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AVG Antivirus 2021 review

AVG Antivirus 2021 is a great security tool that can offer peace of mind but isn't without its flaws.

AVG Antivirus 2021 review
(Image: © AVG)

Our Verdict

AVG Antivirus is a great option for antivirus software that tackles malware and offers configuration options along with a free version.

For

  • Free version available
  • Configurable
  • Good detection rates

Against

  • Expensive
  • System impact

AVG Antivirus has not made it onto our list of the best antivirus software because it is mainly marketed as a free version that lets you get access to some of the top-tier features without spending a dime. But this review will cover the full version and its various levels available to you. 

That said, when you land on the AVG website it's the free version you'll see front and center as that's the main push for this antivirus. So we'll cover that off first in this AVG Antivirus review.

AVG Antivirus review: Free version

The AVG Antivirus free version gives you, what the company itself calls "basic protection". But that is perhaps underselling it as that means you get full antivirus protection in place as well as protection from web and email threats. All this is in real-time, running in the background and without draining resources noticeably.

That said, if you do decide to manually set a computer-wide scan going then you'll notice this does take a long time to perform. Again, the positive here is little impact on your machine's performance – but at the cost of a longer wait. You can also set a scan start time, ideal if you want to leave that running when you finish work, for example. 

Should AVG find any threats it will immediately lock them away in a secure vault. You are then notified and it's your choice what to do with that potentially threatening file. Nearly always deleting it is the right choice as it is a threat that's been found.

So, for free you get a powerful antivirus engine, live email and download scanning, and web filtering to block threatening links. Anything more and you'll be notified by the app and when you select "Resolve" you'll be taken to the payment plans for those extras. Which brings us nicely to the next section on the paid features.

AVG Antivirus

(Image credit: AVG)

AVG Antivirus: AVG Internet Security

The AVG Internet Security system will cost you, but for that money you do get a lot of extra features to make sure your machine and your identity are better protected. This gives you protection against webcam snoopers, adds a firewall protective layer and is able to block fake eCommerce websites.

While the free version does offer some spyware and malware protection, you'll need the full version for targeted protection against ransomware attacks. This works through a dedicated secure browser. On the outside everything will appear to look like you're running the regular Chrome browser, but actually this is much more secure. This forces HTTPS encryption, masks your digital fingerprints and blocks tracking scripts.

The Antivirus protection is very good but it's worth noting this isn't the very best. It also puts strain on system resources when running a full system scan. So if you want truly impervious protection, and less impact, you may need to look at one of the paid options in our best antivirus or best internet security software guides.

AVG Antivirus

(Image credit: AVG)

AVG Antivirus: AVG Ultimate

AVG Ultimate is a package deal that goes beyond just giving you the AVG Antivirus and AVG Internet Security. This also adds in coverage for up to 10 devices, offers a tune-up tool and a VPN all in one package.

The scanning for the antivirus part is largely the same here but the extra layers make it more secure. The firewall, ransomware and password protection systems are all key layers in that defensive line. The webcam snooper protection is nice to have but the data shredder is a great feature we like, securely and permanently deleting files.

The fake website shield is useful, automatically redirecting you if that is detected. This is a peace of mind addition that allows you to use your banking details online without worry that you may be at risk of having them taken.

The AVG Antivirus Pro and AVG Cleaner Pro apps are more extras here, which allow you to get full protection of scans, cleaning, Wi-Fi scanning, RAM speed-up cleaning, malware protection and more all on your iOS or Android smartphone.

AVG TuneUp is another included tool, aimed at enhancing your PC for speed by cleaning out junk, fixing data issues and even enhancing battery life.

The VPN is a nice addition as that adds a 256-bit encryption with over 50 sever locations. This means you appear to be somewhere you're not and also secures your identity so you remain anonymous and private when online using the VPN. It also means you can unblock international streaming sites like Netflix and Disney+ which is a great bonus.

AVG Antivirus: How good is AVG Antivirus?

According to tests performed by AV-Comparatives in 2021, the AVG Antivirus protection rate reaches an impressive 99.99%. That said, it did spot 20 false positives, putting that at the higher end of the spectrum.

Virus definitions are updated more than 100 times each day, according to AVG, making that more frequent than a lot of the competition out there.

All that means yes, this is a very good antivirus protection offering. But keep in mind you'll need wider protection if you want total cover for your device.

AVG Antivirus: Price

As mentioned, the basic cover is free which can be downloaded and installed on Mac, PC, iOS and Android. This gets you antivirus protection, email and web threat protection on Mac and PC. On mobile you also get some basic cleaning tools.

AVG Internet Security, which adds the extra protection features, can be paid for from $3.29 per month, billed at $39.48 for the first year which gets you one device cover. If you want 10 devices covered that'll cost you $3.99 per month, billed at $47.88 for the first year.

AVG Ultimate, which covers you for everything with all the extra features like that handy VPN, covering 10 devices at once, will set you back $6.49 per month, billed $79.99 for the first year.

Should you use AVG Antivirus?

If you want an antivirus protection system that works in real-time, automatically, with regular updates – and you want all that for free – then AVG Antivirus is a good option. Its parent company, Avast, does also offer a free antivirus so that could be another option, as does Kaspersky. Webroot is another good option but for that you can learn all you need to know from our AVG vs Webroot showdown.

For the paid version of AVG Internet Security and AVG Ultimate you do get a lot for your money and plenty more than the free option. However, there are other similarly priced alternatives that offer the same or more for less. 

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.