Norton Antivirus 2012 with Antispyware Review

I temporarily uninstalled Norton 360 on one of my Windows 7 machines so I can try this Norton Antivirus 2012 with Antispyware sent to us a couple of weeks ago.

And after two days of using it, I finally have here my review of this PC security software.

Norton Antivirus 2012 with Antispyware Basic Info

This software is basically the “least sophisticated” version amongst other Norton best selling products. Compared to Norton Internet Security 2011 / 2012 and Norton 360 Version 5.0, the Norton Antivirus 2012 with Antispyware has been designed with focus only in PC security, that is, protecting you against viruses and spyware, dangerous downloads, and threats from social networking sites. It doesn’t give you protection from spam, there’s no personal identity protection features, no parental controls, and there’s no system maintenance features like PC Backup, Restore, and Tune-up. Below is a comprehensive comparison between NAV 2012, NIS 2012, and Norton 360 V5.0.

Norton Antivirus 2012 with Antispyware System Requirements

One of the great things with NAV 2012 is it will work with almost any Windows machine today. It supports the 32-bit version of MS Windows XP with SP2 or later (even the ones used in Tablet PC), it supports both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, and both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well. The review unit I got is running on a Windows 7 Ultimate-powered PC. If you’re concerned of the minimum hardware requirements, it’s not much of a problem though ‘coz if you got one running with the Windows OS’s mentioned above – that means NAV 2012 with Antispyware will just work seamlessly.

Installation

Installing Norton Antivirus 2012 with Antispyware is very straightforward; in fact, you will have it done in 2 or 3 minutes. You’ll be asked for a product key during setup and at the end of the installation, you’ll be required to create Norton Account to have your antivirus completely activated.

The User Interface

Like other Norton products I’ve reviewed in the past, the Norton Antivirus 2012 UI is also very light and fast — at least on a Windows 7 system where I tested it. The main or Home UI is intuitive as well that you have all the links to its features out of the box. Access to Settings, Performance, Feedback, Account, and Support menus are located at the top. There’s the current System Status info on the left with a gradient green color that indicates the system is secure, or this probably will change to red when the system is compromised. The bottom-line is it provides users the security status of their computers at a glance. Access to Scanning options, LiveUpdate, and Advanced features is located at the center of the main UI.

Other useful buttons are located at the bottom part — there’s the Activity Map that shows worldwide cybercrime activity for the past 24 hours, access to Norton Management that allows users to manage all Norton products in all devices, Mobile button which actually reveals a QR code that can be scanned using Android handsets (this will let users download Norton Mobile Security Lite), access to download Norton Safe Web Lite, and login to Norton Online Backup.

Settings Menu

The Settings menu allows users to configure services and other functions built to NAV 2012.

Computer Settings include customizing Antivirus and SONAR exclusions (let you specify the items that Norton AntiVirus excludes from its scans), Computer Scan options, Real Time Protection setup, and Updates configuration. For Computer Scan, the “Remove Infected Compressed Files” and “MS Office Automatic Scan” are turned off by default; but I turned both of these on since I frequently download compressed files from the web which may potentially carry viruses and spywares.

The Network Settings on the other hand let you customize network-related features of NAV 2012. This includes customizing Intrusion settings, Email and IM Messages Protection, Network Security Settings, Browser Protection, and Download Settings.

By default, all of these network-related settings are already turned on, except for “Alert on Poor Stability” option under Download Intelligence. Basically when you turn this feature on, it will prompt you to select a suitable action when you try to download an unstable file.

For Scheduled Tasks, Performance Monitoring, Security Settings for NAV 2012 itself, and other miscellaneous settings – all of these are accessible under the General tab of the Settings UI.

The Performance Menu

This actually brings you to the System Insight UI that shows you useful information to diagnose your computer.

With System Insight, you can find the monthly history of installations, downloads, threat detections, alerts, quick scans, and an option to optimize the system. You can also monitor CPU and Memory usage from here, and there’s also an Application Ratings that basically rate files and processes running right on the computer.

Scanning

When looking for the best antivirus, I must say that one of the features you always have to consider is how sophisticated the scanning algorithm that comes with it. Though this is not easy, at least you can refer to benchmark tests, or based on your personal experiences. I, for example would rather choose an antivirus with the most updated virus definition on its database.

The Norton Antivirus 2012 with Antispyware has 3 main scan features: Computer Scan, this basically scan your folders and disks; Reputation Scan, this check the trust level, age, and prevalence of all programs and processes running on your computer; and lastly, the Facebook Scan which makes sure the links on your Facebook wall are safe, that is protecting you from malware, scams, and hacking attempts.

Both Computer and Reputation Scans have 3 options (Quick, Full, and Custom) and of course scanning time varies. To give you a better picture of how fast (or perhaps slow?) NAV 2012 scans a particular system – for a main disk partition with 60GB of system and installed files, this Antivirus can do a quick scan for more or less 3 minutes or 83 minutes for full system scan. Well, the quick scan at 3 minutes is actually great for an antivirus; however, expect the software to detect lesser number of risks compared to full system scan. That’s normal anyway.

The Reputation Scan is truly one of the scanning features I like on NAV 2012; I haven’t seen this feature at least on antivirus solutions I used in the past. The Facebook Scan on the other hand is actually powered by Norton Safe Web app so you probably have heard about it before. But it does its job great as well.

Final Verdict

For basic protection against viruses, certainly you can find other antivirus solutions which can do the job; and those may be available for free. But if you’re looking for a premium product, Norton Antivirus 2012 with Antispyware has also that “power” against viruses – and note that this comes with an Antispyware, hence the name. NAV 2012 is lacking several features available in Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 (of course ‘coz that’s what determines the price), but it still does have the sleek and intuitive UI you can find amongst such Norton products. Its main core functionalities could be on the basic category and if you’re looking for software like this, I recommend you to give it a try.

Price: $39.99 for 1 year protection of 1 PC
[Available at Amazon with a Discounted Price]

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Bert Padilla

Founding-Editor of Cebu Tech Blogger where he shares insights in eCommerce, Digital Marketing, Ad Ops, Tech, Startups, Technopreneurship, Life Goals and Hacks. He's the brainchild and ninja of a Cebu-based digital agency, TekWorx.Digital, with ventures TekWorx, (eCommerce and Digital Marketing), AdWorx (Outsourced Ad Ops for Publishers) and BlogWorx (full-fledged Blog Development service). Read his Full Curriculum Vitae. For training and consultancy, services, speaking engagements, blog partnerships or media invites, click here. Alternatively, get in touch with him on Messenger.

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