Norton and PC Matic both serve as formidable barriers against malware and viruses, but the question remains: how comprehensive is their protection across your digital landscape? I conducted an exhaustive comparative analysis between PC Matic Home Security and Norton 360 to provide a definitive answer. Criteria included user-friendliness and the range of additional features offered.
Short on time? Norton 360 is the superior choice, offering a comprehensive internet security suite with value-added features such as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and webcam protection.
For those interested in a detailed evaluation, I invite you to continue reading as we dissect each provider’s capabilities.
- System optimization tools
- Ransomware protection
- Unknown app whitelister
- Excellent malware protection
- Webcam protection
- VPN & cloud backup
|Feature||PC Matic||Norton 360|
|Antivirus and Antispyware||✔||✔|
|Banking and Payment Protection||✖||✔|
|Network Attack Protection||✖||✔|
|Automatically update apps||✔||✔|
|PC Cloud backup||✖||✔ (50 GB)|
|Identity theft protection||✖||✔|
BEST DEAL FOR PC MATIC:Get a lifetime subscription to PC Matic and never have to worry about monthly or annual fees.
BEST DEAL FOR NORTON:Get up to 83% off your first year with Norton, our highest-rated antivirus.
PC Matic was founded in 1999 as a standalone antivirus scanning tool and has since grown to detect malware in real-time and optimize PC performance. PC Matic states that “all of the research, development, and support for PC Matic is done right here in the United States.” and is run by CEO and founder Rob Cheng.
Norton is a well-known internet security brand across the globe and has been around since 1991, when it began as a standalone antivirus solution. It has since expanded to offer a range of internet security tools for home and business purposes, offering Norton 360 to the world in 2006. In 2017, LifeLock Identity Protection (previously Symantec) was acquired and changed names to Norton LifeLock.
PC Matic vs Norton pricing
Norton offers consumers four different levels of pricing, providing users with excellent levels of protection as they climb through the higher tiers.
On the other hand, PC Matic only offers two pricing options for home users, which we’ll dig into a little deeper in this section.
|Norton AntiVirus Plus||Norton 360 Deluxe||Norton 360 + LifeLock Select||Norton 360 + LifeLock Ultimate Plus
|$19.99-first year||$49.99-first year||$99.48-first year||$299.98-first year|
To give you an understanding of what you’ll be getting from Norton depending on which price you go for, I summarized each plan below.
For Norton Antivirus Plus, you’ll get virus, malware, and ransomware protection, a password manager, and online threat protection. You can install the software on one PC. This plan will cost users $19.99 for the first year, and then it’ll revert to normal pricing of $59.99 annually.
Norton 360 Deluxe is the next tier up and includes a VPN, parental controls, webcam protection, and dark web monitoring for up to five PCs. You’ll also get all the features included with Norton Antivirus Plus. This will set you back $49.99 for the first year instead of the usual $104.99 annual price.
Next up is Norton 360 with LifeLock Select, which includes all the features of the previous plans plus 100 GB cloud storage, stolen wallet protection, credit monitoring, and ID verification monitoring for up to five devices. This plan costs first-year users $99.48 and then rises to $149.99.
Finally is the top-tier package for users who are serious about cyber security. Norton 360 LifeLock Ultimate has all the features of the other plans, plus 500 GB of cloud storage, social media monitoring, bank and credit card activity alerts, court records scanning, and lets you use it on unlimited devices. It’ll cost you $299.88 for year one and $349.99 after that.
All Norton plans include a 60-day money-back guarantee, which I tested out myself. You can request a full refund via live chat, and after confirming your reason for canceling, you’ll have your refund within a few days.
PC Matic sounds a little underwhelming when you look at all the features included with Norton’s packages, but that’s not to say it isn’t suitable for smaller budgets. PC Matic has two pricing tiers for home users.
PC Matic Home Security is $50 per year and lets you use its software on up to five devices. It includes antimalware protection, ransomware protection, system performance optimization tools, and an application whitelister.
The PC Matic Home Security lifetime deal is $150, meaning you pay a one-off fee and have access to the software for life. So you’ll never need to purchase another internet security suite (so long as you’re happy with the features).
Although this comparison is aimed at consumers, it’s worth mentioning that PC Matic also offers an enterprise internet security solution. PC Matic Pro is the company’s answer to endpoint security for businesses looking for more comprehensive features to tackle sophisticated threats, comprising government-level security solutions that use robust endpoint protection.
Both PC Matic plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you change your mind, you’re entitled to a full refund. PC Matic has apps for Windows, macOS, and Android.
Effectiveness against malware
What use is an antivirus if it doesn’t stop threats from wreaking havoc on your system? To see how each provider measured up in terms of malware detection, I ran a series of tests.
I began with a test to see if the software would pick up test virus samples downloaded from the EICAR (European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research) and then downloaded some live virus samples comprised of trojans and adware. The EICAR samples were made up of a .exe file, a .txt file, and two compressed executables. The live samples come in a compressed .exe format.
I enabled real-time scanning utilities for both providers (at separate times to avoid a software conflict), which should, in theory, detect and block the virus samples the moment they are downloaded.
|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)|
PC Matic was very disappointing, as it didn’t detect any of the EICAR or live samples. PC Matic’s SuperShield is its answer to real-time scanning, and I was surprised it didn’t pick up any of the samples even when opening them.
Test results (quick scan)
I disabled real-time protection for both providers and ran a quick scan to see if they’d detect any of the virus samples. Neither picked up any of the samples at this point, though this isn’t unusual for quick scans.
Test results (full scan)
I continued my lab testing with a full scan. Norton picked up every virus sample as it did in real-time scanning. PC Matic allowed every sample, not seeing any of the malware samples I downloaded.
I continued my malware testing to understand what providers like AV-Test were saying about the performance of each provider during malware scan benchmarking.
First, I checked the AV-Test to see how PC Matic scored for its protection against 0-day malware attacks, inclusive of web and email threats (Real-World Testing). Av-Test scores products out of 6.0 for its protection category, and in February 2021, it scored a low 3.0/6.0.
Norton 360, on the other hand, scored full marks for the same test period, which would back up what I found in terms of detection rates.
Impact on PC performance
For my next test, I looked at how each antivirus provider impacted my PC performance to ensure they didn’t grind my system to a halt when running full scans.
|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)|
First off, I ran a full scan with PC Matic, and strangely, it’s set by default to perform a quick scan every time you hit the scan button. You need to go into the options menu and select full scan as the mandatory scan type to start a full scan. Strangely, though, the options menu is grayed out until you perform the first quick scan.
The quick scan ran and completed in 560 seconds, which is quite lengthy compared to other providers. The full scan was unusually short, as it finished in 20 minutes. PC Matic doesn’t give details on how many files it scanned, but I guess that figure is pretty low considering how fast the full scan was completed.
Norton 360 was much more straightforward to set up a scan, completing a quick scan in 171 seconds and a full scan in 121 minutes, scanning 1,420,276 files in total.
|Test Type||Control CPU Utilization % (no scan)||Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)||Control Disk Utilization (seconds) (no scan)||Full Scan CPU Utilization %||Full Scan Memory Utilization %||Full Scan Disk Utilization (seconds)|
I also looked at how resource-heavy each provider was during real-time and on-demand scans.
I used a Windows performance monitor to record resource utilization over 60-second periods for both providers. The report showed the Control CPU, memory, and disk utilization percentages were lower for PC Matic than Norton when the process ran in real time. Similarly, the percentages of full scan CPU, memory, and disk utilization were lower for PC Matic versus Norton 360.
While running a scan with PC Matic and attempting to switch between options, I did notice a delay of several seconds before I loaded the screen I wanted.
I took my findings further by checking out the resource impact recorded at AV-Test, which tests performance based on the following categories:
- Downloading files
- Browsing websites
- File copying
- Installing/uninstalling applications
- Archiving / unarchiving
- Launching applications
AV-Test’s monitoring ranks software out of 6.0 (similar to the malware ranking mentioned earlier) for performance.
Both PC Matic and Norton 360 achieved the entire 6.0 grade of “excellent” for their impact on PC performance.
PC Matic vs Norton features
When selecting an antivirus product, the next factor is the extra features besides basic malware and virus protection. Below is a list of the extras bundled with Norton 360 and PC Matic Home Security.
- Antivirus and antimalware
- Ransomware Protection
- Malware & Ransomware Protection
- Online Threat Protection
- Smart Firewall
- PC Cloud Backup 50 GB
- Password Manager
- Parental Controls
- Secure VPN
- PC SafeCam
There are a couple of overlaps in terms of the features and functionality offered by each provider. They also include features that are exclusive to each software package. I’ve explained some of these below.
- Super Shield: PC Matic’s SuperShield is its answer to real-time malware detection and works differently from to some antivirus software. Rather than using a database of known threats to find and block malware, SuperShield uses a global whitelist to determine the safe apps on your computer and categorizes unknown apps as threats.
- Whitelisting – PC Matic blocks applications from unknown sources to prevent malware threats. You can whitelist apps that you trust from unknown developers manually or check the list of blocked programs and tick each one to whitelist them.
- Adblocker: PC Matic’s ad blocker is useful for identifying ads on browsers like Firefox or Chrome and stopping them from popping up when you surf the web.
- PC SafeCam – Webcam protection is paramount due to the rising threat of webcam hijacking, allowing you to prevent attackers accessing your webcam to blackmail you.
- Parental Controls – Knowing that your family is safe online provides peace of mind that they aren’t visiting sites suited to adults and protects them from malicious websites. Parental controls help you to lock down unsafe sites and monitor your family’s activities as necessary.
- Secure VPN – A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps you control your online privacy, shielding your activities from prying eyes. You’ll also be able to enjoy the content you pay for at home from anywhere worldwide.
Sign up & Installation
Norton 360 and PC Matic make it straightforward to get signed up ready to protect your devices. Both providers ask for some basic details such as a name, email address, and home address to get started. You’ll complete the checkout before being directed to a download page.
Both software packages were downloaded fast and installed within minutes. However, Norton had the more eye-pleasing installation wizard, whereas PC Matic’s looked like it was from an older Windows platform.
Norton 360 enables auto-renewal by default, so you’ll need to remember to turn this off if you don’t wish to renew. I tested the cancellation process by contacting Norton via LiveChat. They processed my refund the same day after explaining why I wanted to cancel.
PC Matic also auto-renews users on its one-year plan, which is disabled for lifetime users. I raised a support ticket to test the cancellation process, and someone responded within an hour to process my refund. No questions asked.
How easy is the interface to use?
The main Norton 360 user interface uses a tiled layout, with different tiles dedicated to different internet security options. The security tile, for example, has everything you need to perform scans, while internet security relates to your browser, and backup lets you select the files you’d like backed up to the cloud.
The performance tile gives you options to optimize your system, and My Norton shows everything to do with your account (such as expiration).
PC Matic is a completely different beast, and I didn’t like the layout of its main dashboard. When you first start the software, there’s a scan button in the upper part of the dashboard, and it doesn’t tell you what type of scan is being performed (quick or full). Instead, you have to work out by yourself that the type of scan needs to be selected from the option – greyed out until you run the first scan.
Once the first scan has run, you can select SuperShield and tweak the options related to real-time scanning. A scheduling button allows you to set up scan schedules and a reports tab shows previously run scans. Options give you many advanced settings like scanning for “Viruses or pests” – what’s a pest, you ask? I assume it’s malware, but I’m still figuring it out.
There are three dials across the middle with CPU, RAM, and Disk, but nothing indicates whether that’s current usage or something else.
You then have maintenance statistics at the bottom of your screen, which I’m generally not interested in when protecting my PC. The only relevant option for me is the viruses stopped, but these stats seem to be more for vanity than anything useful.
Norton excels in the realm of customer support, offering a plethora of channels to address both immediate and less time-sensitive inquiries. Their 24/7 LiveChat and phone support stand ready to assist, while a robust online community, social media channels, and an extensive knowledge base provide additional avenues for support.
Conversely, PC Matic’s customer support infrastructure could be more robust. In contrast, the application does include a virtual tour to acquaint users with its features and a support page with FAQs and instructional videos. Its LiveChat service is essentially a bot that redirects you to a ticket-based support system, limiting real-time assistance options.
PC Matic vs Norton conclusion
Norton 360 is the ultimate internet security suite in the fight against PC Matic Home Security. Along with providing some excellent discounted first-year pricing, Norton 360 has a vast range of security features such as parental controls, a VPN, and cloud backup.
Norton knocked it out of the park with its malware scanning tests and impact on PC performance, and it also has a cleaner interface than PC Matic’s messy dashboard. Finally, Norton’s 24/7 customer support means someone is on-hand to help whenever you need them.
How do I enable PC Matic’s SuperShield?
PC Matic’s Super Shield will only be available after the first scan. Once you’ve done this, you can enable it by following these steps:
- Run PC Matic, or right-click the PC Matic icon in the taskbar.
- Click the Options tab from the PC Matic dashboard.
- Select SuperShield from the left-hand menu
- Click the green Enable button to turn on real-time scanning.
How do I uninstall Norton?
- Download the Norton Remove and Reinstall tool.
- Double-click the NRnR icon.
- Read the license agreement and click Agree.
- Click Advanced Options.
- Click Remove Only.
- Click Remove.
- You may be prompted to restart your machine. Click Restart Now.