AVG has been on the PC antivirus scene for a long time, and has traditionally been the go-to free antivirus program for ages. Competitors now offer excellent alternatives, but AVG has kept up with the times.
We tested AVG AntiVirus 2015 on a Windows 8.1 PC. This entry level security suite covers day-to-day virus scans, malware detection, and web protection for $39.99/year. For an extra $15/year you can get anti-phishing and enhanced firewall through AVG Internet Security 2015. A full feature comparison is available at AVG's site.
AVG scored middle-of-the-road in real-world protection tests from AV-comparatives, though that still means it protected against 97.5% of threats, which is well above the 83.5% provided by Windows out of the box. AVG also managed zero false positives throughout those tests. Virus Bulletin's tests place AVG high on reactive protection, and in the middle of the pack for proactive protection. AV-Test gives AVG 3.5 stars out of 5 for both protection and performance, but 4.5 for usability. Those tests produced 2 false positives and 98% blockage of malicious software. All three independent labs seem to agree that after a barrage of thousands of malicious pieces of software, AVG handles itself moderately well compared to other software at this tier. In our experience, AVG was a little heavy on resource demands, and a full system scan took about 10 minutes. Scans can be scheduled to your convenience, with all sorts of timing, depth, and post-scan options available.
Besides real-time antivirus protection, AVG has a neat Data Safe feature which allows you to encrypt and password-protect sensitive files in a simple interface. AVG's browser protection ensures the links you're clicking don't take you anywhere fishy, and scans files that are downloaded from the web. Identity Protection keeps an eye out for malware that's attempting to gather up your personal information, and can automatically quarantine known threats.
AVG has a batch of performance optimization tools, but they're primarily separate downloads. A prominent "Fix Performance" button in the main interface will scan your system for potential fixes through your registry and temporary file folders, but action can only be taken once you download AVG PC TuneUp. Additional tools can keep your browser secure and private, or manage separate mobile devices, while the premium AVG Performance product promises to speed up your computer, increase battery life, and save disk space. It would be nice if more of these functions were bundled with the antivirus solution.
The biggest knock against AVG is its bloated advanced settings screen. You can drill down into incredibly specific options for each and every type of scan or security setting. The necessity to do so is limited, and yet the primary interface for AVG AntiVirus 2015 offers plenty of links to this overwhelming advanced settings screen. For users that are intent on micromanaging their antivirus efforts, this may be a boon, but in my experience, Bitdefender handled interface much more cleanly without losing meaningful functionality.
AVG still brings solid antivirus protection to the table, despite average test scores and a cluttered settings interface. AVG has a wide range of additional functions available as separate downloads, and isn't shy about using AntiVirus 2015 as a means of reminding you about them. That doesn't stop AVG from providing respectable protection against security threats.