- The best parental controls we've seen
- Fast scan times
- Simple interface
- Large download file
- No Thunderbird support
By Charles P. Jefferies
Norton 360 is a fully-featured security suite — it packs parental controls, PC tuneup, and identity protection onto the expected antivirus and antispyware capabilities. How does it compare?
Norton 360 is a fully-featured security suite for home and home office users. For MSRP $79.99 it covers up to three computers for one year. It includes the following over and above the antivirus and antispyware protection provided in the basic 1-year, 1-user $39.99 Norton Antivirus 2011:
- Two-way firewall
- Parental controls management
- Backup and restore functionality
- Identity protection
- PC Tuneup utilities
The firewall and parental controls are important inclusions. Norton also offers a Premier edition of its Norton 360 suite ($99.99, or $20 more); the only difference is that it includes 25GB of online storage instead of the 2GB included with the base Norton 360 suite. This review is only focused on the non-Premier edition.
Download & Installation
Norton 360 is a hefty 130MB download. The installation is the easiest of any suite I tested; double-click the launcher and click “Install”. The installer provides options to change settings such as the install directory, but it does not make you walk through them in a wizard. I think more companies should adopt this approach — most people don’t change settings during installs anyway.
The install is quick — it took about two minutes; a restart was required to finish after it updated itself, however.
Norton 360 has a simplistic icon-driven interface with a visually appealing color scheme. Only essential information is listed, which is a good thing. Status for each of the four program components (PC Security, Identity Protection, Backup, PC Tuneup) is clearly listed under each icon; overall security status is given in the top-left of the window.
Mousing-over any of the icons shows available options; for example, clicking on the Details link under PC Security the options displayed above-right.
The items are listed in plain English and the options windows are well-structured.
Program settings are easily accessed and more importantly, easy to change and control. The Quick Controls panel on the right provides quick access to enabling/disabling various program components. Clicking on a category brings up a window like the one shown above-right.
Drag the sliders to control how each setting behaves. I imagine a very small percentage of people will need to alter settings, however if they need to do so it is not challenging.
Overall, Norton 360’s interface is well-structured and easy to navigate. It is one of the best-designed interfaces I have seen on a consumer security product.