Joe Schwartz | Antivirus Editor
Our chief content editor, Joe manages a diverse team of content writers. He holds a degree in online communications and his writing has been featured in a wide range of online publications.
Norton is a well-established name in the antivirus market. Since 1991, Symantec, the parent company, has been selling the Norton Antivirus product. They are seen as one of the most reliable antivirus providers on the market, providing comprehensive coverage across a range of devices.
When it comes to lab tests, Norton has earned a perfect score from AV-Test Institute and performed well on other third-party tests. While ICSA Labs and West Coast Labs don’t test Norton antivirus software, they both certify the software for malware removal and detection. Most independent tests found that it identified and blocked 80% of known threats. That’s a pretty impressive feat.
As we’ll discuss in our Norton review, there are a lot of aspects to consider before purchasing an antivirus product, including all the features, reliability, and how well the product works, alongside any drawbacks. Our comprehensive Norton review will look at the highs, lows, and everything in between so that you can be an informed consumer and make the best choice of antivirus for yourself.
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Norton antivirus comes in several package bundles with different features, depending on what your needs may be. The compatibility accordingly varies. All varieties of Norton Antivirus are compatible with Windows and MacOS systems. Tablet and smartphone varieties that work on Android and iOS systems are available in all versions except the lowest-priced “Plus” package. The number of devices covered in each package also varies, so the bottom line of this part of our Norton antivirus review is that you’ll have to pick the ideal package based on your needs.
Spyware, Malware & Ransomware Scans
When it comes to detecting and removing malware and ransomware, Norton is an efficient and reliable solution. All versions of Norton Antivirus include a full suite of antivirus, spyware, malware, and ransomware protection. IN third-party tests, AV-Tests found that the software removed 100% of well-known threats, and was found to be extremely effective when it comes to zero-day malware threats. In fact, when it comes to removing these threats, Norton performs far better than other antivirus software.
One of the most impressive things about Norton’s approach to malware is that it deals with the issue immediately. Once a threat of this level has been detected, Norton simply deals with it without asking a user for permission. Additionally, their Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 software is configured to handle Ransomware threats with accuracy.
It is worth noting in this review, however, that Norton are known to hog system resources, even in background scanning mode. We’ll talk about this in greater detail below.
Norton's email scan program protect your devices from any harmful viruses or other threats that may appear in the form of innocuous emails. These email scans can be customized to your liking and you can define what Norton should do in the event that it encounters a harmful email or email attachment. The background, on-access scanning nature of Norton (along with most common antivirus and anti-malware programs) ensures that if you download a file that is infected, it’s immediately flagged and quarantined.
Norton also offers email timeout protection ensuring that there always a connection with your email program, even if you download a large attachment. Email scan protection is available to all email programs that use either POP3 or SMTP.
Norton offers a live site adviser which scans all links before you click them. This ensure you can surf the internet with peace of mind. The sophisticated scanner checks online content for everything from spyware, and spam to phishing viruses. There’s an option to configure level of download protection. You could, for example, configure Norton to block all suspicions downloads without the option to download them.
One of the drawbacks to Norton's software that has to be mentioned in any fair review is the system resource usage involved. While the company has improved this in recent years and releases, Norton is somewhat notorious for installing several different processes that all run in the background in support of the software. These can chew through a ton of memory (RAM), and use a decent amount of baseline processor capacity on an ongoing basis, which can slow down even the highest-end systems.
On-demand scanning is comparable to most other antivirus programs, in that it does use a lot of resources when in use. In fact, unless you’re running a really intensive scan you’re unlikely to notice Norton running in the background. Many tests found that Norton uses less than 1% CPU and only about 7 MB of memory. So while more advanced users might notice a difference in speed, many antivirus novices are unlikely to notice a change.
Real-time or background scanning works in a method similar to most major antivirus programs on the market today. The software installs an agent or process (in this case, several) that run in the background at all times. It flags any potentially threatening files, downloads, programs, etc.
We were very impressed with Norton’s real-time scanning which blocked almost all threats in real-time. Most tests indicate that it was able to block 80% of threats in real-time. While efficient, we didn’t like the way the software alerts you to real-time threats. When the anti-virus picks up any threats a small alert window pops up and then disappears. This isn’t helpful, and it’s easy to miss an important alert.
Plans & Pricing
One of our favorite things about Norton is that they offer 4 different plans for all types of users. Their standard 1 PC antivirus plan starts at just $39.99 for the first year, though the price is likely to rise after the initial year. Norton also offers a more robust 1 device plan for $39.99 for the the first year, which can be used for any smartphone or computer. Norton's most popular package is their 5 device security deluxe which starts at $49.99 a year and offers almost all their premium features except for family safety features, automatic backups, and 2 GB of cloud storage. These features as well as all the basic antivirus and anti-malware tools are only included in the 10 device premium plan which starts at $54.99 for the first year.
Norton offers a full range of customer support options and is a well-established, large company with support in many languages and locations around the globe. There’s a self-help option, which includes a detailed set of FAQs and a knowledge base online. There are also lots of articles and blog-style news and information updates that customers can access.
A forum for customers, where you can get answers from other users and ask questions, is also part of their support center. The key part of Norton's customer support consists of online (email ticket) support, live text chat report, and a live phone support system with toll-free numbers in many countries, all available 24/7. Social media outreach is also available.
The bottom line of our Norton antivirus review is that Norton is a great choice for those looking for a simple yet powerful antivirus. Their product has very competitive prices for single user plans, but for users who require multiple devices, other options might offer better pricing.
In terms of raw performance, Norton antivirus does what it’s supposed to do. The biggest drawbacks, though, are the sheer amount of system resources or processes that can chew through your devices and slow down performance.
|Antivirus Basic||Security Deluxe||Norton Security Deluxe - 5 Devices|
|Price per year||$19.99||$39.99||$49.99|
|License duration||1 year||1 year||1 year|
|Blocks 250,000,000+ daily threats|
|Mobile security (for both Android and iOS)|