When it comes to finding the best antivirus software out there, Norton has been one of the first names that springs to mind for years now. Nowadays it doesn’t just offer antivirus software though, as Norton always makes some of the best internet security software too with comprehensive packages that include VPNs and cloud data backups.
But which is the right package for you? Do you go for the basic antivirus setup, or splash the cash and go for the Ultimate Plus edition in an attempt to have a home more secure than the Pentagon? Well that all depends on who you are, how many people you’re looking to cover and just how valuable the data you’re looking to protect is. And just how good is Norton’s antivirus program when it comes to keeping your devices safe from online threats and malicious software?
So strap in as we take you through the six different security packages that Norton offers and explain which one is right for you.
Norton review: Norton Antivirus Plus
- $19.99 for first year, $39.99 normally.
- Excellent antivirus program.
This is Norton’s basic antivirus program without all the bells and whistles that you find in its more complete security systems. It’s also the cheapest of Norton’s offerings, costing $19.99 for the first year and then $59.99 annually after that. For that you get a comprehensive suite of online protection software for a single device (PC, laptop or Mac). This includes the essentials like antivirus and firewall, but also protection against spyware, ransomware, and malware. This is all backed up with online threat protection, which is designed to keep your personal information safe when you’re browsing the web.
You also get 2GB of cloud storage to backup your laptop or computer’s hard drive to keep your files safe should a virus actually make it through onto your computer and destroy your local copies. 2GB is enough to safeguard work documents easily enough, but this might not be enough if you have an extensive photo or video library on your hard drive.
There’s also a password manager, which generates complex passwords for your various online accounts and stores them in a secure online server, from which you can easily access them across your devices. Password managers are becoming increasingly popular online and it’s great to see one thrown in here.
Finally, there is Norton’s Virus Protection Promise, which states that they will refund you the cost of your subscription if your computer gets a virus that it can’t remove. This is… fine, but if you get a virus that Norton can’t remove, you’ll also likely be out the cost of your PC or laptop. A guarantee to replace your device would be much better, but it’s something at least.
Norton review: Norton 360 Standard
- $39.99 for first year, $79.99 normally.
- Includes VPN and webcam security.
Norton 360 Standard is the next step up from the antivirus and offers a more complete security package. Again, it covers one device (either a PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet) and contains everything that you’ll find in Norton Antivirus Plus, along with some extra features to help keep you even more secure online. Norton 360 Standard costs $39.99 for the first year and then $79.99 annually after that. But what do you get for that extra money?
Well to start with your cloud storage data limit is increased to 10GB, which means you’ll be able to securely store and protect a lot more data. This will probably be enough data for an average user, though again people with extensive media libraries that need protecting might need more space.
Along with the extra storage space, you also get access to a secure VPN, which encrypts your online activity data, making sure you stay anonymous and safe when you’re online. This is especially useful if you often use public or unsecured WiFi networks, where you can’t always be sure who is watching. If you’re looking for more info on VPNs, check out our best VPN services guide, and our explainer on what a VPN is and why you need one.
There’s also PC Safecam, which specifically blocks unauthorized access to your webcam and dark web monitoring, which will periodically scan the dark web for your email address and notify you if it comes up.
So is Norton 360 worth double the cost of Norton Antivirus Plus? That depends on your needs, but for most users we think that Norton Antivirus Plus will be sufficient. If you were considering getting a VPN separately too, then Norton 360 Standard might be worth considering though, as it’ll work out cheaper than two separate subscriptions but ultimately you’re still only getting cover for a single device.
Norton review: Norton 360 Deluxe
- $49.99 for first year, $99.99 normally.
- Parental controls and covers multiple devices.
Norton 360 Deluxe is the next step up the ladder and this is where things start to get interesting. Norton 360 Deluxe costs $49.99 per year for the first year and $99.99 annually every year after that, but for that extra cost you get everything mentioned above for up to five devices, instead of just one. Your cloud storage limit is also increased again, this time to a chunky 50GB.
Another key feature of Norton 360 Deluxe is the parental controls, which let you monitor your children's online activities with tools to see what videos they watch, what websites they visit and what things they search for. It also tracks what apps they download onto their smartphones and includes GPS tracking on iOS and Android, so you can know where your kids are.
This is the obvious choice for families, as the five device limit will help you to cover every screen in the house while the parental controls help you keep your kids safe online.
Norton review: Norton 360 with LifeLock Select
- $99.99 for first year, $149.99 normally.
- Identity theft protection and financial coverage.
We’re starting to think that Norton offers too many services. Norton 360 with Lifelock Select is the next tier up in the list. It costs $99.99 for the first year and $149.99 annually thereafter. It includes everything in the lower tiers of Norton 360, though the cloud storage data cap has been increased once again to 100GB.
The main benefits to this product are the suite of identity theft protections that it offers. The LifeLock Identity Alert System monitors the web for the usage of your personal details and alerts you if it detects something suspicious. In the event that someone does attempt identity fraud, Norton has a team of US-based identity restoration specialist who will help you to resolve the issue. Then there’s the Million Dollar Protection package, which guarantees money to help you cover personal expenses and lawyers fees in the event of identity theft. The fine print is a little more complicated than “here’s a million dollars”, but the version you get here comes with $25,000 cover for reimbursement and expense, plus up to $1million for lawyers fees if required. Overall, it’s a nice safety net.
There’s also a bunch of monitoring systems in play with Norton 360 with LifeLock Select including credit history monitoring, credit alerts which will flag if someone creates a new account or takes out a loan using your name or details. You will also get data breach notifications, warning you about large scale data breaches at various organisations so that you can secure any accounts you have with them.
Norton review: Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage
- $199.99 for first year, $249.99 normally.
- Covers up to 10 devices and bank transaction monitoring.
We’re just going to breeze through this as it’s largely the same as the LifeLock Select package, but with some bigger numbers attached. For starters, Norton 360 LifeLock Advantage costs $199.99 per year for the first year and $249.99 annually after that. So what do you get for that extra cash? Your cloud storage limit goes up to 250GB, you can cover ten devices (laptops, PCs, smartphones, or tablets) and your reimbursement and expenses allowances go up to $100,000.
Beyond that, you get some extra stuff like court record scanning, which checks to see if anyone has committed a crime and given your name, as well as LifeLock Transaction Monitoring which lets you centralize all your banking alerts from various accounts.
Realistically, you should only be considering this kind of coverage if you have some serious wealth to protect. For the average person, this is going to be overkill. Speaking of overkill...
Norton review: Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus
- $299.99 for first year, $349.99 normally.
- Unlimited devices and 401K monitoring.
Now we’re cooking with gas. At a staggering $299.99 per year for the first year and $349.99 annually every year after, Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus is the top-end personal online security suite from Norton.
You get everything mentioned above, but on an unlimited number of devices and with your cloud storage limit expanded to 500GB. Your personal expenses and reimbursement limits are also expanded to $1,000,000.
Beyond that, your credit history is expanded from one single bureau to three, to give a more complete overview of your credit history. You also get 401K monitoring which monitors your investments, and home title monitoring, which alerts you if someone takes out a loan against your home.
It goes without saying that this is some serious rich person coverage and should only be considered if you have a serious amount of money to protect, or if you’re in the public eye as a prominent figure or celebrity like Robert Downey Jr, in which case, welcome to Top Ten Reviews. We loved you as Iron Man.
Norton review: How good is Norton Antivirus?
- Exceptional protection from viruses and malware.
- Very low impact on PC performance.
To assess the antivirus performance of Norton’s Antivirus Plus and 360 suites, we have looked to AV Test, a specialist institute that compares and evaluates IT security software. In their latest round of testing during February 2020, AV Test found that Norton offered 100% protection against virus and malware attacks, with no false positive results recorded either. As a result, Norton was awarded its Top Product status. It was the same story over at AV Comparatives, who found that Norton blocked 100% of malware in their tests, while only recording a limited number of false positives.
AV Test also found that Norton’s program had very little effect on device performance and didn’t cause much in the way of slowdown. This was also backed up by PassMark’s Consumer Security Products Performance Benchmarks report, which scored Norton as the best internet security product in terms of its low impact on performance.
Norton review: Price
We’ve already covered the prices of the various options that Norton offers but we’ve collated them here for your convenience:
- Norton Antivirus Plus - $19.99 first year, $39.99 normally.
- Norton 360 Standard - $39.99 first year, $79.99 normally.
- Norton 360 Deluxe - $49.99 first year, $99.99 normally.
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Select - $99.99 first year, $149.99 normally.
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage - $199.99 first year, $249.99 normally.
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus - $299.99 first year, $349.99 normally.
Should you buy Norton Antivirus?
It’s less a question of should you buy Norton Antivirus, and more a question of which Norton Antivirus or security package is right for you. If you’re just looking to cover a single device, sat if you live alone or you’re a student living out at college, then the basic Norton Antivirus Plus package will be perfect for you, though you could upgrade to Norton 360 Standard if you’re interested in its extras like the VPN.
Norton 360 Deluxe is the perfect choice for families who have multiple devices that need covering. The parental controls are another added bonus, helping you to keep your children safe when they’re online.
The high-end packages are more tailored towards high flyers - people who have extremely valuable data to protect or large amounts of money to keep secure during their online activities. These are probably the only people who can afford to drop the required cash on this security packages too. Still, if you’re looking for the total package when it comes to online security, Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus is the one to beat.