Are you looking for good antivirus software for home use? BullGuard VS PC Matic is a tough choice you’re guaranteed to bump into. At a glance, you can tell that they come from companies with tradition in the cybersecurity niche. They also boast excellent malware-detection scores, a rich selection of products and don’t break the bank. But which one will come out on top? Which one will give you the best value for your money and the least headaches with the setup and day-to-day use? Here’s what I can tell you and what you must know before making a purchase.
PC Matic VS BullGuard = a simple security solution that whitelists legitimate software and offers real-time protection… optionally VS a comprehensive security solution with cloud storage that blacklists malware and relies on AI & machine learning! BullGuard looks more advanced, but is that all?
Of course, that’s not all. Because other than the malware detection mechanisms, we still need to look into security features, right? And let’s not forget the price, ease of use, or compatibility. Don’t walk away; I want to share with you a few details you should care about!
So, let’s give it a lot more than a glance.
First, a little bit of background
Some people like to know what they put their money into, and I’m one of those people. So before I make a purchase, I can’t help but wonder. What’s up with these guys? Is the company legit? Are other people buying from them? For how long have they been on the market?
In this case, I wasn’t going to ask them and wait to see what they have to say. So instead, I went to the world’s most famous online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, and dug a little deeper. I found out that there is a Wiki page for BullGuard and no mention whatsoever of PC Matic. Can you believe this, considering that BullGuard is the newer player on the market?
A US company
PC Matic goes by the label of a US company, launched in 1999 by Rob Cheng and Dave Methvin. To this day, it acts as a virtual company with all its employees working remotely from various states – California, South Carolina, South Dakota, Florida, Maryland, Iowa, etc. Interestingly enough, PC Matic didn’t start as a provider of security solutions. Instead, they were a computer diagnostic service, PC Pitstop – hence their evident focus on computer diagnostic tools with the PC Matic security solutions developed later on.
A global company
BullGuard is a UK company initially powered by Danish brains. It was launched in June 2002 by Morten Lund and Theis Søndergaard, and it was a security solutions provider from the very beginning. By early 2003, it already had over 3 million users, and by 2006, it went above 16 million users. And while we speak, they have… well, who’s counting? In any case, they have more users than PC Matic, who can’t seem to brag with numbers at all. And while their headquarters are in London, they also have offices in the US, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, and Romania.
The three-year gap between the two of them shouldn’t necessarily make a huge difference. Still, the fact that BullGuard is so widely spread in different countries on two continents, as opposed to PC Matic’s virtual presence, does tilt the balance towards the Bull. And it’s probably also why they have much better customer support, because they have heavy human resources and are better organized too, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
PC Matic VS BullGuard – 0:1
Is PC Matic a good antivirus? Is BullGuard better?
According to The Independent IT-Security Institute, the most recent tests conducted in April 2021 indicated that BullGuard scored a perfect 6/6/6 compared to PC Matic’s 4.5/6/4 score in terms of Protection/Performance/Usability within the Windows Antivirus Software for Home Users category.
(As seen on AV Test)
It goes to show that the answer to our question from above – “Is PC Matic a good antivirus” is yes, it is, only that it’s followed by the obvious, “but BullGuard is better.”
AV Test’s analysis reflected that PC Matic’s protection is at a 4.5 level out of 6, whereas its usability is even lower, at a 4 level out of 6. The only category where it matched BullGuard was performance, which suggests that both will work smoothly without slowing down your device.
What does “performance” mean in these tests?
Performance-wise, independent test labs look at how long a PC will take to visit certain websites, download software, copy data, run programs, or install new programs before and after the antivirus was installed on it. Contrary to what you might expect, an antivirus software’s performance rating reflects how little it will impact the system’s performance and not how well it “performs” in terms of detection capabilities.
Long story short, you’re going to get the best protection, system performance, and usability experience with BullGuard.
PC Matic VS BullGuard – 0:2
What are your security options? What are their costs?
Now, if you’re anxious to get a little bit more into details, let’s take a look at their offerings. What packages do you get to choose from, what features do they include, and how much should you pay for them? Let’s see:
PC Matic’s offer is limited, with three main products for home use. So if you aim to cover multiple devices with one security solution, you’ll want to look at their standard PC Matic package with licenses for up to 5 devices, priced at $50 a year OR $150 for a lifetime.
BullGuard offers no less than nine different products for home use, each one with its particularities and options. You have two multi-device security packages and a stand-alone VPN, all of which are designed for multiple devices, plus desktop and mobile security products. To top it off, they’re also offering some premium services, like assistance with virus removal, antivirus set up, and PC tune-up.
But if you’re looking to protect more than one device, the best choice is their awarded BullGuard Internet Security I mentioned above. It relies on cloud protection technology with real-time detection, dynamic machine learning for offline protection, and a custom-built browser for secure shopping and online payments. A license for one year that covers up to 3 devices is only $29.99, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Both PC Matic and BullGuard come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and cover Windows, Mac, and Android devices.
What makes Bullguard more attractive is the price, which is lower than PC Matic’s price.
Still, if you give it some serious thought, do you see yourself using the same single antivirus software for a lifetime? If not, paying $150 for something you won’t use forever looks less like a great deal.
By now, PC Matic looks less affordable, indeed, but let’s not forget that its protection isn’t entirely bulletproof. And if you’re going to look at their working mechanisms closely, BullGuard is not that expensive for what it’s offering.
For now, however, let’s just give Bullguard one point for the lower price tag.
PC Matic VS BullGuard – 0:3
Malware protection mechanisms
I made it clear from the very beginning that PC Matic is whitelisting security software. But, truthfully, this isn’t how most antivirus software works, and PC Matic is playing this card loud and clear.
Their website often mentions that their whitelist antivirus is different than the blacklist antiviruses out there, and that’s true. Still, they are trying to make it look like their competitors are all about blacklisting as if they have no other detection mechanisms whatsoever, which isn’t the case.
PC Matic’s essential protection relies on creating a list of applications considered “secure” and blocking anything else that doesn’t fall on the list. By contrast, other antivirus software, BullGuard’s included, use the database of blacklisted virus signatures along with artificial intelligence and machine learning mechanisms.
While PC Matic has this somewhat limited approach and makes its real-time protection optional (! that’s right, you’ve read it correctly), BullGuard goes above and beyond to interwind multiple protection layers.
How does PC Matic protect your devices?
As suggested, PC Matic’s strategy is to block all the unknown applications. This means two things:
1) You’re the one supposed to “instruct” it on the “known” applications, the ones it should consider secure and allow you to use them.
2) It is very likely that, later on, you’ll come across harmless applications you’ll want to use and that the antivirus will block your access to because they’re not on its whitelist.
Then, it goes on to protect you against fake virus scams by blocking websites trying to show pop-ups containing phone numbers. Such websites are known for their phony virus scam strategies. So the antivirus will block the pop-up window and redirect you to a secure page where you get extra information about the encountered security risk.
Notably important, PC Matic also offers you a script blocking agent, an ad blocker (compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Internet Explorer), and patch management and driver updates. Finally, as a Windows-only feature, it also boasts an automated PC maintenance function that will become active at every new scan – that is, of course, if you’re initiating the scans yourself!
Yet, with no sign of artificial intelligence and machine learning detection mechanisms on PC Matic, it’s pretty apparent which one gets the extra point this round.
How does BullGuard protect your devices?
BullGuard comes with real-time protection by default. It monitors what happens on your device, even when you do not have an active internet connection, and blocks whatever potentially malicious behavior.
On the one hand, it has the traditional, signature-based detection, which is effective for the most common threats. But, on the other hand, it uses Sentry, a behavioral engine, to protect against the more complex threats, zero-day attacks included.
This antivirus scans things when you’re trying to access them, making it particularly effective if you’re not the type of user who frequently runs manual scans. Thanks to the On-Access built-in engine, it scans whatever you’re trying to access, in real-time, sparing you of the stress of having to run other scans by yourself.
With the Secure Browser, you’re getting most of the browser functionalities – shortcuts, suggestions, address bar hints – without downloading plug-ins, cookies, or extensions without your permission. In short: Big tech cannot track your online activity.
The Vulnerability Scanner will block automatic downloads while checking the authenticity of the drivers and apps you choose to download and alerts you if there’s any security update you haven’t allowed it to install so far.
To top it off, it also comes with a firewall that tracks security updates, blocks unauthorized connection attempts, and provides end-to-end protection. And it does all that while ensuring the fastest performance ever.
BullGuard Internet Security is the company’s awarded antivirus solution, their fastest release ever. In addition, it relies on virus definition files with tiny sizes, contributing to increased application performance and reduced system resource usage.
PC Matic VS BullGuard – 0:4
Setup difficulty – how do you make it work?
Making it work is tricky with many different antivirus software because, as it turns out, downloading the installation software and running it on your device isn’t always enough to have it protect you.
PC Matic installation
From this perspective, PC Matic is here to make you scratch your head a little bit. You’ll probably be OK with following the installation prompts and restarting the device afterward. But it’s the activation and configuration of the Shield Protection that makes room for extra pain!
After you’ve installed the software and logged in with your credentials, you’ll need to tap the Gear Icon and hit the Installation button, waiting for it to get over this final step. You’ll know you got it right only after you start seeing the Gear AND the SuperShield icons within the system tray.
BullGuard comes with a plug & play setup, something that I love and that I believe you’re going to appreciate, too. What this means is that the antivirus is ready to protect your device the moment you install it. Then, you don’t even need to initiate a restart!
However, you can (and you should!) take advantage of a few settings that you are allowed to customize yourself, but those are pretty straightforward to use. Of course, I’m talking about:
- the Antivirus menu, from where you can schedule a quick, full, or customized scan;
- the Backup profile – from where you’re telling it where to store your backup files (you get to choose between your local hard-disk, Dropbox, One Drive, and Online Drive);
- the Parental controls – if you have children, you will also want to look into this menu, create a separate Windows account, and grant user permissions from there.
But that’s all you have to look into. And if you’re not a very technical person, you’ll probably be good by simply checking the backup options and nothing else.
Without further ado, BullGuard scores extra points for the easy setup too.
PC Matic VS BullGuard – 0:5
User experience – wrap your head around it?
You could have guessed the answer to this question from the moment I showed you AV Test’s results in terms of performance and usability in the previous section, “Is PC Matic a good antivirus? Is BullGuard better?”. But let me detail it a little bit.
The user experience is one of those things many buyers are interested in, and for all the right reasons. After all, a good product may become useless or, in any case, not be used at its full capabilities if you can’t get a grasp of your options and access them with ease. This is where the user interface, and the experience it generates, play an essential role.
The PC Matic user experience
For PC Matic, you could tell from miles away that its user interface is more straightforward than the one of BullGuard (and was revamped just in February 2021). However, it’s because it has so few options you can work with!
The funny thing about PC Matic is that it is far from easy to install and set up (remember that SuperShield needs separate activation, and safe listing apps by yourself will most likely require you to watch a tutorial first). Then, it goes on with a simple menu that doesn’t need to cram in too many things, and it hits you again with this overly detailed scanning report that you probably won’t know what to make of.
In my opinion, PC Matic makes things harder where they shouldn’t be (setup and reports). And while it does have a more simplistic interface, as I said, it’s primarily because it doesn’t have a ton of features as BullGuard has.
Still, I’ve seen simpler antivirus software that makes things much easier for its users, and I can tell that despite looking somewhat better, PC Matic’s user interface is certainly not the most appealing one. Furthermore, during my own tests on it, I often felt I could have used a bit more information about the functions I was using.
The BullGuard user experience
With BullGuard, UX is critical because the antivirus is packed with tons of features. It has everything you’re looking for in high-quality antivirus software, and while this is in your best interest, it can also become a bit of a liability. The more options it provides, the more menus you need to check when trying to use those functions.
But thankfully, the BullGuard antivirus does offer a pretty clear user interface, with panels for each of the main functions – Antivirus, Firewall, Vulnerabilities, and so on. Depending on which version you purchased, some of these panels will be inactive and become available to you should you decide to upgrade.
Otherwise, you’re just supposed to click on the panels/tabs and navigate the menus and submenus associated with each one. Once you get the hang of it and see where each feature is placed, you’ll be able to use your AV with your eyes closed.
PC Matic VS BullGuard – 0:6
How’s the customer support?
PC Matic does everything remotely, with its employees scattered throughout the States. It can hardly compete against BullGuard and its extended team with many brick-and-mortar offices – at least in terms of customer support.
So, sadly, all that PC Matic has to offer you – of course, aside from the ton of online resources and tutorials you’re supposed to watch – is online form support. If you’re in trouble, hit them a message and wait. They’ll get back at you.
By contrast and entirely overshadowing its adversary in this category, BullGuard is better organized and capable of backing up its online resources for users with more than 24/7 chat support. They also run a dedicated forum to give you general IT advice or specific malware troubleshooting support.
Moreover, BullGuard has a premium customer support service where you pay and let them clean up the viruses from your PC.
PC Matic VS BullGuard – 0:7
PC Matic loses the competition for many reasons
It has a more complicated activation process, lower detection scores, a tendency to block valid programs often, and a very cluttered report format. Furthermore, its real-time protection is optional (if you don’t activate the SuperShield yourself, you’re going to miss on it!).
And remember – all these are flaws of the paid version! The free version for home usage is considerably less effective than many other free antivirus software and doesn’t even come with real-time protection at all, just malware scanning!
BullGuard wins by overdelivering
It has a more complicated detection mechanism that ensures higher accuracy and excellent detection rates, all without making you sweat about it. I mean, it’s backed up by a super simple user interface that makes your experience a breeze. And while it’s more expensive than PC Matic, it is an affordable option among the top-rated antivirus solutions out there.
As a result, you have no reasons to doubt its detection capabilities, you can expect to navigate through its settings effortlessly, and you’re guaranteed to find a ton of value in it, should you decide to purchase it. The choice on PC Matic VS BullGuard is pretty obvious. Wouldn’t you say so?