PC Matic Review 2022: Will It Keep Your Device Protected?

PC Matic uses a novel whitelisting approach to malware protection and also comes with a handful of system optimization tools. Here’s what to know about this security suite.
Patti Croft, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Nov 17, 2022
Learn More
On PC Matic's website

  • Offers lifetime coverage for a one-time price
  • Comes with an ad blocker and dark web monitoring
  • May block valid programs, giving false positives

PC Matic works differently than some antivirus products you’ve used before. Many antivirus programs use traditional blacklisting to prevent computer viruses by comparing programs and files to a list of known malware. But PC Matic’s scanner uses whitelisting technology to identify legitimate programs.

The software has an ad blocker, patch management and driver updates, and dark web monitoring. It also removes junk files to clean up your system, and you get protection for five devices at $50 per year.

Don’t let the name fool you, PC Matic covers Mac operating systems too. We used our MacBook Air to test it out. We think PC Matic for Mac is a good antivirus with the features it offers but does lack a couple of options, such as a firewall and virtual private network (VPN).

So, is PC Matic any good? We’ll cover the results in this article and give you a better idea of whether this is the antivirus software for you.

PC Matic antivirus overview

Price $50/yr or $150 lifetime access
Free plan Yes, Windows only
# of devices protected Free: 3
Paid: 5
Malware scans Manual and scheduled
Firewall No
Phishing protection Yes

All About Cookies Rating
“Our experience with PC Matic on our MacBook Air was mixed. We like the identity protection and dark web monitoring feature, and the scans were fast and uncomplicated.”

“But the interface isn't the most intuitive, and many features weren't explanatory. We had to look through the user manual to figure out what the command prompt and file manager tools were for. Still, PC Matic offers good value — especially with its lifetime plan.”

In this article
PC Matic antivirus overview
Who is PC Matic best for?
PC Matic features
PC Matic antivirus test results
Our PC Matic experience
PC Matic compatibility
PC Matic customer support
PC Matic antivirus cost
PC Matic antivirus FAQs
Bottom line: Is PC Matic any good?

Who is PC Matic best for?

  • Recommended for PC Matic is recommended for anyone who wants device optimization options but doesn’t need a VPN or firewall.

If you don’t need a firewall, password manager, or VPN, PC Matic has some other options you may like, such as scan reports. It also includes dark web monitoring through IdentityForce, which is something other antivirus products may not offer. With dark web monitoring, PC Matic scans the web for your details and alerts you if there’s been a breach that includes your email address or other personal information.

Also of note: you can also get a lifetime subscription to PC Matic for $150. That includes five devices and updates for life. We haven’t seen that offered with any other antivirus software.

PC Matic antivirus pros and cons

Pros
  • Offers lifetime coverage for a one-time price
  • Comes with an ad blocker
  • Includes dark web monitoring
  • Uses advanced fileless malware prevention methods
Cons
  • No VPN included
  • Doesn’t offer a firewall
  • No parental control features
  • May block valid programs, giving false positives

PC Matic features

Some features we think hit the mark with PC Matic include the system tune-up tools, dark web monitoring, and ad blocker. We’d love for PC Matic to come with a password manager, but so far, the product doesn’t offer that.

But don’t get us wrong, PC Matic is still a good antivirus. And we’re excited to see it offers lifetime coverage. You pay $150 and get security, including updates, for the rest of your life.

Here’s a closer look at some of PC Matic’s security features.

Malware detection and scan

PC Matic offers manual and automatic scans. You can schedule scans on a daily, weekly, or monthly cadence to suit your needs. We started a manual full scan that showed us results in about six minutes. If a quick scan is an option, we didn’t find it listed anywhere in the portal interface.

PC Matic has manual and automatic virus scans that you can schedule daily, weekly, or monthly.

We didn’t encounter any issues with the scanning process, but we did notice that once it finished, it didn’t show the number of files scanned. And some may find the scan results a bit off-putting because they don’t explain much.

We found that PC Matic's antivirus scan summaries didn't explain much — they only included the date, start and finish times, and scan type. The results didn't list out any potential issues right away.

We do think the fileless malware prevention feature is good to have. Because fileless malware gets into your device through tools built into your operating system, it’s good to have an antivirus that uses script blocking to identify it.

Another feature PC Matic uses is whitelisting to detect malware. Most antivirus products create blacklists of known malware. PC Matic takes the opposite approach and creates a whitelist of known safe files. Whenever the software notices files from this list, it ignores them and leaves them alone.

Phishing protection

PC Matic mentions that the antivirus helps protect against phishing with its default-deny feature, which is part of the application whitelisting process. The default-deny process keeps malicious processes from controlling your device but doesn’t necessarily flag potential phishing scams. So it’s still up to you to avoid clicking on suspicious files and links.

PC Matic works with a preventative approach rather than traditional blacklisting methods, and whitelisting is intended to stop intrusions before they become a problem. This is a more granular approach because it monitors your operating system in real time and screens each file no matter what publisher or software it belongs to.

Although that may sound complicated, there’s nothing for you to set up. PC Matic has a global whitelist of 12 million trusted applications and scripts that allow it to block ransomware, Trojans, and computer viruses — and it also uses its whitelisting feature to block ads. It’s a new take on how antivirus software prevents viruses.

Firewall

PC Matic doesn’t come with a firewall, but it does have SuperShield protection that can work in combination with your computer's built-in firewall.

You can turn on PC Matic's SuperShield feature to reinforce your device's firewall.

SuperShield works with the whitelisting feature you get with PC Matic, and you can locally whitelist an application on your device in the SuperShield Allow section.

The SuperShield Report shows you any apps that PC Matic is monitoring on your device. If any apps are blocked, they’ll also appear in the report.

Any programs or apps that SuperShield blocks will appear in the report.

Real-time protection

The SuperShield whitelist feature verifies apps in real-time with a list of trusted, known programs and allows those programs to run. Anything that’s not on the whitelist gets sent to the PC Matic malware research team. The team then tests it to see if it is indeed malware

We ran several scans with multiple browser windows open and had no issues with lag or system slowdowns. Our MacBook didn’t have any problems handling all the processes running at the same time. We also sent several emails and received emails during the scan, and nothing was blocked or added to the blocked items list under SuperShield Block.

Ransomware protection

PC Matic’s application whitelisting also includes ransomware protection. According to the antivirus, the best protection uses this process because it completely blocks malware infections on your device by allowing only trusted applications to run.

Using the blacklisting process, malicious applications may be able to run if they’re not found in the known malware database. That could mean you stand the chance of installing new ransomware that hasn’t been discovered yet. At that point, it may be too late to stop the damage.

The whitelist ransomware approach is proactive rather than reactive because it automatically blocks any unverified apps or scripts. Unknown bad files get categorized within 24 hours and removed from your device, and any future attempts to run the files are blocked.

Bonus features

Some standout bonus features included with PC Matic are dark web monitoring and identity protection through a partnership with IdentityForce. The company monitors and notifies you if your personal information, such as your Social Security number or banking data, is on the dark web.

PC Matic also includes optimization tools that free up space on your device by removing junk files and unneeded applications. You get improved speed when the tools remove startup apps you don’t need, and it disables non-critical services.

Along with those features, PC Matic can automatically update your drivers and software. That can help fix any security vulnerabilities. Another feature we don’t see often offered by antivirus is optimized broadband connections. PC Matic helps you speed up your internet connection by adjusting internet settings for better performance.

You can even check your device status to see memory (RAM) and processor (CPU) usage, along with how much disk space is available on your device. That can be helpful to know if you need to free up some space for better performance.

You can check your device status with PC Matic to see memory and processor usage, as well as how much unused disk space you have.

PC Matic antivirus test results

AV-TEST evaluates security products using their default settings to see how they compare with other products, and in May and June 2022, AV-TEST evaluated 19 home user products.[1]

The tests focus on realistic scenarios to see how antivirus programs hold up against everyday security challenges and threats. The programs must demonstrate their abilities and they’re then given scores from 0 to 6. The table below shows how PC Matic scored.

PC Matic AV-TEST results May–June 2022

Test type Windows 10 score
Protection 6.0
Performance 6.0
Usability 3.5

If you have a Mac device, you won’t be able to see scores for PC Matic. AV-TEST only showed results for Windows. There were also no tests run by SE Labs or AV-Comparatives.

When reviewing the tests for Windows, PC Matic didn’t receive stellar results. Under usability, the antivirus skated by with a 3.5. That’s likely due to the false positives where the PC Matic blocked legitimate programs by mistake.

PC Matic claims to categorize files within 24 hours, but that may not always be the case. The delay could leave users with valid programs that remain blocked for some time.

Our PC Matic experience

Our experience with PC Matic on our MacBook Air M1 with macOS Big Sur is a bit mixed. We liked knowing our identity was protected, and the dark web monitoring feature was one we haven’t found in our other antivirus reviews. The scanning was also fast and not complicated to run.

The part we didn’t love is that the interface isn’t the most intuitive to use. Many features aren’t explanatory. The remote tools, such as command prompt and file manager weren’t clear about the reason for their use. Once we looked through the user manual, we found their purposes, but we realize not everybody wants to muddle through 57 pages of technical information.

On the positive side, PC Matic’s command prompt feature gives you the ability to troubleshoot some potential issues for yourself. So we think that feature could be beneficial, if not necessary for everyone.

We did enjoy using the optimization features. PC Matic showed the need to clean up our cache.

PC Matic alerted us that we should clear our cache to free up space.

We also saw how many processes were running after we performed the last scan. It was interesting to see how much RAM and CPU percentage each one uses.

After our last scan, PC Matic also showed us how many processes were running on our device and how that affected our RAM and CPU usage.

PC Matic compatibility

When purchasing an antivirus, you always want to be sure it’s compatible with your devices. It won’t do any good to get a program that works only on a few devices if you have various systems. Plus, many people like to switch out their antivirus on different laptops, desktops, and mobiles, depending on the task. For instance, your gaming computer may not be the best device for working or keeping up with social media.

If you’re checking out PC Matic’s compatibility, you’re covered with these devices and platforms:

  • macOS
  • Windows
  • iOS (iPhone and iPad)
  • Android smartphones and tablets
  • Linux (PC Matic Pro only)

The PC Matic included ad blocker works with all major web browsers including:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge

PC Matic customer support

We were more than pleased with the response from PC Matic’s customer support. In our testing, we had questions regarding the user interface on a Mac versus Windows PC, so we emailed.

We immediately got an automated reply, which is standard for most antivirus emails. Then, in less than a few hours, we got an actual response with the information we needed. The rep was clear in their communication and let us know that the interface is different between the two systems.

There isn’t a phone number you can call for tech support unless you pay the annual $100 fee. If you fork over the cash, you get unlimited calls with a technology expert. You also have access to tech coaching by phone, chat, email, and remote assistance.

Otherwise, you can send an email or use the guides with information on using PC Matic and how to run it on your device. We would’ve liked to have a phone number to call for faster support service without having to pay an additional fee.

PC Matic antivirus cost

If you buy PC Matic antivirus, there are two plans to choose from. You can opt for the annual plan that covers five devices for $50 per year or the lifetime plan that costs $150 and covers the same number of devices for the rest of your life. According to the website, you get the same features with both plans.

When you want to try out the PC Matic product but aren’t sure you want to commit to it long-term, the annual plan is your best bet. Yet, if you love this antivirus and want to use it for the foreseeable future, the lifetime plan will save you quite a bit of money over the long term.

Perhaps the most comparable in price is Kaspersky’s Standard plan, which covers up to five devices for $65.99 a year. It also comes with PC optimization tools as well as online payment protection and a firewall.

You can get other antivirus products for cheaper, but they may not cover as many devices. For example, Norton 360 costs $109.99 per year and only covers five devices with the Deluxe plan. McAfee and Bitdefender Total Security also offer coverage for five devices but costs $119.99 and $94.99 per year, respectively.

With the features you get and the price for multiple devices, we think PC Matic is a good value for the security it offers.

PC Matic Home Security plans and prices

Free Annual plan Lifetime plan
Price Free $50/yr $150 one-time fee
# devices supported 3 Windows devices 5 5
Manual and auto scan
Phishing protection
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Dark web monitoring
Identity theft protection*
Software updater
Startup optimizer
Performance optimization tools
Firewall**
Ad blocker
Details Learn More Learn More Learn More
Prices as of 11/10/2022.
*You can add identity theft protection for two adults and unlimited children to your PC Matic subscription for $100 a year.
**PC Matic includes SuperShield, which works in tandem with your built-in firewall.

PC Matic offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So you can try it out and if you're not satisfied, you don't have to keep paying for your subscription. There are no questions asked, and you can request a full refund within 30 days of your purchase.

Is there a free version of PC Matic?

There is a free version of PC Matic that offers virus protection for up to three devices. But you can only use the free antivirus on Windows platforms. It isn’t available for Mac users.

We didn’t find a lot of information about the free version and couldn’t test it out because we’re on a Mac, but the PC Matic website does show that it is a comprehensive security suite and includes the SuperShield whitelist protection.

PC Matic antivirus FAQs


+

Can PC Matic be trusted?

From the AV-TEST scores, it seems to be a trustworthy product that’s rated an A+ by the Better Business Bureau. There was a spoof about a PC Matic lawsuit in 2013, but the story claims to be satire.


+

Is PC Matic as good as Norton?

PC Matic is not as good as Norton if you want extras like a VPN and webcam protection. But if you’re looking for an antivirus that also has dark web monitoring and uses whitelisting technology, PC Matic takes the lead over Norton.


+

Which is better, PC Matic or Avast?

PC Matic is better price-wise, as it costs $50 per year compared with Avast’s $69.99 annual cost. But Avast does offer better features such as chat protection, parental controls, and VPN service. If you don’t mind the extra cost, Avast may be a better option.


+

Is PC Matic a Chinese company?

PC Matic is not a Chinese company. According to the website, their products are made and supported in the U.S. PC Matic originally started out as PC Pitstop, a company founded in 1999 by Rob Cheng that created solutions to make computers run faster.


+

Does PC Matic include a firewall?

Although PC Matic does not include a firewall, its SuperShied whitelisting feature works in tandem with your device’s default firewall for added security.

Bottom line: Is PC Matic any good?

PC Matic is good antivirus software that uses whitelisting, which isn’t offered by most other antivirus products. The drawback is that legitimate apps could be blocked if the whitelisting process detects them as malware.

Even so, whitelisting still seems to be a more robust way of stopping malware than blacklisting, which is a reactive approach because it removes the files once the malware is definitively identified. By then, it may be too late to circumvent the damage.

Learn More
On PC Matic's website

  • Offers lifetime coverage for a one-time price
  • Comes with an ad blocker and dark web monitoring
  • May block valid programs, giving false positives

Overall, PC Matic is a good antivirus that won’t empty your wallet. If you’re looking for a product that uses whitelisting technology and gives you included features such as dark web monitoring, PC Matic may be the best antivirus software for you.

Author Details
Patti Croft
Patti Croft has a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and an MBA. She's also a Certified Health Data Analyst through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Patti worked in Information Technology for 16 years and loves everything tech and gadgets!

Citations

[1] AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report — May-Jun/2022