AVG AntiVirus 2013 is the commercial version of the company's malware hunter, which includes everything you'd expect from an antivirus tool, and then throws in plenty of extras for good measure.
The first change you'll see is the new and very Windows 8-like interface. Plain green tiles on a dark background organise its functions into four main categories: "Computer", "Web Browsing", "Identity" and "E-mails". Separate buttons allow you to launch scans or updates with a single click, and an Options menu provides easy access to anything else you might need: it's all very straightforward (and now Windows 8-compatible, too).
And the second change should be an increase in scanning performance, as in our tests the program proved to be very fast indeed. This doesn't apply quite so much to the first optimisation scan, which on our trial PC took 8:20 to scan around 680,000 objects. But subsequent Whole Computer scans then took on average only 1:20, a very acceptable time.
This extra speed doesn't seem to have involved any compromise in accuracy, though. Our tests showed AVG AntiVirus 2013 had a marginally better detection rate than the previous engine. And the program is a little more lightweight, too, although still uses more RAM than we would like (typically 40-60MB, and briefly more when scanning).
Beyond the core antivirus features, the program also installs AVG's toolbar (it's IE, Firefox and Chrome-compatible) to help detect malicious sites while you're browsing. Although if you don't like toolbars, no problem - just choose the Custom Install option when installing AVG AntiVirus and you'll have the option to leave this out.
And elsewhere, an Email module examines incoming messages for threats; Identity Protection monitors program behaviour and blocks actions which could lead to identity theft; and there's easier access to mobile protection in the form of AVG's free Android antivirus app (click "More from AVG" for links to that, and several other AVG apps).
But why choose the commercial version when you could opt for AVG Free? The key advantage is download protection. AVG Antivirus 2013 checks the files you download (or share via instant messaging) against both its own scanning engine and the LinkScanner. You also get priority technical support and more frequent updates, so if you're looking for the maximum protection then AVG Antivirus 2013 could be worth the cost.