Norton Antivirus Review

Norton 360 is the default choice in antivirus protection. But is it the best one?
Best for comprehensive protection
Norton
Norton Antivirus
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starts at
$59.99
/yr*
  • pro
    Protects against malware
  • pro
    Blocks phishing scams
  • pro
    Excellent device support

*First year prices start at $19.99/yr. for the base plan. Subsequent years start at $59.99/yr.

Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
April 07, 2022

Norton Antivirus has an extensive collection of anti-malware and internet security programs. From its antivirus programs to secure VPN services, if you’ve bought a computer in the last decade, you’ve probably seen Norton Antivirus in action.

Like all the best digital defenders, Norton scans your device regularly and compares code in your device to its database of malware and viruses. We focused on the Norton 360 suite of programs for this review, but dive into the website and you’ll find a whole zoo of programs to protect your devices.

pro
Pros
pro Protection against malware and internet threats
pro Unique protection options
pro Works with PC, Mac, Android, and iOS
con
Cons
con Lacks specialty features
con Reports false positives
con No Antivirus Plus on iOS or Android

Compare Norton Antivirus monthly costs

Plan
Price
Devices protected
Cloud backup storage
Malware and threat protectionIcon Tooltip  Dark
Online privacy protectionIcon Tooltip  Dark
Parental controls
Learn more
1
(Mac, PC)
2 GB
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
1
(Android, iOS, Mac, PC)
10 GB
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
5
(Android, iOS, Mac, PC)
50 GB
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
10
(Android, iOS, Mac, PC)
100 GB
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Light Bulb
Multi-platform functionality

While Norton Antivirus Plus has powerful features, it's not available on Android or iOS. All of Norton 360’s features are available on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Norton 360 has three pricing options. Each program requires a low annual fee and works with Android, iOS, Mac, iOS, and PC devices.

They all protect against basic online threats like spyware, viruses, malware, and ransomware. All three of the Norton 360 programs include features you'd normally have to pay extra for, too.

Even with the Standard plan, you get online threat protection, a smart firewall, a password manager, and a secure VPN.

Norton's unique protection options

It’s not every antivirus software that provides identity theft protection when your information gets swiped, but Norton does. Granted, you have to pay more for Norton 360 with Lifelock, but the Select and Ultimate Plus plans both offer services other antivirus programs can’t touch:

  • Transaction monitoring watches your online transactions for any shady activity
  • Retirement and investment monitoring  protects your assets like your 401k from online invasion
  • Identity restoration connects you with an Identity Restoration Specialist who can help you deal with identity theft breaches

Norton antivirus features

laptop with norton on screen

Consistent, comprehensive protection

There’s a reason Norton is one of the most well-known and trusted names in the antivirus business. Even the most critical reviewers have to acknowledge that Norton does a good job of preventing active malware intrusion and has a very high overall detection rate.

Clean user interface

In recent years Norton has streamlined its UI to be simpler and more customer-friendly, dividing its services into four easy-to-access tabs.

Silent mode

Norton offers the option to silence notifications, a mode particularly appreciated by gamers.

False positives

Compared to other antivirus programs, Norton has a relatively high percentage of false positives (safe programs flagged as dangerous or potentially unwanted programs). Flagging safe programs is better than missing dangerous ones, but it can hinder usability—particularly without a clear user-override option. Norton has improved in this area in recent years, but users and reviewers still report problems.

High RAM use

While they're better in recent years, Norton 360 and Norton Antivirus aren't light programs when it comes to using RAM. They use a huge amount of memory, especially during live updates and scans.

To make matters worse, Norton includes a cryptominer in its software that runs in the background when your computer's idle. We don't recommend using this feature.

Less effective for adware

While almost completely effective for viruses and malware, Norton has shown less diehard security measures when it comes to adware.

Notification delays

Users and reviewers have noted delays between the scanning of a file and the notification of any problems or resolution. This is a minor concern but is a pet peeve for some tech aficionados.

Final word

Norton Antivirus continues to be a solid choice for antivirus and internet security protection. It has a great track record for virus and malware detection and is competitively priced. But it is a bit clunky in its usability.

Norton Antivirus FAQ

Norton offers seven-day free trials on all four of its antivirus and Norton 360 plans.

You can get a secure VPN on any Norton 360 plan but it's not available on Norton Antivirus Plus.

No. In recent years, many customers have claimed that Norton customer support has either tricked them into “fixing” a nonexistent virus or actually implanted a virus (via customer-granted remote access for assistance) in order to remove it. In both of these situations, customers have been charged upwards of $100 for virus removal.

These are the result of customer service scams, often in the form of infection warning pop-ups listing a false phone number for Norton customer support.

Official Norton customer support is free to subscribers and won't contact you unsolicited.

Visit Norton’s technical support page for more information on how to avoid these kinds of scams and what to do if you fall into one.

Yes, Norton has a parental controls app called Norton Family. It is included when you buy Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 Premium, or you can purchase it on its own. Find out more in our Norton Family Parental Control Review.

How we reviewed Norton Antivirus

We’ve put Norton to the test, carefully researching the company, expert reviews, and customer ratings. We rated it based on features, usability, and cost of the antivirus software. For more information on how we evaluate products like Norton Antivirus and Norton 360, take a look at our methodology.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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