Protecting your data online is more important than ever. Making sure you have the best antivirus software available is the key to keeping your identity and personal information safe. In this post, I compare two major antivirus providers, Norton and AVG.
Using my own malware protection and performance tests, I’ll provide a detailed analysis of which company’s software is best. I’ll also compare and give an overview of other key aspects including additional features, pricing, and usability.
For those of you in a hurry, Norton is the clear winner for me. Norton offers high-quality identity protection features and has a parental control feature to help you protect your family. The results from my tests and independent labs were fantastic.
If you’re looking for more in-depth information and analysis, please read on.
Summary: Norton vs AVG
- Strong malware protection results
- Webcam protection
- Enhanced firewall
- Password protection
- Data shredder
|Feature||Norton 360 Deluxe||AVG Internet Security|
|Antivirus and antispyware||✔||✔|
|Banking and payment protection||✔|
|Network attack protection||✔||✔|
|Automatically update apps||✔|
|PC cloud backup||✔ (50GB)||✖|
|Identity theft protection||✖||✔|
|Run suspicious apps in sandbox||✖||✖|
Norton is developed and produced by its parent company, Symantec Corporation, which brought its first Norton products to the market in 1991. As of 2007, Norton had a 61 percent share of the US market for security suites. It protects almost 50 million customers, making it one of the most trusted antivirus providers in the digital world.
Founded in 1991, Czechoslovakian company AVG was at the forefront of the country’s transition from communism to capitalism. In the early 2000s, AVG expanded into the international market. Today, it is a household name, providing antivirus protection to businesses and domestic users alike.
Pricing and compatibility
Paying for antivirus protection reduces your risk from online threats. Free versions of antivirus provide limited protection with a reduced set of features. While it may be more appealing to opt for a no-cost software, paid plans and packages usually give users more peace of mind.
Norton has a wide range of price plans available, with a stark difference in the pricing between its low-tier options and its more comprehensive plans. The packages start at $79.99 per year and go up to $349.99 per year.
Norton provides a wide range of product types too, some of which are targeted to specific markets, including one for gamers. In the table below, I have included the company’s key antivirus products.
|Norton 360 Standard||Norton 360 Deluxe||Norton 360 and LifeLock Select||Norton 360 and LifeLock Advantage||Norton 360 and LifeLock Ultimate Plus|
|$79.99 per year||$99.99 per year||$149.99 per year||$249.99 per year||$349.99 per year|
There are stark differences between some of Norton’s packages. For example, between Norton’s 360 Standard and 360 Deluxe, you gain parental controls and cover for five devices. Key features like these make a huge difference and should be considered before you purchase any antivirus software.
AVG does offer a free service, but as previously mentioned, it’s more beneficial to find the right paid product to suit your needs as these provide better coverage and protection.
AVG’s mid-range product, Internet Security, is very flexible and allows you to choose to cover one to 10 devices. The top-tier package, AVG Ultimate, protects 10 devices but is the priciest option on offer at $119.99 per year.
AVG offers a monthly subscription option for those on a tighter budget, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you aren’t satisfied with your service. Norton also offers a 60-day money-back option if you are unhappy with the software.
AVG’s and Norton’s software are both compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android devices.
Effectiveness against malware
As hackers become more prevalent online, it’s important to find the right software to protect your personal information against malware.
I undertook some tests to see which antivirus software offers the best defense. I tested Norton and AVG in real-time using malware samples from the European Institute of Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR). Additionally, I ran three live samples. You can see the results in the table below.
|Test file||EICAR Sample 1||EICAR Sample 2||EICAR Sample 3||EICAR Sample 4||Live Sample 1 (Adware)||Live Sample 2 (Trojan)||Live Sample 3 (Trojan)|
Norton blocked the first EICAR sample and the following two zipped samples upon extraction. It immediately detected and deleted the three live samples I tested. AVG blocked all live malware files immediately. Its real-time scanner did allow zipped files to be downloaded, but blocked the unzipped EICAR samples.
Overall, Norton and AVG both performed well in my tests.
However, these tests alone do not give a clear result, so I also looked at independent tests conducted by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives for a more comprehensive picture.
According to AV-Test’s evaluation, Norton and AVG both received a 100 percent score during its experiments in May and June 2020. These results were based on tests using 339 samples, giving a thorough and in-depth look at how AVG and Norton function. The average protection rate for antivirus software is 98.8 percent, so it’s clear AVG’s and Norton’s products are at the cutting-edge of technology.
AV-Comparatives’ latest Real-World Protection test summary looked at data from February to May 2020. These tests gave AVG a score of 99.7 percent and Norton received a 100 percent protection rate.
Norton flagged 28 false alarms during this period of testing, compared to AVG’s eight. A false alarm occurs when a safe file is mistakenly identified as a threat. The industry average for false alarms is nine, so Norton is more sensitive to threats than AVG.
It’s difficult to determine a comprehensive winner as both perform well. For the more cautious user, Norton would be my recommendation thanks to a 100 percent record in all recent lab tests.
Impact on PC performance
The speed and performance of your PC is important, so having antivirus software that doesn’t slow down the function of your computer is key. I ran some more tests to determine which software has the least impact on PC performance.
|Test Type||Full Scan Time (minutes)||Full Scan Items Scanned||Quick Scan CPU Utilization |
|Quick Scan Memory Utilization|
|Quick Scan Disk Utilization|
|Quick Scan Time (Seconds)|
The table above shows the impact each antivirus service had when running full and quick scans. Norton’s full scan time took 121 minutes, which is four times the length of AVG’s full scan service. Norton scanned over twice as many items as AVG, delivering a more thorough result.
In the table below is the data I collected on the impact of each software on PC performance without a scan and when a full scan was running.
|Test Type||Control CPU Utilization % (no scan)||Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)||Control Disk Utilization (MB/s) |
|Full Scan CPU Utilization|
|Full Scan Memory Utilization |
|Full Scan Disk Utilization (MB/s)|
In this area, Norton outperformed AVG with only 14 percent CPU utilization compared to AVG’s 51 percent. When a full scan was running, this reversed and AVG’s CPU utilization was less than half of Norton’s.
Looking at AV-Comparatives’ recent performance tests from April 2020, I checked to see if their results matched my own. These tests are very in-depth and show data on eight common tasks:
- Downloading files
- Browsing websites
- File copying: first and subsequent run
- Installing and uninstalling applications
- Archiving and unarchiving
- Launching applications: first and subsequent run
Norton was fast at archiving and unarchiving, installing, and uninstalling applications, and launching applications on their initial runs. AVG also received a fast rating when launching applications and downloading files. All other tasks performed by Norton and AVG were also very fast. Norton’s competitor products did outperform its antivirus software in regards to speed.
Overall, AVG appears to match Norton in many areas for performance. This being said, Norton does provide a more thorough and in-depth scan with minimal impact on CPU utilization when no scan is running. As a result, Norton wins this round.
As well as scanning your device for viruses and malware, most antivirus software boasts an abundance of additional features to protect you online. I have listed the standout features of Norton’s 360 Deluxe and AVG’s Internet Security services below to give you a clearer picture of what is on offer.
- Cloud backup 50GB
- Real-time threat protection
- Password manager
- Secure VPN
- Dark web monitoring
- PC SafeCam
- Parental control
- Advanced antivirus
- Behavior shield
- AI detection
- Real-time updates
- Do not disturb mode
- Password protection
- Webcam protection
- Data shredder
50GB cloud backup: Norton allows you to store and protect files and documents against device failures and ransomware. It also provides protection if your device is stolen.
Parental controls: The parental control features allows you to easily protect your children online.
PC SafeCam: The SafeCam feature will alert you to any unauthorized access to your camera, providing you with peace of mind.
Interested in the other features on offer? Find out more in our full Norton antivirus review.
Webcam protection: This service protects you against webcam hacking and requires untrusted apps to ask your permission for access to your webcam.
Data shredder: The data shredder securely deletes files and data from your device to fully protect all your information.
Password protection: AVG’s password protection service prevents blocked apps from reading, changing, or deleting your passwords.
Norton and AVG provide similar services to protect your personal data and webcams online. Norton’s packages offer more robust protection for your personal information, as well as secure storage for your most important data.
Signup and installation
Even if it’s your first time installing and using antivirus software, most services are straightforward and easy to use.
Norton’s website is clear and concise with its Subscribe Now button taking you to another webpage to input your details and view a summary of your order. There is a clear outline of your order, with a breakdown of the subscription, number of devices on your plan, and the available backup storage included. It also provides the compatibility of your plan and the renewal cost for the following year. One drawback is that Norton does not alert you ahead of renewal, so make sure you set a reminder in your calendar. You can also add Norton Computer Tune Up for an additional $9.99.
AVG takes you straight to a payment screen after you select the plan you want. The layout is straightforward and only requires you input your personal and payment details in one page.
Both services are quick and easy to download and install, giving you protection as soon as you need it.
How easy is the interface to use?
Usability is often one of the most underrated factors when considering which antivirus software to purchase. But having a user-friendly system makes a huge difference as you will use it regularly to scan your device.
Norton’s dashboard uses the brand’s recognizable green and yellow color scheme. The breakdown is also clear and concise, providing a visual experience that is simple to navigate. The top panel keeps you up to date regarding your device protection. The icons are easy to understand and there is access to a web portal so you can monitor all of your devices.
AVG’s interface is very modern and clean. It uses images to create a visually-driven experience. It also provides a very clear message at the top of the window to give you the quickest reassurance that your devices are protected. Smart scan can be launched very easily with one click and navigation is straightforward as each section is marked clearly.
For extra reassurance, it’s important to pick an antivirus service with solid customer support in place.
AVG’s website provides a forum, but there is little indication as to how long response times are. Phone services also incur an extra cost, but the support hub allows you to search for your queries and provides answers in the form of help guides. There is no technical support line.
Norton offers support for all of its products 24/7, year-round, even if you purchase its lower-tier options. There is also live chat support available as well as online communities, FAQs, and social media support. Norton’s support is comprehensive in comparison to competitors.
Norton and AVG provide relatively similar antivirus software services. However, Norton’s customer service is superior, its scans are more in-depth, and it has minimal impact on PC performance, making it the clear winner in my opinion. With its focus on security and stellar customer service, Norton is worth its higher price point.