Norton Antivirus Review 2022: Is It Still the Best?

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9.9 Outstanding!
Written by: Lucca RF
Last updated on Jul 19, 2022

Norton Overview August 2022

Norton is an established player on the antivirus market, so I wanted to see if Norton 360 is really the best in 2022 or if it’s just relying on the brand name.

To determine whether Norton could live up to its reputation, my team and I ran extensive tests on its virus scan, real-time protection, and other antivirus features. All tests were conducted on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, so I could see how well Norton performed across different operating systems.

I’m impressed to say that Norton deserves its spot as the #1 antivirus software (beating out top competitors TotalAV and McAfee). Norton 360 blocked 100% of malware with very little impact on speed or system performance. It even offers a bonus password manager, parental controls, VPN, and cloud backup.

You don’t have to take my word for it though. It’s completely risk-free to try Norton with the 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can confirm the test results for yourself.

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In a Rush? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary

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Security - 10

Norton has few equals in the market and none that do better (although TotalAV comes in at a very close second). Based on my tests, Norton 360 has proven to be a highly secure antivirus with an excellent malware detection rate, strong anti-phishing protection, and a powerful firewall.

Virus Scan — 3 Scan Options Available

My team and I set up a test machine and downloaded malicious files only discovered in the past 2 weeks — and Norton’s full system scan flagged every single cyberattack.

Norton 360 offers 3 scan options depending on how in-depth you want to be. The quick scan focuses on the most at-risk parts of your computer, the full scan inspects every part of your drive and even external drives, and the custom scan lets you only scan the files and folders you want. This gives you a lot of flexibility in keeping your device safe. For example, I run a full scan every few days and a quick scan every morning on bootup.

Norton 360's quick scan resultI could easily set Norton to quick scan my system every time it boots up

The Quick Scan scanned about 11,400 files in 2 minutes, while the Full Scan needed just 12 minutes to scan 778,000 files. This is impressively fast — especially since I didn’t notice any performance impact on my Windows computer! Bear in mind that my 1TB hard drive was half full while running these scans, and I have quite a powerful processor in my PC. Your experience may differ depending on your device.

I’m even more impressed by Norton’s accuracy in detecting malware. A pitfall that antiviruses sometimes run into is being overaggressive and flagging normal websites or programs as malicious. However, when a full system scan was performed, Norton didn’t falsely flag any websites or software as malware. To give you a point of reference, the industry average is 16 false detections. Unlike other antivirus programs, you won’t need to spend unnecessary time trying to determine which files are actually malware (or completely safe) with Norton.

You can also use Norton Insight for faster virus scans in the future. This feature scans your whole system and flags known files as trusted, which are then excluded from future scans. I ran Insight and was glad to see that almost 90% of my files were trusted. As a result, Norton Insight reduced my full scan time from 12 minutes to around 3 minutes!

I also like Norton’s Power Eraser tool for removing deeply-rooted viruses and malware. It’s specifically designed to perform more thorough scans of your device. However, it’s only available on Windows, so Android, Mac, and iOS users won’t have access to this feature.

Secure your device with Norton

Real-Time Protection — Successfully Blocks 100% of All Cyber Threats

My team and I tested Norton’s real-time protection by setting up a test machine and opening malware-infected links discovered in the past 24 hours — and Norton blocked the links 100% of the time. This is especially impressive when compared to the industry average detection rate of 98%.

When I encountered a website or file with a malware infection, Norton displayed a warning message to deter me from downloading or interacting any further. Once a malicious file was detected, Norton immediately moved it to the quarantine zone. You don’t need to take any action after this point, although you can decide to fully delete these files by returning to the quarantine zone in the future.

Many competitors rely heavily on their database of known malware — that’s why not all antiviruses can detect emerging threats that aren’t yet in any databases. Norton is an industry leader in this due to its sophisticated SONAR analysis. This both matches known threats against sites or files you interact with, but also examines the behaviour of applications to determine whether they’re a risk before they’re officially known.

Safe Web Browser Extension — For Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge

Safe Web is a browser extension that constantly scans websites to make sure it’s safe for you to visit. If Safe Web detects a dangerous website, you’ll see a warning pop up on the screen:

Screenshot of Norton Safe Web confirming that a site is safe or dangerous.With Norton Safe Web you add another layer of protection to your browsing

To really put it to the test, I wanted to measure Safe Web’s performance in comparison to Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge’s in-built security system. I collected a list of phishing websites and opened the links on each browser. I compared these results with Safe Web, which I had installed onto a separate Chrome browser. Impressively, Safe Web detected nearly 99% of threats in comparison to Chrome (97%) in second place.

You can also download Norton’s Safe Search extension, which changes your homepage to a dedicated Norton search engine for safer browsing.

Browse safely with Norton 360

Sophisticated Firewall — Great for Beginners and Advanced Users

I like Norton’s firewall as it’s strong enough to immediately use without any further configuration. It’s also highly flexible, so I could manually control the programs with access to my internet network if I wanted more customization.

Screenshot of Norton 360's firewall settings on Windows.I was happy with Norton’s firewall’s default settings, giving you good overall security

Norton has its own “whitelist” (a known and trusted list) of popular known programs, such as Microsoft Word and Skype, so none of these apps will be blocked by the firewall. While I could manually configure Norton with a list of trusted programs, I was glad to see that it also learns by itself. The firewall monitors new applications and blocks them if it notices any malicious actions, keeping your device safe even when you might be unaware of dangers.

Stay safe online with Norton’s firewall

System Performance — Minimal Impact on Device With No Observable Slowdown

Every antivirus software will slow down your device, but I’m pleased to report that I didn’t experience any noticeable slowdown with Norton. In my tests, I kept Norton antivirus running in the background while I launched 10 programs at once, loaded a website 50 times, and transferred a 5GB between my device and external hard drive 5 times.

I had little to no disruption to any of my activities with only a 4 to 9% slowdown. This is a negligible drop and what I’d expect from a premium antivirus product.

Features - 9

Alongside its core antivirus features, Norton offers a host of useful protective measures. While I’ve come to expect such add-ons from antivirus software, I’m often disappointed by the performance. However, Norton surpassed my expectations with its generous cloud backup, parental controls, and password manager. The VPN still needs work in order to compete with standalone VPN services, but it’s one of the best you’ll find inside an antivirus package.

Protect your device with Norton 360!

Cloud Backup — Encrypted Storage for up to 75GB of Data

With Norton’s Cloud Backup, you get encrypted storage so that you can safely backup your important and sensitive important files. This means that you won’t need to worry if you ever have your device stolen or locked by ransomware — you’ll always have access to your files on Norton’s cloud.

Screenshot of Norton 360's cloud storage options and backup frequency selection.Norton’s encrypted cloud storage is useful protection against ransomware

It’s easy to schedule regular backups so Norton can set you automatic reminders. When I tested the backup feature, I could choose between backing up my files weekly, monthly, manually, or automatically.

The most popular Standard and Deluxe plans include 10GB and 75GB respectively, which is significantly more data compared to the competition. For example, Kaspersky only offers 2GB on its most expensive plan!

Protect your device with Norton

Parental Controls — Remotely Monitor Your Child’s Internet Activity

Norton’s parental control software allows you to limit what your children can do and see online. It does this by blocking specific websites and apps, and restricting their time spent online. This feature is only available with the Deluxe, Premium, and LifeLock plans, but I believe it’s well worth the investment if you have kids.

There are many online threats that specifically target children — from websites with explicit content to dangerous strangers lurking in chat rooms. Fortunately, setting up the parental control feature is quick and simple. You create a profile for your child (up to 15 profiles!), install the Norton Family app on your child’s device, log in with your own account, and select your child’s profile. Once the initial setup is complete, you can manage everything else remotely.

Screenshot of Norton 360's parental control settings.I was impressed by the range of parental control options in Norton 360

You can remotely limit screen time, block specific websites, filter content in search engines, and even completely lock the device. However, location tracking and app blocking are only available for mobile devices.

When I tested this feature, I created a parental account and a child’s profile (“Wiz Kid”). I linked the child’s profile with an Android smartphone. I then used the parental account to remotely block the Netflix app on the Wiz Kid profile. The restrictions were immediately active on the Android phone, and the Netflix app was blocked until I deactivated the restrictions from the parental account.

Screenshot of Norton 360's parental control overview on mobileMobile setup requires granting several permissions, but once it’s done you have all-round control

If your child struggles to be productive, Norton Family is a great way of removing access to streaming sites, social media, and other online distractions.

Protect your kids online with Norton Family!

Secure VPN — Unblocks Restricted Sites and Apps (Like Netflix)

A VPN is an essential tool for staying safe online, which is why I’m happy to see that Norton offers its free Secure VPN in every plan (aside from the basic Norton 360 Standard plan). Secure VPN stands out among other antivirus and VPN packages as it has unlimited data and bandwidth. Most antivirus products with a VPN only provide a small monthly data allowance.

However, Secure VPN allows you to stream videos and browse the internet with no restrictions. During my tests, I could even unblock US Netflix, HBO Max, and local streaming platforms like UKTV and ProSieben.

Screenshot of Norton Secure VPN unblocking Netflix US and streaming Schitt's Creek.I was happy to have reliable access to Netflix US with Norton Secure VPN

Most importantly, Secure VPN hides your browsing history from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), hackers, and even law enforcement. This ensures that your online activity remains secure and private, even on public WiFi networks.

While Secure VPN is good for a free service, I was a little dissatisfied with its overall performance in comparison to a standalone VPN. Secure VPN only has 30 server locations worldwide, which often results in server overcrowding and slower speeds. I was further disappointed to learn that Secure VPN actively blocks all torrenting traffic. I wouldn’t recommend it for torrenting anyway, since it does keep some non-identifying logs. In contrast, top standalone VPNs all have no-log policies, fast speeds, and torrenting support.

I suggest limiting your usage of Secure VPN for streaming and casual browsing. You can find the full test results for Secure VPN in this in-depth review.

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Password Manager — Store an Unlimited Number of Passwords

The days of using variations of the same password should be long behind everyone, but I know how difficult it can be to remember strong passwords. With Norton’s password manager, you just have to remember 1 master password and Norton will store all the rest for you.

When you visit a site for which you’ve saved your credentials, Norton auto-fills your login information and password for you. Even better, your passwords will be automatically synced between devices, so you’ll never have to go through the hassle of resetting your password.

Screenshot of Norton 360's password manager vaultImprove the security of your online accounts with Norton’s integrated password manager

I’m especially impressed with Norton’s Autochange Password feature, which I haven’t seen in other dedicated password managers. This gives Norton permission to create new strong passwords, change it for you, and then store it securely — all in a single click. You won’t have to manually update your passwords on individual websites. While this doesn’t work with all websites, it’s compatible with many major sites like Reddit, Facebook, and Netflix.

However, unlike other password managers, you can’t share credentials with others and there’s no two-factor authentication. Regardless, I like the password manager and it’s a great feature within the total Norton 360 package. It’s also available for free as a standalone app.

Keep your passwords secure with Norton!

Ease Of Use - 10

Norton’s installation and apps are intuitive and simple to use. I’m a particular fan of the desktop app for Windows and Mac, which offers a host of advanced features but makes them easily understandable (even for beginner users). Once I’d signed up, I followed Norton’s on-screen installation instructions and the whole process took me just 4 minutes.

Protect your device with Norton

Desktop App for Windows and Mac — Clear and Easy to Use

I find Norton’s desktop apps are extremely user-friendly. On the homepage, you have quick access to the most important tasks (scans, backup, performance optimization) and some general information (last scanned, how many backups, resource usage). For more powerful and advanced options, you can find the firewall, custom scan configurations, and backup settings with just a few more clicks.

I particularly like that you can configure Norton to automatically conduct scans on your preferred schedule. It’s the same for backups — simply choose a time and the specific folders you want to be stored in the cloud, and Norton will take care of it for you.

The only issue I had with Norton’s interface was locating the firewall. Strangely, it’s hidden in the settings section. As a primary feature, I was expecting it to be located on the homepage alongside the scans.

Screenshot of Norton 360's homepage on WindowsYou can easily configure Norton’s powerful antivirus features on Windows and Mac

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Norton Mobile — Highly-Secure Custom Apps for Android and iOS

Norton Mobile is a fantastic antivirus and security app for Android and iOS, and it offers the same advanced features for both operating systems. When you launch the app, you’ll find the virus scan and web protection features displayed on the homepage. You’ll also see a percentage rating telling you how well each device is protected. When you click into this section, the app will show you instructions on how to achieve a full score of 100%.

When I conducted a scan on my Android phone, Norton immediately flagged a few issues. It warned me that Adobe Acrobat was using too much battery (which I was able to stop), and removed an unused root certificate that could be a potential security issue. I’m impressed because I would never have noticed these issues otherwise.

Screenshot of the Norton Mobile security app.I was happy that Norton immediately drew attention to some misconfiguration issues on my Android device

In total, Norton Mobile offers the following features:

  • Anti-Malware Scanning — Scans your device for infections.
  • Privacy Report — Monitors your personal data, such as how apps interact with your location, SIM card, browser history, and more.
  • WiFi Security — Notifies you when you’re connected to an insecure network.
  • Web protection — Blocks fraudulent websites to protect you against scams.
  • Call blocking — Blocks annoying calls and protects against mobile spam.
  • Contact backup — Backs up and restores your contact information.

Secure VPN, Password Manager, and Parental Control are also available on mobile. However, you’ll have to download separate apps for each feature (you can find direct download links within Norton Mobile).

It’s a shame that Norton removed its integrated anti-theft feature from the app, but most Android and iOS devices have a native option for this already. iOS also doesn’t get the benefits of real-time protection with Norton Mobile, but this isn’t a major issue (iOS runs apps in their own “sandboxes”, which removes interference with other apps and their data).

Protect your mobile phone with Norton!

Support - 10

Norton’s support infrastructure is fantastic and truly stands out among the competition. I always had quick access to helpful and friendly support — whether it was over live chat, phone, or the online forums. I find the fastest option is 24/7 live chat, although you can also find up-to-date information on the forums.

24/7 Live Chat — The Best Way to Contact Norton

Norton’s live chat is the fastest way to speak with a support agent. I just had to fill my details into a contact form on the website, and I was connected to a Norton representative in less than a minute. When I asked for assistance using the Power Eraser tool, I was given a helpful and detailed response.

Screenshot of a conversation with a Norton customer support agent via live chat.You can easily find answers to your problems with a support agent through Norton’s live chat

Phone Support — Helpful but Slightly Slow

I’m impressed to find that Norton’s phone chat service is available in 53 countries with support in foreign languages, including German, French, and Spanish. Once you fill in your credentials in an online form on the website, you’ll be given a local number to call. Both the US and UK offer 24/7 assistance, although business hours will differ between countries.

When I called the UK helpline, I was on hold for just over 10 minutes (much slower than live chat). Fortunately, I just wanted some clarification on the Parental Control features, and the Norton representative was well-informed and eager to assist me. If you haven’t got any urgent technical issues, phone support is a great way to contact Norton.

Community Support Forum — Comprehensive and Up-to-Date

I’m a big fan of community support forums, but often they don’t contain enough detailed information to be worth using. Fortunately, Norton’s forum is packed with useful information, thanks to its active members and moderators. I used the forum to quickly find out how to configure advanced firewall features. The forum is available in English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.

Get Norton 360 today and protect your device!

Price - 10

It’s not the most expensive antivirus on the market, but Norton does charge a slightly more premium price than competitors. In exchange, you’ll have access to a generous amount of advanced antivirus and security features — no matter which plan you choose. This is a nice change from other antivirus competitors, which often exclude crucial security features from the cheapest plans (like AVG and Avast).

Here’s a tip: It’s not openly advertised but there’s a way you can use Norton for free for 60 days. All you have to do is sign up with the 60-day money-back guarantee. As long as you ask for a refund before the 60-day period is complete, you’re entitled to a full refund.

Basic Plan: Norton 360 Standard (Worldwide)

Norton 360 Standard is the most affordable global plan and it includes: coverage for 1 device, antivirus and online threat protection, 2GB cloud backup, a firewall, password manager, virus protection promise, VPN, and PC SafeCam.

This is the best option if you don’t need the Parental Control feature, and only need to protect 1 device with limited cloud storage.

Best Value: Norton 360 Deluxe

Norton 360 Deluxe includes all of Standard’s features, plus coverage for 5 devices, 50GB cloud storage, and parental control. This is the package that offers the overall best value, and it allows you to protect both your computer and mobile devices. In addition, the 50GB cloud storage leaves you far less vulnerable to ransomware and is a convenient way to backup your files.

Premium Protection: Norton 360 Premium

Norton 360 Premium is a fantastic plan for larger households. Premium includes all of Deluxe’s features, plus coverage for 10 devices and 75GB cloud storage.

US-Only Plans (Includes Norton LifeLock)

If you’re in the US, you can sign up for the Standard and Deluxe plans. However, you’ll also have access to Norton Antivirus Plus, which only offers a firewall and antivirus, phishing, and ransomware protection. You can also choose one of Norton’s 3 LifeLock plans. The LifeLock plans include identity theft protection, credit monitoring, data breach protection, and more.

60-Day Money-Back Guarantee — Try Norton 360 Without Risk

Norton offers a 60-day money-back guarantee with all its annual plans. If you change your mind, you can quickly contact Norton through one of its support channels for a full refund. This is a generous amount of time to try out a product risk-free, with competitors Avast, Bitdefender, and Kaspersky only offering 30 days.

In fact, the 60-day money-back guarantee sounded too good to be true. I wanted to confirm it really works — and it does! I signed up for the Deluxe annual plan and tested Norton for a few weeks. When my tests were complete, I contacted customer support through 24/7 live chat and easily requested a refund.

The Norton agent wanted to troubleshoot any issues for me (and even offered to add a free month to my subscription!), but my refund was quickly approved once I reconfirmed my cancellation. Even though I was told the refund could take 5 to 7 days to process, I was impressed to see the money back in my bank account in only 5 days.

Screenshot of receiving a refund through Norton's live chat.You can easily get a refund over Norton’s 24/7 live chat (or even an extra month for free!)

Try Norton 360 for free for 60 days!

Virus Protection Promise — Full Refund If Norton Doesn’t Work

You should contact Norton immediately if a virus escapes detection and infects your device. A Norton agent will temporarily access your device remotely and attempt to manually remove the infection. If you get a virus that Norton’s experts can’t remove, you’ll get your money back — this is the Virus Protection Promise. I find this highly reassuring as it demonstrates that Norton truly believes in the effectiveness of its product.

You can redeem the Virus Protection Promise from anywhere in the world. However, there are some terms and conditions based on the country you live in. I recommend checking the Norton website ahead of redeeming the Virus Protection Promise.