Dynamite software downloads
picasa

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
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