Good / Most of McAfee’s extra features require additional software and further tinkering that might not make them worth the pricey effort. However, the core feature set and price of McAfee isn’t all bad, and it can do a decent job of detecting viruses on your computer.
Bad / McAfee might not be the piece of shit that original CEO John McAfee claims–however, since it does place a considerable drain on your system resources while in use, and a lot of the extra features added feel like a sale gimmick–I can see why it’s garnered the reputation it has.
Verdict / McAfee is decent at detecting viruses, but system resource drain and scan time take a long time. There are better options, and If you want our recommendation on which antivirus software to use instead of McAfee, check out Kaspersky or Bitdefender.
What has been going on with McAfee lately?
McAfee has an exciting history. Despite being one of the first anti-virus software to come into fruition, users often disregard it as spam ware or plain junk.
There have been numerous instances where old time CEO, John McAfee blatantly trash talked the company after Intel bought it out. When asked if he uses the anti-virus software, McAfee replied “I take it off,” and that it’s “too annoying.” In another Reddit AMA post, McAfee called the software “one of the worst products on the fucking planet.” One funny detail is that Intel said it was going to change its name from McAfee-to John’s delight–but the product is still named McAfee–probably for brand awareness.
However, just because John McAfee no longer likes the product, or owns the company, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad anti-virus service. In fact, it’s undergone consistent updates changes and development over the years to turn it into a more polished and fleshed out product. However, that doesn’t mean that the result is worth your time to use–or that it’s still any good.
In this McAfee review, we will throw out bias and test the product yourself. We go over the features available, system performance drain, and other notable specifications about McAfee so you can decide if it’s the right product for you.
McAfee offers three pricing plans. You can purchase McAfee AntiVirus Plus for $59.99 a year, McAfee Total Protection for $89.99, for McAfee LiveSafe for $89.99. Right now, at the time of this review, Total Protection is the cheapest option ($29.99) because of the summer sale.
Regarding yearly deals–the best deal here is McAfee AntiVirus Plus. However, right now because of the summer sale, the best deal is the Total Protection Plan which gives you all of the extra features.
McAfee AntiVirus Plus should be ok for most intents and purposes unless you like the idea of using their Password manager–TrueKey app, Anti-Spam features in your email, or the ability to encrypt some of your files.
Just to be clear here, McAfee AntiVirus Plus is the standard option, and it contains most all of the anti-virus software that you need.
Interface / usability
McAfee has a plain white and green interface with some black text. Overall, when you find the navigation tab–things feel a bit barebones and dry. A majority of the options available look like some help document which feels disorienting at first glance.This interface continues into the actual processes.
One thing that bugs me about the interface is that you can’t scale it up through maximizing the client, or even just click-dragging a corner so that it becomes bigger. The inability to resize the interface makes it a pain to scroll through the different options available to use. Another irritating thing is that there is no easy way to see how long scans take–whereas other anti-virus programs include elapsed time automatically.
In the app, you can scan your PC, check out the firewall, use a vulnerability scanner that finds software updates needed, parental controls, quick clean to clean temp files, a file shredder (this permanently eliminates files), a defragmenter, real-time scanning, anti-spam, and options to see your home network data.
On the left-hand side, you can configure settings, see reports, and access McAfee resources.
It’s easy enough to see what’s going on in the app, as the main screen shows you what is activated and what isn’t. It’s also easy to see how to protect more devices, find unprotected devices, and see various stats about your last processes.
Inside the dashboard, you can find information about how much data has been cleaned with the QuickClean feature, how many files have been scanned, or how many potential viruses have been removed. I find that a dedicated tool like CCleaner gives me better results and more freed space.
What’s it like using McAfee?
Regarding usability, McAfee is fairly good. Setup is very easy–although long winded. It took me around 5-10 minutes just to finish the install.
Once you finish the install, you will find that the program is very dedicated to helping you understand how to take advantage of numerous features available in the tutorial which briefly goes over each extra service and its functions.
After awhile, you should have no problem navigating through the application–even if the result isn’t as intuitive or as visually friendly on the eyes as I prefer. Sometimes the interface changes slightly depending on where you navigate from–like if you go directly after a result, you are shown the different processes inside text blocks instead of a list. However, while this looks nice–it’s a bit confusing having the interface change.
I did find it a bit confusing to use the extra features in the free trial, however. Now that I understand that the password manager is within the “True Key” tab, it’s relatively easy to find. However, without knowing that–looking for it specifically, can prove to be a headache as no documentation within the app tells you how to use these extra features included with the license. The website also provides little information on the extent of the free trial, or even how to access these features, so without knowing it, it’s not even clear if the free trial DOES include any of the features. To access these features, you need to click on “true key” or navigate to their site and log in to your account to download the personal locker app onto your mobile device.
McAfee offers a ton of extra services available in the most expensive model. Right now, as we mentioned, it’s only $29.99.
Testing out the various apps isn’t overly impressive. None of them deserved to be used outright when compared to software and companies that focus solely on that niche. I can’t recommend using McAfee’s password manager over say LastPass, for example.
In addition, Truekey isn’t part of the anti-virus software. It’s a separate program, and when I tested it briefly, it kept getting errors and wouldn’t install correctly.
However, the personal locker is kind of neat in that it lets you access your information by scanning your vocal patterns by understanding it’s you, as well as seeing your face.
Most of McAfee’s included extra services are gimmicks and require additional applications. It’s a shame that they aren’t baked into the core app in some form. The result feels like McAfee’s program is just advertising some other services that you can check out.
Performance & System Impact
Getting McAfee up and running took awhile at first. The application slowed down my computer considerably, but then after a few hiccups, I was off to the races. Well, extremely slow races since McAfee made my computer virtually unusable during scan times. I could browse, but speeds were slow, and opening any application took ages.
My specifications while using the quick scan required around 220 MB ram usage, and the CPU load was around 10-20%. This scan lasted around 11 minutes which is OK. The longer scan used up 200 MB of ram and used more CPU ranging from 10-30%. However, this scan took an hour and 20 minutes.
Quick scan times – 11:18, 220 MB – 10-20% CPU
Full scan times – 1:17, 200 MB – 10-30% CPU
System Performance Summary
Overall, performance from McAfee wasn’t anything to brag about. Unless you plan to leave McAfee on and do something else for an hour–you might want to consider using a different antivirus or antimalware program since McAfee hogs so many resources and takes a fair bit of time to complete scans.
Conclusion of McAfee review:
McAfee works as an antivirus software, but we’ve seen better interfaces / features from competitors like BitDefender, and better prices / speeds with antivirus proKaspersky.