Norton 360 Deluxe Review: Great Value, Strong Protection

Overall, Norton 360 Deluxe is an excellent product, though it may impact the performance of mid-range and budget PCs.
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Pros:

  • Powerful antivirus protection
  • Extensive defense against major online threats
  • Simple, straightforward features

Cons:

  • Performance impact on certain computers
  • User interface could benefit from integration
  • Additional services sold separately

Our Verdict:

While its interface is a bit unruly, Norton 360 Deluxe overall delivers robust antivirus protection and outstanding security features, including a password manager, VPN access, automatic cloud backup, and dark web monitoring. However, computers with moderate hardware may experience performance degradation during scans, which is something to consider if you frequently handle large volumes of new or modified files.

Among Norton’s products, Norton 360 Deluxe strikes an ideal balance between comprehensive protection and affordable pricing. It’s an excellent all-in-one solution for those who prefer not to manage each component separately and are more lax about security. For example, it would be better if the password manager were integrated into the antivirus software’s user interface.

Since our last review of Norton 360 Deluxe, there haven’t been significant changes on the surface, although the company continues to develop and enhance its backend. This is arguably a more critical focus, especially as malicious actors become more adept at their nefarious activities with the help of artificial intelligence.

One change that has occurred is the merger of other antivirus companies with Norton under the same ownership. Besides Norton, parent company Gen Digital now also owns Avast, AVG, and Avira. At a press conference, Gen shared its plans to support all its antivirus software with a single engine and to focus more on the features each brand provides.

This is welcome news, as the main Achilles’ heel of Norton 360 Deluxe isn’t its performance but rather how it presents its features to users. This is a drag on what is otherwise an excellent product.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best antivirus software for Windows PCs to learn about competing products.

What Does Norton 360 Deluxe Include?

Norton categorizes its many plans into two main types: antivirus and all-in-one, with significant overlap in functionality. While having more online protection is always good, keeping options straightforward may leave some feeling a bit overwhelmed.

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Norton 360 Deluxe offers extensive features at its price.


Standing out as an all-in-one plan, Norton 360 Deluxe defends against major online threats without offering additional features you may not need, such as identity theft assistance. Protection against online threats includes antivirus, malware and ransomware detection, built-in firewall, malicious link and attachment filtering, dark web and privacy monitoring, and webcam protection. You also get 50GB of cloud backup storage, Norton Password Manager and VPN, parental controls, and PC utilities including monitoring for outdated software.

Some features (such as privacy monitoring) can be upgraded to help clear your data from data broker sites. Norton lets you know this. Despite paying for the package, you’re still subject to additional subscription services being upsold.

How much does Norton 360 Deluxe cost?

When purchased directly through Norton, Norton 360 Deluxe is priced at $50 for the first year and then reverts to a higher full price of $120 thereafter. The plan comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Note that Norton automatically enrolls you in auto-renewal upon registration.

Norton 360 Deluxe (5 devices)

  • First year $50
  • Subsequent years $120

You can use Norton 360 Deluxe as either a personal or family plan – Norton only restricts usage by the number of devices, which you can use across Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS as needed.

Norton values functionality over device quantity compared to competitors (and vice versa). Instead, you strike a good balance with this mid-range integrated plan between the two. If you do need more devices, you can upgrade to Norton 360 Premium, which isn’t widely advertised on the website. For just a bit more (first year $55, subsequent years $140), it doubles the number of protected devices to 10 and increases cloud storage to 100GB.

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You can purchase a license for Norton 360 Deluxe through online retailers.


Like other antivirus suites, you can buy Norton 360 Deluxe (and Premium) from third-party retailers, including Amazon and Newegg, to further save costs. These plans vary significantly in terms of device quantity and subscription duration, which can help you get better deals according to your situation. Especially during big sales events like Black Friday, just last year, we found the Deluxe version’s one-year subscription fee dropped to $20, and the Premium version dropped to $25.

Key Features of Norton 360 Deluxe

Installation and User Interface

To install Norton 360 Deluxe on your PC, first purchase the subscription and then download the installation file.

Once done, you’ll initially see the “My Norton” interface, which is just one of two interfaces you’ll interact with. It has a modern, streamlined look and provides access to Norton 360 Deluxe’s main features – scans, program updates, VPN, password manager, dark web and privacy monitoring reports, cloud backup, and parental controls. You can also directly navigate to the secure browser and software updater, as well as settings, notifications, and help files. It’s worth noting that your subscription status (i.e., remaining days) is listed in the top left corner.

In most cases, this view is straightforward, but there are indeed some quirks. One is the lack of a back button when navigating in submenus (such as in settings). Another is the limited settings.

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The Norton 360 Deluxe interface has two different views, and you must switch between them to access all features.


To access more advanced settings, you need to switch to the classic view. It allows you to customize the behavior of antivirus scans, firewall, backups, and the protection of emails, applications, and webcams. You can also adjust management settings for Norton applications, such as enabling remote management or silent mode.

You can navigate to the classic view by selecting “Device Security” > “Open” in the “My Norton” view. This interface has a more old-fashioned atmosphere, with four tiles to access features (Security, Internet Security, Backup, and Performance). Clicking on any of them will display the full options in the center of the screen. The fifth tile is dedicated to switching back to the “My Norton” view.

Some features can only be accessed through the classic view, such as webcam protection settings and password generation.

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The password generator tool can only be accessed through the classic view.


With this dual-interface setup, it’s best not to get lost in the shuffle, meaning clicking around and familiarizing yourself with each layout. Here’s a tip for the data-inclined: you can review reports about your usage and scan results over time.

As for notifications – Norton does tend to lean towards more pop-up notifications about status changes and activities, but you can easily turn these off. Unfortunately, the app does promote additional paid services.

Virus, Malware, and Threat Protection

Real-Time Protection

Norton 360 Deluxe protects your PC from real-time threats in several ways. It scans new files or changes to files that you add, open, or download; controls access to files and folders that may be targeted by ransomware; and monitors unusual activity from applications. By default, it also scans USB drives, network drives, and scripts in Microsoft and Adobe documents. Norton 360 Deluxe also removes scripts when downloading documents. Your computer’s emails are checked for incoming and outgoing rough links and malicious attachments.

While you’re online, 360 Deluxe checks websites to see if they are safe or compromised, provided you have installed the Norton Safe Web extension. Norton 360 Deluxe also restricts access to your webcam (“SafeCam”).

Scheduled Scans and Manual Scans

The default schedule for Norton 360 Deluxe is a monthly full scan, but you can change its frequency with amazing precision. (Want it to run every 15 hours? No problem.) You can also set schedules for other default scan types: quick scan, drive scan, folder scan, and file scan, or create your own custom scans to add to the list.

Advanced users might find the settings for each scan somewhat limited. For example, the full scan only allows you to choose to scan within compressed files, automatically delete infected files, scan network drives, and remove low-risk and tracking cookie files. The settings for other default scans are even more sparse, with no options for running full, thorough deep scans. It can save on system resources and won’t have too much impact on your PC if you haven’t made too many changes to your file collection after the software’s initial scan of all files, but if you like to manually run thorough scans, you might be disappointed.

Norton 360 Deluxe offers extensive, fairly comprehensive protection, but some additional features may not be all that useful.

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You can edit scan settings to change the scan locations and their frequency.


Additional Features

Browser Extensions

To provide comprehensive protection, Norton offers several browser extensions to enhance online security. Those related to web safety include Norton Home Page (which defaults to Norton’s start page rendering), Norton Safe Search (which defaults to Norton search engine), and Norton Safe Web (which scans links and adds green or red badges to let you know whether they are safe to access).

However, not all of these are universally helpful, with most people already having preferred homepages and search engines, they may only find value in Norton Safe Web. Strangely, installing only Norton Safe Web on Chrome is circuitous. I could only install it on my test computer through the Norton 360 Deluxe application, which forces you to install Norton Home Page and Norton Safe Search first.

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Norton Safe Web browser extension blocks links in search results.


Fortunately, since I’ve gone through all these steps, you can use the direct link to Norton Safe Web in the Chrome Web Store. It’s unclear why the extension didn’t show up while running searches.

You can individually install Norton Password Manager and Norton Family (for monitoring web browsing habits). The password manager is the most comprehensive of all available extensions (and in my opinion, the most useful). At most, you’ll probably only want to use Norton Password Manager, Norton Safe Web, and possibly Norton Family.

Cloud Backup

To have Norton back up your most important files, you’ll need to set up this feature within the application first. If you accept the default settings, cloud backup will upload everything in your Windows Documents folder except for video and email files (i.e., pictures, documents, music, etc.). You can change the file types and add or exclude files and folders. You can create different backup rules (called “backup sets”), but each backup set can only be saved to one location.

Speaking of saving locations — this feature seems to only apply to cloud backups. If you choose a local location, Norton 360 Deluxe doesn’t seem to work properly. On more than one computer, I couldn’t get Norton to save files to an external drive, even though the confirmation dialog showed they were saved.

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When I tested this feature on multiple computers, attempting to back up to a local drive didn’t work.


So, if Norton’s cloud backup is going to be your first backup system, unfortunately, you won’t be able to use it to protect your behind properly. However, it’s definitely better than nothing and is a good start. If you already have a good backup protocol in place, though, setting up these cloud backups can at least further ensure that ransomware can’t lock you out of your most important files.

Password Manager

Norton’s password manager is simple but effective — a refreshing change compared to services that feel stripped down. The setup is straightforward, too. Norton requires you to create a separate vault password and prompts you to download a recovery key. (If you forget the vault password, you won’t be able to recover your account.)

Afterward, you can enable passwordless authentication to log into your vault using the Norton Password Manager mobile app. It greatly simplifies the previously cumbersome system, which required two passwords to access your vault (first to enter your Norton account, then to unlock the vault), and it’s seamless, although the authentication approval process upon signup is a bit slow. You can access your vault through the website, browser extension, or mobile app.

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During my review, I encountered a strange quirk: when generating a password, you can only see the different fonts of numbers, symbols, and letters in different colors, but after generating the password, it’s not visible. Moreover, if you copy the password, you can’t set the clipboard to automatically clear after a certain period of time.

VPN

Norton VPN’s interface is clean and easy to understand, but almost overly simplified. Firstly, you can only select your location by country/region rather than specific cities. Additionally, your settings are limited to toggles for enabling auto-connect, auto VPN (activating the VPN on unsecure Wi-Fi networks), kill switch (blocking internet access if the VPN suddenly disconnects), and ad tracker blocking. You can also add apps to the split tunneling feature, which prevents the VPN from routing their traffic.

In my light testing, the speed while using the VPN was inconsistent; for instance, when connected to a US server, my download speed ranged from around 88% of my normal download speed to as low as 29%. This could be quite detrimental if your connection speed is slower.

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Norton’s VPN settings are straightforward.


Supported countries/regions include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

You can only access the VPN through the My Norton interface.

Parental Controls

Setting up parental controls with Norton 360 Deluxe is quick. Simply install the Norton Family app and Norton Family browser extension on your child’s computer and set up their child profiles.

Once set up, you can track their web, search, video, and app activities and set time limits for access throughout the day. On iOS and Android, you can also restrict access by app (Android) and receive alerts when the device leaves specific locations.

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Norton’s parental controls (Norton Family) are accessible through a web browser.


Like other parts of the Norton website interface, the statistics and settings are streamlined and easy to navigate, but there are also some limitations. For example, you can only monitor the usage of YouTube and Hulu websites on mobile devices within Norton’s mobile browser, not within apps or embedded websites.

PC Utilities

Norton comes with various PC tools, although most of them are duplicates of existing Windows features.

Disk Optimization is Norton’s version of a Windows disk defragmenter, but honestly, it’s unnecessary. According to Norton, it only focuses on defragmenting hard disk drives. You’re better off using Windows for disk optimization, as it handles hard disk drives and SSDs with appropriate protocols.

File Cleanup clears out temporary files saved by Windows and any leftover Internet Explorer files. (Yes, Internet Explorer—probably serving those still clinging to outdated versions of Windows; Edge isn’t supported yet.) Again, you can accomplish this using Windows’ own tools.

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Yes, Norton still pays attention to Internet Explorer files. (Old Windows users… friends, it’s time to upgrade.)


The Startup Manager lets you view and manage which applications automatically start with Windows. You can easily access Windows’ own management settings by typing “startup applications” in Windows search.

While there’s nothing wrong with using these utilities themselves—Norton’s attempt to consolidate them isn’t a bad impulse—introducing third parties is irrelevant. The only genuinely interesting tool is the graph, which shows you the history of system usage (installations, downloads, optimizations, virus detections, quick scans, and alerts).

Dark Web Monitoring

You can provide Norton with information such as your email address (up to 5), physical address, phone numbers (up to 5), mother’s maiden name, driver’s license number, insurance details (up to 5), credit card numbers (up to 10), bank accounts (up to 10), and gamer tags (up to 10).

If you’re like most people and use your email addresses frequently, you’ll find them right away, but the list isn’t as comprehensive as the lookup tool on HaveIBeenPwned.com. I see it as an additional way to get alerts but wouldn’t rely on it for comprehensive coverage.

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Dark Web Monitoring keeps a close eye on data leaks concerning you.


Privacy Monitor

Data broker websites gather information about you from public records and other databases where data is bought. (This is why privacy policies are so important—companies you interact with can and do sell your information.) Based on what they find, these sites can put your name, date of birth, current and past addresses, phone numbers, and relatives in almost anyone’s hands, and getting yourself off these sites is like playing whack-a-mole.

Norton requires very little information to conduct searches for you on these types of sites, but the results aren’t as comprehensive as some other services. You’ll also need to upgrade to the paid version of Privacy Monitor to have them handle the work of removing your information.

Secure Browser

For those who aren’t keen on trusting Chrome’s security, Norton 360 Deluxe offers another option: the Norton Secure Browser. It’s based on the same Chromium code as Google Chrome but with a more locked-down experience.

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Norton Secure Browser comes pre-installed with Norton Password Manager, Norton Privacy Monitor (which can block trackers and some ads), and Norton Safe Search Plus (which verifies links) extensions, and only supports a limited number of optional browser extensions. (You can still install extensions from major competing password managers like Bitwarden, Dashlane, and 1Password, so you’re not completely locked into Norton’s ecosystem.)

Overall, it’s a Chrome-lite experience, which has its advantages in minimizing trouble you might cause for yourself. On the other hand, it’s not foolproof. You can’t install standalone ad blockers (like uBlock Origin) to block sponsored links. In fact, the Safe Search Plus extension puts a green checkmark on sponsored links on some unofficial major websites, which in my book poses potential risks to users.

Customer Support

You can get help directly from the “My Norton” and “Classic” views within the app. Norton also provides support pages and community forums on its website, and offers technical support via social media, chat, and phone. For simpler issues, in-app help and support pages are a good starting point, while forums and company support are better suited for troubleshooting.

By the way, if you’re looking for version information about the Norton app installation, you can access it through “Help” > “About”.

Updates and Maintenance

Virus and application updates run automatically by default, but if you want to check for pending updates, you can manually run the LiveUpdate feature. It checks for any changes in antivirus protection, process protection, and Norton application.

Performance

In tests conducted by leading security research organizations, Norton performs well overall, at least in terms of online protection. In AV-Test’s zero-day attack and malware tests conducted in September and October 2023 (the latest available at the time of this writing), Norton detected 100% of threats.

Similarly, in AV-Comparatives’ real-world protection tests from July to October 2023, Norton blocked 99.8% out of 512 test cases. However, it also had 17 false positives when blocking domains or files, one of the highest false positive rates among the packages. (For comparison, ESET had zero false positives, while AVG and Avast had two each.) This could potentially cause unnecessary inconvenience or stress when trying to access legitimate websites or initiate downloads.

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Meanwhile, in AV-Comparatives’ malware protection test in September 2023, Norton 360 demonstrated an 86.0% detection rate in offline testing and a 99.7% detection rate in online testing when 10,007 samples were tested. Its online protection rate stood at 99.98%, with 12 false positives. Generally, online protection scores are most crucial, but the offline detection score highlights Norton’s reliance on comprehensive protection with a functional internet connection. In comparison, competitor Bitdefender led with a 98.2% offline detection rate, along with a 99.98% online protection rate and fewer false positives (just 4).

Norton did not participate in AV-Comparatives’ Advanced Threat Protection test in November 2023, which assesses a security suite’s resistance to more sophisticated, targeted attack methods such as malicious scripts and fileless attacks.

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For PC performance, Norton 360 Deluxe can have a significant impact on common tasks. PCMark 10 is a benchmark test that simulates web browsing, video chatting, gaming, and image and document editing in open-source programs like GIMP and LibreOffice, activities you’ll rarely see in everyday use. Norton 360 Deluxe has almost no effect on PCMark 10 test scores when running in the background idle and monitoring real-time threats. However, if a full scan is run continuously during benchmark testing, the results drop by about 6%.

The performance drop is even more pronounced when using Microsoft Office applications (simulated by UL Procyon) – dropping nearly 10% during a full scan and about 6% while idle. The difference becomes most significant during our Handbrake encoding test, decreasing by 22% during a full scan and 11% while idle.

However, what these numbers don’t show is how Norton typically handles full scans. After the initial full scan, subsequent scans look for changed or new files, speeding up scan times and reducing system resource usage. By default, full scans are scheduled to occur during non-working hours.

Nevertheless, if you frequently handle files, especially on mid-range or budget PCs, the impact of Norton on PC performance is worth considering.

Should you purchase Norton 360 Deluxe?

Norton offers a lot of features, but its strengths are also its fatal weaknesses. You can get broad, fairly comprehensive protection, but some additional protections are not very useful. The security suite benefits from a unified interface and a minor impact on system performance. However, if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, this package still meets your requirements.

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