AVG has been around for many years, amassing millions of users worldwide. Its free version continues to be one of the most downloaded antivirus solutions.
For this AVG review, I tested the most advanced package, AVG Ultimate, to see how it compares to other leading cybersecurity apps.
This review explores every little feature of AVG Ultimate and has over 50 screenshots to prove it.
The question is:
Does AVG withstand the pressure when subjected to a serious test? You might be intrigued by the outcomes, but more on that later.
In this AVG antivirus review, you’ll learn:
How accurate AVG’s malware detection engine is
How diverse its security tools are
How reliable its firewall is regarding network security
How well its anti-tracker feature improves privacy
And much more
Let’s get started.
For testing, I used a Dell XPS laptop with Windows 10, a MacBook Pro M1, and a Galaxy S20 FE.
AVG is equipped with many security, privacy, and performance-related features — but how good are they? Continue reading to find out:
Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks you from accessing your files. When infected with ransomware, cybercriminals demand a ransom to access your files. However, there’s no guarantee you’ll get them back even if you pay. You can access AVG’s Ransomware Protection feature from the “Computer” section.
This feature monitors any folders you specify and stops ransomware from attempting to modify them. Furthermore, you can add and remove any folders you want.
From the settings menu, you can set the type of control and select the file types you wish to protect.
I used the KnowBe4 ransomware simulator to measure its protection capabilities. Unfortunately, this test didn’t go as expected. Allow me to explain why…
Ransomware Shield On — AVG blocked the simulation launcher and quarantined it. In other words, the test wasn’t able to start. I restored it from quarantine and added an exception for the launcher. This should have allowed the test to run.
This surprised me:
The test didn’t run, so the scenarios were not executed. This meant that the ransomware test was inconclusive.
There was still one thing left to do. I had to determine how AVG would handle the ransomware simulation with the shield disabled.
Ransomware Shield OFF — AVG blocked the launcher required for the test to run. Although I still couldn’t correctly assess AVG’s ransomware shield, it stopped the perceived threat means it technically should block real-world threats.
The Core Shields are the main real-time protection features from AVG. There are four shields in total:
File Shield — A traditional threat scanner that detects suspicious local files that are copied or opened. It should never be disabled.
Behavior Shield — This shield monitors applications that behave suspiciously. As cybercriminals can take control of your programs to steal your data, this is another reliable shield that you should take advantage of.
Email Shield — AVG scans all incoming and outgoing mail for malware. It adds a “Scanned with AVG” signature to the emails you send (this feature can be disabled in the settings).
Web Shield — As online malware and scams are prevalent, the Web Shield is responsible for keeping your devices safe from online threats.
As usual, I tested the web protection features by attempting to open faux malicious sites.
Maliciouswebsitetest.com — The site didn’t load. This means that either AVG or the browser stopped the threat. I was expecting AVG to display a popup warning me that the website contains malware or something, but it didn’t happen.
WICAR.org — The threat links didn’t open, which is good. Again, AVG didn’t display any popups or windows to let me know about any threat detection.
AMTSO.org — On this website, I didn’t see any pages or popups from AVG warning me about incoming threats. The links simply didn’t load, which is fine regarding safety.
AVG provides various scanning options, including a smart scan, deep scan (full scan), boot-time scan, and custom scan. Learn more about each scan below:
This scan detects malware, bad browser add-ons, and other issues. Unlike its sister solution Avast, AVG’s smart scanning feature doesn’t include the software update option. That said, you can find a similar tool in the TuneUp app, which I’ll discuss later.
The deep scan is AVG’s most thorough scanning feature. You can initiate a new deep scan by clicking on the three dots next to the “RUN SMART SCAN” button, then clicking on Deep Scan.
The scan window features a minimalist design. You can choose to shut down your PC after the scan finishes.
I started the first deep scan with the default settings in place (and before I ran the ransomware simulation). The scan took 12 minutes, scanning 255 GB of data/ 1000k files.
I increased the sensitivity for the second scan and checked the “deeper” scan option. By this point, I had finished running the ransomware simulation. The scan lasted for 24 minutes, scanning 269 GB data/1748k files and finding several leftover files from the ransomware simulation test. I moved them into quarantine without issue.
Try using the boot-time scanning feature if you suspect your computer contains malware that a routine scan can’t detect. It can reach deeper but requires particular virus definitions.
I initiated a boot-time scan with default settings in place in my tests. After that, I rebooted my PC. Instead of launching Windows, my PC began the boot-time scan. It took 14 minutes and scanned 198 GB of data/1129k files.
In the scheduled scans section, you can create quick scans (low sensitivity with fastest settings enabled) or configure any number of scans.
The firewall is an essential part of your computer’s defenses, protecting you from outgoing and incoming connections with the web and other devices. AVG’s firewall also doubles as a tool to defend against hackers; thus, it can be located in the Hacker Attacks window.
If you’re an advanced user or a network administrator, then you’ll want to take advantage of AVG’s firewall tools that allow you to manage your network connections:
...or changing the network profiles:
You can also see the traffic log:
...and set rules for each application:
In the settings, there are other advanced options you can tweak:
I also tested AVG’s firewall using ShieldsUp, a popular firewall vulnerability-detecting tool. The results were typical. In other words, AVG’s firewall is up to standards.
Password Protection is an extra security layer for sensitive login data on Chrome and Firefox. It monitors apps and informs you if any password leaks are detected. You can also change which programs have access to sensitive data from the settings menu:
If you’re concerned that your webcam is at risk of being hijacked, enabling the webcam protection feature will give you more peace of mind. Like top security solutions such as Bitdefender and McAfee, Avast provides a webcam security feature that allows you to choose which apps can access your webcam:
Do Not Disturb Mode is an option that disables unnecessary notifications when running full-screen programs. The aim is to remove as many distractions as possible to give you the best experience while gaming or working.
AVG automatically activates DND Mode when you open a game or app in full-screen. You can also add apps of your choice to the DND list.
When the recycle bin is emptied, often, files can be recovered using widely available software. AVG’s Data Shredder prevents files from being retrieved by erasing them permanently using specific algorithms.
Using its main window, you can choose which data to shred and completely erase the remains of already deleted files:
I selected three files from the downloads folder. The program quickly erased them from my PC.
Choose the shredding algorithm from the settings:
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is necessary for users who want to protect their privacy and secure their connections. Many businesses use VPNs for safeguarding their employees’ networks as they offer great benefits at an affordable price.
AVG Secure VPN sports a minimal user interface that displays the server you’re connected to.
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of servers to choose from. Your options are limited compared to popular VPNs like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and PrivateInternetAcess. AVG Secure VPN features roughly 60 servers worldwide.
To test the speed of AVG’s virtual private networks, I used fast.com — with and without a VPN connection. Here are the results:
No VPN: 390 mb/s download, 390 mb/s upload, 4 ms latency
Atlanta, USA: 69 mb/s download, 21 mb/s upload, 258 ms latency
London, UK: 90 mb/s download, 39 mb/s upload, 256 ms latency
Melbourne, Australia: 53 mb/s download, 19 mb/s upload, 347 ms latency
The speed isn’t that impressive, but it should be suitable for general use.
I used ipleak.net and perfect-privacy.com to test the VPN's privacy. The results from both tests were satisfactory. In other words, my actual IP address wasn’t detected.
Traditionally, antivirus software is known for draining system resources. To determine how much AVG consumes, I initiated a full scan and kept an eye on the Task Manager.
AVG consumed about 300 MB RAM and 15-30% CPU during the deep scan. That’s pretty typical for an antivirus solution. It won’t interfere with any tasks while it runs, especially as the scans are short.
If you have any questions about AVG’s features, you can find valuable resources on their support page. If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, you can always contact AVG’s support team via live chat support or telephone.
I had a couple of questions regarding AVG’s antivirus software and opted to contact them via chat support rather than over the phone. I find that live chat options give both parties more time to respond appropriately.
Someone answered my chat request within one minute. Although the agent was well-mannered and tried to be as helpful as possible, his English was bad.
Here are the top questions and answers about the AVG antivirus suite.
Indeed, AVG is a reliable antivirus program. It's particularly impressive due to its comprehensive range of features.
Whether you're a casual user or a power user, AVG's feature set, which includes remote access protection, boot-time scanning, and a PC tuneup tool, is well-equipped to meet your needs.
Yes, downloading the free version of AVG is safe and easy. This software provides a solid line of defense against potential threats. However, paid antivirus suites offer more comprehensive protection.
My experience with AVG has been positive, with every feature performing well and having no detrimental impact on my devices.
However, every user's needs and experiences can vary. While AVG has a lot to offer, we recommend other security suites, as well, to find the one that best fits your needs.
Check out our comparison article for time-limited deals on other security suites.
Absolutely, AVG is a trustworthy antivirus suite. It has a proven track record and is utilized by millions of users worldwide. Despite AVG's trustworthiness, it's always prudent to explore other antivirus suites as well.
AVG's paid products certainly have their merits, offering enhanced features such as an advanced firewall and web shield, which aren't available in the free version. Yet, consider whether these additional features are necessary for your personal or business needs.
Octav Fedor (Cybersecurity Editor)
Octav is a cybersecurity researcher and writer at AntivirusGuide. When he’s not publishing his honest opinions about security software online, he likes to learn about programming, watch astronomy documentaries, and participate in general knowledge competitions.