If you were looking at armoring your PC with antivirus a decade ago, brands like Symantec and Norton were the obvious choice. And, to a degree, that’s still true. In 2020, Norton Antivirus is a brand that’s almost-synonymous with cybersecurity.
And if baseline protection is all you’re after, the standard Norton Antivirus package is still probably gonna give you what you crave. Again, it’s very much the obvious choice. As much then as now, most users adopt a set-and-forget mindset towards cybersecurity. Throwing your lot in with one of the few antivirus brands that everyone has heard of is
However, these days, Norton LifeLock offer far more than just baseline threat protection. We now live in an era of live services and subscription packages where software companies constantly gnaw away at one another in a sprawling game of what's-yours-is-mine.
Seen in that context, the new Norton 360 security suite embodies a bountiful host of security goodies. You might not get the same level of nuance or customizability that a bespoke solution would offer but you do get plenty of bang for your buck here.
Features & Pricing
Norton 360 is available via an annual subscription. There are three tiers to choose from: Standard, Deluxe and Premium.
Norton 360 Standard gets you security for a single device, 10GB of cloud storage, a password manager, online threat protection, a smart firewall and access to Norton’s “Virus Protection Promise” customer support. You also get VPN access for a single device and SafeCam for PC webcam protection.
Pricing for Norton 360 Standard starts at AU$79/year - which is $10 more than the regular Norton Antivirus. If you’re only looking to use Norton 360 on a single PC, this is obviously the way to go.
Next in line, Norton 360 Deluxe includes all the above plus parental controls. You also get security for 3 devices (rather than 1), 50GB of cloud storage (rather than 10GB) and VPN access for 3 devices (rather than 1).
Pricing for Norton 360 Deluxe starts at AU$89/year. Those seeking security for a household or a small family of devices are probably going to be best served by this option.
Lastly, Norton 360 Premium encompasses all of the above but bumps the cloud storage up fivefold to 250GB. Pricing for Norton 360 Premium starts at AU$99/year.
Since you don’t get any additional device security or VPN accounts, the only real reason to go Premium is the cloud storage. In terms of how the costs shake out, the cloud storage offered by Norton 360 can't realistically compete with dedicated services like Dropbox. $17.50/month on Dropbox gets you twenty times the amount of cloud storage that $10 does with Norton.
Still, if you’re solely looking to back-up the essentials, the 250GB that Norton 360 Premium gets you is probably just enough space to do that.
As listed above, Norton 360 isn’t just about Antivirus. An active membership also gets you cloud storage, a password manager, VPN access, webcam protection and access to better customer support via Norton’s ‘Virus Protection Promise’.
Most of these features are fairly self-explanatory. Norton’s take on what the experience of using a VPN should look like isn’t particularly different from what NordVPN or Surfshark offer.
And regardless of whether mostly in it for the antivirus or keen to consolidate your password manager experience, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for via the new My Norton app. Though not entirely self-contained, every aspect of the sum package here is accessible through the new launcher app.
As someone who plays a lot of games on their PC, I found the overall setup here not that different to running a client like the BattleNet launcher or Steam. That being said, I did find the frequent security notification pop-ups from Norton’s Smart Firewall letting me know its thoughts on whatever software I was running to be a bit of a buzzkill.
Mimicking the visual language of native Windows software like Word or Excel, the My Norton app lets you click through and access or enable every part of the Norton 360 package in - more or less - a single click. Need to turn on that VPN? Hit the button. Want to check in on that password manager? Hit the button.
I currently don’t use VPNs enough to justify paying for one as a separate subscription, so it’s neat to have it included here. On the other hand, Norton’s password manager is fairly feature rich but, as I already have another password manager, I wasn’t particularly swayed towards swapping to it as my go-to.
One obvious area of improvement here is the Norton Security antivirus dashboard. Since this is technically a separate product / application, you have to open another Window to do things like clean up your PC or run a security scan. A more cohesive version of Norton 360 that incorporates everything into a single interface would be a natural evolution I’d like to see.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, antivirus packages like Norton are about peace of mind and I can’t genuinely say that Norton 360 gave me that much more peace of mind than it’s regular antivirus counterparts do. I had no cybersecurity issues in the time I used it but I wasn’t exactly under attack for the six months preceding that either.
Still, if you’re looking to limit your potential vectors of intrusion but still want the modern conveniences of VPNs, cloud storage, password management, Norton 360 demands only a modest premium in return.
For a full breakdown of our picks for best antivirus on Windows PCs, click here.