another competitor, Sophos, offers practically the same features, including parental control and web protection, but it performs better as an antivirus. However, while Sophos can handle more complex malware and viruses, it lacks identity theft protection and other useful features of McAfee.

How Does McAfee Compare to Other Antivirus Solutions?

mcafee logo
  • Fastest PC security on the market
  • Many additional tools available
  • Dark web monitoring and remediation
  • Excellent customer support
  • Reasonably priced
  • VPN included in all subscription plans
Price $19.99/year
avast logo
  • Robust Behaviour Shield
  • Additional tools like the password manager and Avast Cleanup
  • Secure Browser allows safe browsing without ads
  • Modern interface
  • Webcam Shield
Price FREE
Sophos logo
  • Ability to fight advanced malware and attacks
  • Proactive online protection
  • Uses cloud and AI technology
  • Home Premium package covers up to 10 devices
  • Complete remote management
  • Mobile app support
Price $44.99/year

McAfee Review – Final Thoughts

Overall, McAfee offers a decent comprehensive solution you can get at a reasonable price. If you want to protect yourself from malware and hackers, signing up for McAfee Total Protection is a solid option. Once you download and set it up, you won’t have to think about it twice. However, if you only need an antivirus tool, you might be better off elsewhere.

In a sense, McAfee is a middle-ground solution. It’s certainly good enough to keep you protected from most common threats and it offers some valuable tools such as a password manager, performance optimization, and a virtual private network. Still, it lacks the features some competitors on the market have. Additionally, the selection of McAfee’s free tools is rather limited and mostly intended for security researchers and IT experts.

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Affordable solution
  • Password manager available
  • Encrypted storage available
  • Unlimited devices option
  • Average antivirus
  • Limited options for VPN

FAQ

Is McAfee a good antivirus program?

McAfee is a solid antivirus that will keep you protected at a reasonable price. It has a regularly updated and extensive malware database. You can test it for 30 days by downloading the free McAfee antivirus version.

Do I really need antivirus for Windows 10?

When it comes to Windows 10 computers, whether they need an antivirus tool or not is a legitimate question, as this operating system comes with Windows Defender. Windows Defender was explicitly designed for Windows, and it works well enough. Still, if you store sensitive financial or medical data on your computer, you might want to invest in a more comprehensive internet security solution.

What is better than McAfee?

The answer to this question varies depending on each user’s needs. From our McAfee review, we’ve concluded that it’s an excellent all-in-one cybersecurity solution. However, if you need a strong antivirus specifically for your Mac computer, you should check out Intego antivirus. Norton is another robust alternative to McAfee that comes at a similar price, while Avast and AVG are more basic but free options.

mcafee logo
Price $19.99/year
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