Norton AntiVirus Review: 2010
The Return of the Norton AntiVirus Review: 2010 Edition
If your memory serves you well, I am the same Clickfire contributor who brought you last year’s Norton AntiVirus review (below). So how much has changed in the world of Norton? Are the viruses smarter, bigger, badder? Has the virus software updated itself to match?
At just $39.99 – don’t be fooled, I think it’s really about forty bucks – the latest edition from Symantec’s jewel features two and three-year downloads as well as a five-user pack. The prices for these downloads vary up to $89.99 for said pack.
The major question today: is this really worth it, or are you better off downloading some junk antivirus for free from the Internet? Well, as time usually tells us, you get what you pay for. Norton Antivirus 2010 definitely continues the 2009 legacy and updates it with quick functionality and simple interface. In other words: it’s what we like seeing out of a piece of anti-virus software.
Norton AntiVirus 2010 and the Good News
You may recall a bit of a surprised, “hey-this-is-pretty-good” tone in the Norton 2009 review last year. Well, that’s pretty much what you’ll find this year. Symantec’s control of Norton AntiVirus has seemed to breathe some life into the series, giving it another ambitious update that makes the virus-crunching software worthy of carrying the “2010″ banner.
It’s a quick installer – probably just minutes for you, maybe even less – which means you can get cracking right away. Does the quickness end? Thankfully, no. Slow antivirus software program are any computer user’s pet peeve – especially when facing a deadline at work – and Norton does a good job of staying out of the way with a quick installation process, quick scans, and a relatively unobtrusive interface. Note that “relative” suggests a little something about the world of antivirus software, of course, but that’s not news to anyone.
Adding to the quickness is the general ease of the interface, which is great for computer simpletons like yours truly but not necessarily the premier package for the more ambitious among us. Norton even goes out of its way to work when you’re not working, activating itself for a scan when the computer goes idle. I’m not sure why every piece of anti-virus software does this, but now you at least know which program does.
On this interface you’ll find the customary scan options – quick scan, full scan, etc – that we’re all well familiar with. It’s been reported that quick scan can be done under 30 seconds. Excellent news if your computer isn’t already a little slow; but if it is, Norton is the least of your worries, really.
As CNet notes, Norton Antivirus is not exactly Norton Internet Security, so the “you get what you pay for rule” also applies to the reasonable $40 charge you can expect to see with the Antivirus software. But CNet mentions this amidst a favorable review, summing up:
Norton AntiVirus lacks the premium services offered in Norton Internet Security. These include a firewall, parental controls, Wi-Fi protection for unsecured hot spots, and identity protection including antiphishing tools and browser search result authentication for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Norton AntiVirus also offers only one license, instead of the three that come with its bigger brother. It does offer the same support network, lacking a searchable knowledge base but including e-mail, IM, phone support and the Symantec forums. The trial has been doubled from 15 days to 30. Norton’s recent approach to performance and its continued efficacy make Norton AntiVirus 2010 a must-consider program for its class.
Okay, so maybe a “must-consider” status from CNet is not exactly going to whip you into a Norton AntiVirus frenzy, but you can’t deny that many of the features look quite enticing over previous versions of Norton. We especially like the longer trial period – 15 days to 30. Nice.
Is There Anything to Complain About?
As a movie critic might tell, there’s always something to complain about. The lack of multiple licences comes to mind – sure, Norton AntiVirus is relatively cheap, but if that cheapness comes with pretty strict limitations, then it all starts to make sense. You can upgrade to Internet Security to get more licenses and you’ll save some money by buying in bulk – but only if you have bulk requirements.
Some of the issues come back to Symantec, however, as the AntiVirus software always seems to be solid these days in functionality and performance. Symantec’s support is not the best in the world, and though AntiVirus is a program that might not need a lot of support, customer support aficionados will not be the happiest of campers – but when are they ever?
The good news is that improvements have been made and Norton’s help page is as comprehensive as one could wish for. Thanks to the simple interface, you’ll be low on problems to complain about in the first place.
Relatively, these complaints don’t mean a heck of a lot compared to the positives of Norton. It’s not the most high-powered piece of software in the world, but it is a great an accessible way to fight viruses at home.
Is Norton AntiVirus 2010 a Must-Buy?
Considering you don’t have Norton AntiVirus yet and it’s already almost autumn, we can’t say that Norton’s 2010 is a must-buy. Like CNet said, however, it is a must-consider. It’s relatively inexpensive, easy to install, easy to run, and likes to stay out of your hair. If I had four characteristics I wanted out of an anti-virus software, those would all be finalists.
As for the power of the Norton software, you can expect high standards in this department. Norton has a strong reputation and we can’t see anything in the 2010 edition that will put a dent in that reputation.
Our conclusions: if you’re still hankering for a strong antivirus program, Norton 2010 is as good as any you’ll find. If you have trouble making decisions, going with Norton and forgetting everything for another year wouldn’t be the biggest mistake in the world. It’s the virus’ job to worry about the viruses, after all. Let Norton handle it.
Norton Antivirus Review 2009
The two words “Norton” and “AntiVirus” have gone together like “Quarter” and “Pounder” since 1990, and again since 1994 when Symantec first acquired Central Point Software and Norton became one of the go-to Antivirus programs for kicking bugs on Microsoft products.
This time around, Norton is partying like it’s 2009: the latest release, Norton AntiVirus 2009 is naturally meant to capture anything remotely resembling an infection on your system – from bugs and worms to viruses and other nasty metaphors. The only question remaining is the simplest one: Does Norton Antivirus 2009 deliver the goods?
How Norton AntiVirus 2009 Stacks Up
A good Antivirus software hums along, unnoticed and serene in the background. Ideally, a program bent on destroying anything on your computer that might cause it to lag or crash won’t, you know, cause your computer to lag or crash. Any Antivirus program that gets in your way too often is a bad one: the goal is simplicity. Set it and forget it.
In programs of Virus Past, Norton hadn’t always performed so well when it came to the old “silence” test. It’s all too tempting for programmers to let a suite balloon beyond its own scope and add unnecessary features while sacrificing performance.
So how does Norton AntiVirus 2009 rank in the “set it and forget it” category?
Surprisingly, better than you might think. Norton has had a reputation in the past for being one of the “suites” that loaded your computer up with too much firepower, giving your computer’s memory too much to think about. The current suite, 2009, performs much better.
This is somewhat of a shocker, given Norton’s advertisement of “NEW! Rapid pulse updates every 5-to-15 minutes.” I get annoyed by a Virus program that bothers me more than once a day, let alone six times an hour. Like passengers on an airplane who get annoyed by the food but forget the miracle that is human flight, it’s easy to expect a lot from our software, particularly that our AntiVirus software won’t only do the job perfectly, but will never interrupt in order to tell us.
If I could have given one piece of advice to Symantec before the release of 2009, it would have been something along these lines: simplicity. It doesn’t only make the experienced user happy, but it makes the product more accessible to new users. I was actually surprised that 2009 made a concerted effort to accomplish what is no small feat.
Using AntiVirus 2009
After getting a check-plus for performance, it’s time to examine a software’s usage. If it performs well but is no fun or not intuitive enough to use,there was no point to the great performance in the first place.
Norton doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here, giving you the typical icon-in-the-southeast-corner business, the double-clicking of which will bring up the usual AntiVirus control panel of options and statistics.
What I liked here are the on/off features. Not to the entire program itself – if I wanted to set it to “off” I could just get rid of it. Instead, Norton allows the user to turn “on/off” individual aspects of the performance options.
For example, if you want to turn off e-mail/message scanning because you’re sick of scanning e-mails, you can shut it off. If you only want to shut it off for a specific day because you’ve got big plans, you can shut it off just for a day. Or a few hours. Or a few minutes. It all depends on what you want.
The typical usage features are offered, including the full scans and the aforementioned message scanning. Norton will take up a little more of your memory budget during this time, but that’s to be expected. Depending on the computer you’re using, this really shouldn’t interfere with much, especially if you’re running on a 2009 computer, as well.
As for LiveUpdate, the component that many people felt bogged Norton down unnecessarily, well, it’s still here. But the good news is that LiveUpdate comes included and integrated with 2009, not as a separate entity. Following the Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) rule has paid off in a big way.
It should be noted, of course, that Norton AntiVirus 2009 is a long-lost cousin to Norton Internet Security 2009, in which many users have noted similar improvements that can be found in AntiVirus.
It should also be mentioned that Norton included a new feature called Insight, which is supposed to accomplish something related faster scans, but you’ll probably have to be a more advanced user than yours truly to understand what it really does. Beginners might be able to ignore this feature.
So, after all of this and some interesting updates from Symantec, how can we finally rate Norton AntiVirus Software 2009?
I’d go with the phrase “pleasant surprise,” in that it’s not totally enthusiastic but it definitely communicates satisfaction. Many users of Norton in the past had grown weary of the lagging scans, the obtrusive and unnecessary additions, and the essential complexity that was being introduced year after year.
There is the argument that Norton is itself responsibility for these low standards, as many users have already given up and moved on to other brands. But credit has to be given to a product that understands its critics and makes a clear effort to make the necessary positive changes. The result? A better product than ’08, which is all we really ask for.
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I can hear you already. Okay, great Mr. Blog Man, I read your review and it is duly noted. I will now get back to my fish and chips, or whatever it is that I eat.
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