With the release of Norton Security, Symantec is discarding the separate editions of AntiVirus, Internet Security, and Norton 360, instead offering all three in one comprehensive package. The suite supports up to 5 devices, but you can upgrade to Norton Security with Backup to cover 10 devices and get 25GB of online storage.
Modern UI update: Norton Security has an elegant user interface that works with keyboard and mouse or Windows 8 touch controls. Symantec wisely decided to keep the color scheme simple. Tab menus are easy to navigate and expand to offer more advanced options in each main category: Security, Identity, and Performance. Useful help links sit next to each command in case you want to learn more.
Speedier scans: Norton Security scans are some of the fastest we've seen this year, an improvement over last year's Norton 360. Quick scans take less than a few minutes, and a full sweep took slightly over 15 in our tests. The options to set post-scan behaviors, like PC shutdown and hibernate, are most welcome for those who want to update and go. The thorough antivirus engine swept up all the standard malware and adware. This finding is consistent with previous AV-Test lab results, demonstrating the suite's above-average performance.
First-day alerts and smaller footprint: Norton Security addresses the issue of first-day exploits with a cloud-based approach. By comparing scan results to real-time definition updates, Norton can warn you about potentially malicious files making their way around the Web. Also, the cloud-based scans mean Norton Security has been able to shrink the size of the local definition to a fraction of what it used to be. The antivirus still keeps a small local definition to watch out for prevalent troublemakers, in case you want to perform offline scans.
Beyond security: Norton Identity Safe, a password manager that secures your personal information, is vastly improved. Sign in to different websites and applications or make online payments without putting your identity at risk. The service works pretty flawlessly after the initial setup.
Fewer subscription choices: This year's consolidation of suites has reduced Norton's pricing flexibility. To get the most for your money, Norton Security with Backup is the obvious choice: for $10 more than Norton Security, you get double the device coverage, plus cloud storage. But without a lower-tier price option, Norton risks alienating its limited-use customers who are interested in protecting only a handful of devices. There is a 30-day trial of the new Norton if you wish to check out whether a complete security suite is right for you.
Uninformative tutorial: The tutorial could be better presented. Help pages and product manuals are available, but they can be overwhelming to the average user, making advanced tasks -- like configuring Norton Firewall -- challenging.
Norton Security unites Symantec's services in one improved product. You no longer have to choose between Internet protection and an antivirus suite. Norton Security comes packed with tools, which can be overwhelming at first glance, and the startup tutorial doesn't do a great job of explaining the suite's capabilities. However, these powerful features more than justify the price -- which is good, because consolidation of the Symantec's products means fewer pricing options. Overall, Norton demonstrates why it's a household name with improvements to its award-winning antivirus engine, which can scan faster, alert you to release-day vulnerabilities, and more.