Norton Antivirus Review

Norton Security Suite is the default choice in antivirus protection. But is it the best one?
Written by | Updated December 12, 2019
Norton logo

Best for Comprehensive Protection

3.5/5
  • Protects against viruses
  • Thwarts malware
  • Scans for ransomware
  • Watches out for spyware
  • Blocks phishing scams

Norton Antivirus at a Glance

Norton Antivirus has an extensive collection of antivirus 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 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 with LifeLock suite of programs for this review, but dive into the website and you’ll find a whole zoo of programs to protect your devices.

Norton Pricing and Plans

Norton 360 with LifeLock has three pricing options. Each program requires a low monthly fee and works with Mac, iOS, PC, and Android 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 Select plan, you get online threat protection, a smart firewall, a password manager, and a secure VPN.

Monthly Fee
Devices Protected
Backup Storage
Virus, Malware, Ransomware, Spyware Protection
Transaction Monitoring
Retirement and Investment Monitoring
Learn More
Norton 360 Select
Norton 360 Advantage
Norton 360 Ultimate Plus
Norton logo Norton logo Norton logo
$9.99/mo. $19.99/mo. $29.99/mo.
Up to 5 Up to 10 Unlimited
100GB 250GB 500GB
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
X
Yes
Yes
No
X
No
X
Yes
Visit Norton Visit Norton Visit Norton

Pros

Works for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android

Aside from the automatic file backup and extra storage included with the Premium Plan, all of the suite’s features are available for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Competing products often won’t work across multiple operating systems.

Unique protection

It’s not every antivirus software that provides identity theft protection if when your information gets swiped, but Norton does. Granted, you have to pay more for this service, but the Advantage 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 get your information back

Cons

Limited features for all devices

While the cheapest plan has some powerful features, not all of them work for every device. Before you sign up for a plan, be sure to read the fine print to see if your device can support the features you want. 

laptop with norton on screen

Norton Antivirus Features and Usability

Pros

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.

Cons

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 it has slimmed down in recent years, Norton Security Suite is still not a light program. It uses a significant amount of memory, especially during live updates and scans.

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.

Norton Antivirus FAQs

Is there a free trial of the Norton Security Suite?

Symantec offers 30-day free trials of its top two plans, Norton Security Deluxe and Norton Security Premium.

Do any of the plans include VPN service?

No. For that level of protection, you have to add Wi-Fi Privacy for an additional cost.

Is it true that Norton customer support experts have scammed clients?

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 will not 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.

The Bottom Line

Norton Security Suite 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 and includes fewer extra features than some competitors.

Pros

  • Provides consistent protection from viruses, malware, and internet threats
  • Works for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS

Cons

  • Lacks specialty features
  • Reports false positives

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How We Evaluated Norton Antivirus

We’ve put Norton to the test, carefully researching the company, studying expert reviews, and comparing customer ratings to evaluate the features, usability, and cost of their antivirus software. For more information on how we evaluated Norton Antivirus, take a look at our methodology.

Written by Katie McEntire

Since 2013, Katie has written marketing copy, long-form posts, reviews, and blogs. She began her career as a writer and reviewer with the mission to recommend only the best products for her readers. She’s designed tests, evaluated products, and written reviews on a range of subjects such as appliances, power tools, and software. Today, she applies these research and writing skills on the SafeWise team to explore the world of home, auto, and internet security. Learn more

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