Security for everyone - Review AVG Internet Security Unlimited

2 out of 5 stars

AVG is a world-renowned antivirus software company, based in the Czech Republic. They have been developing security software for more than a quarter-century, ever since 1991. The company became famous because of their free antivirus. This free product is also the reason why Avast - their direct competitor on the computer security market - has acquired them. Although they were bought, the AVG brand is still here and the security products associated with it are still being sold. One of the premium security products that are sold under the AVG brand is called AVG Internet Security - Unlimited and, because we were curious to see if it can protect you against cyber criminals, we decided to test it for a while. Today, we’re ready to share our findings with you, in this review:

The download and installation experience

In order to get AVG Internet Security - Unlimited on your Windows computer, you must download it from its official web page, here. What you’ll get is a small 3.28MB executable file called AVG_Protection_755.exe. We were pleasantly surprised to see that AVG didn’t require any personal information from us in order to download the installer. However, when you run the executable, AVG does ask you to enter a valid email address and a password that will be used to create your AVG account. But you can skip this too, which is great.

The installation wizard then asks if you want to “safeguard your browsers”, meaning that AVG Internet Security - Unlimited wants you to install a security extension called AVG Web TuneUp. This add-on should protect you against malicious websites and also offer you some other security enhancements. But, we don’t recommend that you install it, and you’ll see why in the next section of this review.

AVG Internet Security - Unlimited is also one of the few security suites that let you choose what protection modules you want to be installed. If you choose to install everything, the wizard will download an additional 200MB of data from AVG’s servers.

Downloading and installing AVG Internet Security - Unlimited is easy and straightforward. Unlike other antivirus products, AVG lets you choose what security modules you install, and it doesn’t force you to provide any personal information during the installation.

Integration with Windows, web browsers, and universal Windows platform apps

During its installation, AVG Internet Security - Unlimited disables both Windows Defender and Windows Firewall. That’s a good thing because it helps avoid any conflicts and performance issues that could appear from using multiple security products at the same time. AVG Internet Security - Unlimited is also well integrated with Windows’ networking features. We were able to create and join a homegroup, share files and folders over the local network and work with universal Windows platform apps.

What we liked most about AVG Internet Security - Unlimited in terms of integration with Windows, was that it was capable to automatically detect the network profile we set in Windows and adjust its firewall accordingly.

When it comes to your online security, AVG Internet Security - Unlimited protects you by scanning and filtering all the internet traffic that goes on your computer, but it also offers a web browser extension for enhancing your online security. Our recommendation for you is to stick to the built-in web shield and skip installing (or removing if you already installed) the web browser extension. That’s for a few reasons:

  • The security suite already protects you against dangerous websites by filtering the HTTP traffic on your computer and the browser extension is redundant;
  • AVG says that browser extension works with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer. However, on our test computer it worked only in Google Chrome and it was limited to merely changing our homepage to an AVG webpage. We did not appreciate this behavior;
  • AVG’s web browser extension has a tainted reputation and a history of making its users vulnerable to security exploits.

An important consideration in terms of integration with Windows is the effect the security suite has on the performance of your computer. To find more about that, we did a couple of measurements. At first, we checked if AVG Internet Security - Unlimited increased our computer’s boot time after we installed it. We used a small app called BootRacer to measure this. The good news is that AVG didn’t have any negative effect - the boot time was the same before and after we installed this antivirus product.

Then, we looked at how much RAM memory AVG Internet Security - Unlimited needs in order to run all its security processes. We found that it consumes somewhere around 50 MB of RAM when nothing important goes on your computer, and as much as 200 MB of RAM memory when something security threatening takes place. These are not big numbers for any modern day computer.

Finally, to get a clearer view of how much AVG Internet Security - Unlimited affects our computer's overall performance, we also ran the Home accelerated tests from the benchmark application PCMark 8. We got the same score before and after installing the security suite, so it looks like it doesn't have any negative effect on the computer’s overall performance.

AVG Internet Security - Unlimited is a security suite that’s well integrated with Windows and its networking features. It’s also a lightweight solution that doesn’t slow your computer down. What we don’t like about it, however, is that it tries to make you install a browser extension that you don’t need and which has been shown to lower your security.

Ease of use & configuration

The user interface you get in AVG Internet Security - Unlimited looks good and it is called AVG Zen. It’s the starting point for the Internet Security part of the suite, as well as a gate for accessing PC TuneUp (a tool that helps get your computer into shape), HMA! Pro VPN (a VPN service that can protect you when you use unsecured internet connections) and Web TuneUp (the web browser extension of which we discussed earlier). If you have an AVG online account and you have installed AVG’s security products on several devices, you can see and control all of them from this interface.

Our main point of interest is the Internet Security part of the suite, and that looks good also. Like always, AVG knows its stuff when we’re talking about user interface design. The background color is gray, the accent colors are either greens or reds (depending on what happens on your computer), and each bit of information you get is displayed using simple visual cues.

Options, actions, settings - they are changed, started or controlled by large tiles, buttons or check marks, so the security suite will be easy to use by anyone, on any kind of computer or device, both with a mouse and a keyboard and with a touchscreen.

If you need help, it’s good to know that AVG Internet Security - Unlimited includes both online help and online support options. AVG offers a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, access to their community forums and, last but not least, options to “Contact Support” directly, via live chat, or via phone.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any reports, logs or other kinds of statistics in AVG Internet Security - Unlimited. They’re nowhere to be found and that’s not something we like. In terms of alerts and notifications, AVG Internet Security - Unlimited is not very talkative. The only popups we saw were related to malware being detected on our test computer.

AVG Internet Security - Unlimited offers a user interface that looks good and it works well. It’s fast, easy to navigate and easy to use on any type of device, with or without a touchscreen. On the negative side, it doesn’t offer detailed logs and reports.

Go to the next page of this review and see how effective AVG Internet Security - Unlimited is at protecting your computer from network attacks and malware. You will also see our final verdict for this product.