Dynamite software downloads

Why pay more for software? We stack up three examples of freeware against their popular -- and sometimes pricey -- software counterparts.

Google Drive vs. Microsoft Office Suite

Save up to: $350

Google Drive has tools that mirror Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Adobe Acrobat and that are also compatible with those programs, says Dan Ackerman, senior editor at tech site CNET.com.

A new download lets you work offline, but you still need Internet access for some of Drive's features.

Avast Free Antivirus vs. Norton 360 v6

Save up to: $49

"Antivirus freeware is one place where a consumer can get great value," Ackerman says. Avast Free provides a shield for e-mail, as well as anti-phishing and anti-spyware protection. It even auto-updates every four hours.

Avast doesn't have the free live chat or phone support that Norton does; it also doesn't provide antispam or firewall protection.

Picasa or Pixlr.com vs. Photoshop CS6

Save up to: $700

Picasa has all the features an amateur shooter needs to tweak photos, including cropping, color, and light adjustment. Pixlr.com offers more advanced filters for those with a bit more experience, Ackerman says.

Neither has Photoshop's proprietary file format, so you won't be able to share files with people who use Photoshop.

  @Money - Last updated August 07 2012 05:02 PM ET
Join the Conversation
Save your way to $1 million

Just 10 years of aggressive saving can help you sock away enough money for a comfortable retirement.

Find Homes for sale
  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
    New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
    Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.