So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Norton 360 v6.0 security software
Norton 360 offers worthwhile PC-boosting extras to the usual internet security suite
- Small system footprint
- Meagre online storage
- Extra features are available within Windows
If you want more than specific AV and malware protection, Symantec Norton 360 v6 offers worthwhile extras, in the form of backup and PC tuning, though neither is a particularly stunning example of its breed. We'd like to see a bit more online storage included in the price and something a bit more than disk defragmentation and startup control, both of which are available under Windows.
Price$ 99.99 (AUD)
This review originally appeared on PCAdvisor.co.uk.
As well as the anti-virus, identity protection, parental control and firewall modules in Norton Internet Security 2012, Norton 360 v6 includes PC tuning and online backup.
The Norton interface seems to get simpler and more blocky with each iteration. The Symantec Norton 360 v6 main screen has four large panels, labelled PC Security, Identity, Backup and PC Tuneup. PC Security covers scans, LiveUpdate, the firewall and Norton Insight, the cloud-based intelligence of potential malware.
The Identity panel leads to Identity Safe, where the program can hold your details in encrypted form for use on the Web. WebSafe advises on potentially dangerous sites before you visit them. Anti-phishing controls help prevent you inadvertently giving details to untrustworthy sites.
Backup enables the setting up of local, network and online backups, using types of files – documents, pictures, financial details, for example – rather than specific file types. You can still mine down to use file types and exclude specific folders or files from backup sets using Symantec Norton 360 v6, if you need.
PC Tuneup offers disk optimisation, file cleanup, diagnostic reports and a startup manager. It's not the equivalent of a dedicated tune-up application, like System Mechanic, or even the old Norton Utilities, but it does provide disk defragmentation, removal of temporary files and a reasonably detailed status report. It also provides a way to control which utilities start automatically when you restart Windows.
A default scan of our 50GB file basket took 2 minutes 26 seconds and checked 18,446 files, giving an average scan rate of 126 files/sec. This makes Symantec Norton 360 v6 the fastest we've seen in testing 2012 IS applications.
Interestingly, the stats are very different from those we saw when testing Norton Internet Security 2012, which examined 175,621 files in 27 minutes. The scan rate is similar at 108 files/sec, but the IS product chose to look at many more files. This is probably just a difference in the default configurations of the two products, as they're both supposed to be using the same engine.
Norton 360 v6 places very little footprint on the system and our 1GB file copy with AV background processes running took 40 secs, beaten only by Bitdefender Total Security 2012. Symantec Norton 360 v6 did even better when we copied while it was scanning, taking 1 min 02 sec. This is the fastest result for any product we've tested so far.
AV-Test rates the Norton Internet Security 2012 engine at 15/18, a very good score. Breaking this down, the Institute scored it at 5.5/6.0 for both Protection and Usability. It only dropped to 4.0/6.0 on repair of existing infected files and there are better products, if this is the most important aspect of IS to you.
Symantec Norton 360 v6's online backup offers 2GB of storage, though this is shared between the three machines in the licence, so is a bit meagre. You can buy extra storage at any time, but we expected more to be included in the package price.
Australian Editor's note: We used Norton 360 v6 for a couple of weeks on two home PCs getting daily usage. We hardly ever noticed its footprint on the system — the program runs unobtrusively in the background and rarely makes its presence known. When we inserted a virus-infected USB stick, the program caught it within seconds and safely quarantined the infected files.
Norton 360 v6's core features work exactly as they're supposed to, and the extra features like PC Tuneup and Identity Safe are a boon for inexperienced PC users. We don't generally like installing unnecessary or superfluous software on our computers but Norton 360 v6 didn't have any noticeable adverse effects. We'd happily use Norton 360 v6 as the main security software on a home PC.
We also think the Australian pricing of the software package is very reasonable. You'll get the most value out of the standard package if you're using it on the full three PCs, but there are packages for five or 10 users, and a two-year basic licence on top of the standard package as well.
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