PROS / It improved boot-up speed by 32.5 percent.
CONS / The support lacks adequate contact options.
VERDICT / System Mechanic is the best PC system utility app because it performed better than all the other products we reviewed in almost every category.
Editor's Note: System Mechanic 16.5 is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. We will evaluate, rank and review System Mechanic 16.5 when we next update PC system utility software reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about System Mechanic 16.
Developed by iolo technologies, System Mechanic 16 is a full suite of PC system utility tools. Each tool is designed to optimize and maintain your computer's performance, and the interface facilitates this in one easy-to-use app. In our tests, System Mechanic was the best-performing PC cleaner in every facet – overall improvement, boot-up improvement and diagnostic consistency. For these reasons, System Mechanic 16 earns the Top Ten Review Gold Award for best PC system utility software.
To find the best PC tuneup software, we wanted to see how well each product improved out test computer, which we deliberately set up to be slow and frustrating. We used PCMark 8 to benchmark the performance of the test PC both before and after optimization. The benchmarking tests looked at word and data processing, graphics processing, web browsing and video chat quality.
We also benchmarked the boot-up speed improvement and looked closely at the app's diagnostic consistency. We performed multiple rounds of testing on each product to account for variables. After testing, we averaged the results and System Mechanic was the clear winner.
System Mechanic's overall improvement to our test computer was 12.5 percent. This was 2.5 percent better than the second-best improvement and 4 percent above the average. However, it's worth noting that the improvement is too little in most areas for it to be noticeable. In other words, even with a 12.5 percent improvement in performance, you won't notice it without benchmarking software until the improvement is over 20 percent.
Most facets of performance were only improved by milliseconds – web browsing and video chat improved by less than 2 percent. However, graphics processing was improved by 3.89 percent, and word and data processing improved by 6 percent. As such, you shouldn't expect this app to turn back the clock on your computer and make it run like new again. That's just not realistic, but this improvement does reflect excellent maintenance.
The most impressive improvement was the boot-up speed, which was 32.5 percent faster after optimization. So while you may not see dramatic improvements to PC speed, you will see excellent improvements to boot-up speed. For example, a 32.5 percent increase to a one-minute boot-up speed is a 19.5 second improvement.
System Mechanic 16 is one of only a two products in our lineup that received a 100 percent diagnostic consistency score. To find the diagnostic consistency, we scanned our test computer, recorded the issues it discovered, repaired the issues, and then we scanned the computer again. Ideally, the app shouldn't find any new errors. And with System Mechanic 16, that was the result. This shows that the diagnostic tool knows what it's looking for and isn't trying to exaggerate the results.
For ease of use, System Mechanic earned an A. The interface is well designed with collapsible descriptions for each of the tools. You can also view the details of issues before you fix them. You can also view the priority level of the startup programs so you know whether it's safe to disable the apps.
System Mechanic is loaded with advanced features. While you can scan and fix repairs with one click, the advanced tools allow you to dive deeper into how your PC's system works so you can customize it to fit your needs.
You can back up and restore your system, recover accidentally deleted files, repair shortcuts and the registry, defragment hard drives, optimize a solid-state drive, and optimize your PC's security. The only advanced tool it lacks is a file-encryption tool, but only a few PC system utility apps feature this tool.
Help & Support
The biggest downside to System Mechanic is iolo's support. While you can contact support by phone, the software developer lacks email support and live chat. You have to submit support claims through a ticket system.
In the course of our review, we submitted two claim tickets and have never received a response. On a positive note, the license comes with unlimited installations, which means you can install it on as many computers as you own. In addition, the site includes a FAQs page with detailed answers to common questions and issues.
System Mechanic 16 is the best PC system utility software in our review. After many rounds of testing, it outperformed every other app. It produced the best overall improvement, the best boot-up improvement, and the best diagnostic consistency. When you combine the exceptionally easy interface and the many advanced tools, it's one of the best choices for a PC maintenance app.