If you’re going to pay for an anti-malware suite, this is the one to go for right now, as it packs in tons of features and excellent virus protection at a low price – just watch out for renewal costs.
- Perfect malware protection
- Wide range of features
- Includes full VPN
- 50GB of online backup storage
- Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
- 5 devices
- Browser link checking
- 50GB cloud backup
- Norton Secure VPN full
- Webcam protection
- Password manager
- Silent detection mode
What is Symantec Norton 360 Deluxe?
Symantec’s antivirus engine is among the most widely tested, which means that we have plenty of solid evidence of its outstanding performance. It performed nearly perfectly in the latest tests by three of the most rigorous anti-malware testing labs: AV-TEST, AV Comparatives and SELabs, making Symantec’s Norton range our top paid-for antivirus suites for home users.
It’s surprisingly cheap, too, assuming you buy either a retail copy – currently less than £20 from Amazon – or get a £29.99 introductory subscription from the Norton’s UK website. However, if you opt for the latter, note that the price goes up to £79.99 in the second year.
You’ll definitely want to disable automatic renewals, and the best way to buy most antivirus software is still to simply buy keys at retail stores and activate them in the client or on your account. When you activate a product key, you’re prompted to enable automatic renewal by default, but it’s possible to cancel this.
Features, set-up and usability
At install time, you’re prompted to join Norton CommunityWatch, which sends back data for analysis. This is generally beneficial, but should be avoided if you work with confidential or privileged documents. We appreciated how clearly it was signposted and presented as an opt-in, rather than opt-out, choice.
Norton 360 has a particularly aggressive set of firewall rules which activate as soon as installation is complete, which can lock down your PC’s network connections, depending on how you have it configured. If you’re connected to a public network, protocols such as RDP, file sharing and printer sharing will be disabled by default.
Norton’s firewall controls are clear and highly granular, with a few smart options to help protect against man-in-the-middle attacks and the ability to set per-interface trust levels. It can be disabled if you prefer working with the more familiar Windows Defender firewall.
While Norton’s core real-time system security features are enabled by default, including real-time browser protection, you’ll have to set up some features manually, such as the Safe Web browser plugin that warns against potentially malicious search results and phishing sites, and Norton’s own unnecessarily intrusive Safe Search and default home page options – we suggest avoiding the latter two.
Norton 360 Deluxe comes with plenty of extra security features, including a subscription to Norton Secure VPN, parental controls, system clean-up and optimisation tools, a password manager, 50GB of cloud storage for your backups and a webcam protection feature that alerts you when anything unexpected attempts to enable your camera. There’s a silent mode, too, so you don’t have to be bothered by alert pop-ups, but you can only enable it for a maximum of one day at a time.
There’s no integrated rescue disk creator, but a bootable recovery tool is available to download for free in case a catastrophic malware attack prevents you from getting into Windows.
When uninstalling the software, you’ll have to remember to uncheck the box offering layered protection, which will continue to periodically scan your computer for malware unless you opt out.
Norton – Performance
|Testing facility||AV-TEST||AV Comparatives||SE Labs|
|Real-World Threat Protection||100%||100%||100|
In the latest SELabs real-world malware exposure tests, it protected against 100% of infections, with no false positives. Two months of testing by AV-TEST found the same, and rated its impact on system performance as minimal. It also detected 100% of malware in the most recent AV Comparatives real-world test, with just four false positives.
Norton 360 has repeatedly been shown to be extremely effective, but may require more configuration than some rivals, particularly if you have an unconventional networking set-up. If you avoid its auto-renewal options, it’s competitively priced and comes with an excellent range of bonus features, including an acceptably decent VPN.
Should I buy Symantec Norton 360 Deluxe?
If staying safe online is your priority, it’s hard to argue with those scores. It’s also great to see that such protection doesn’t come at a cost to system performance, with Norton 360 having a low impact on PC processes.
Throw in the fact that you can protect MacOS, iOS and Android devices as well as Windows machines, covering up to ten devices (with Norton 360 Premium) in your home in total makes Symantec’s offering a solid choice for families and busy homes.
Independent testing proves that Norton 360’s antivirus protection claims are impeccable. Add low system impact, generous first year prices and multi-platform support, as well as extra features like the password manager, parental controls and a VPN, means that Symantec’s Norton 360 stands out from the pack.
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