Norton vs Eset

Norton is one of the best known antivirus brands on the consumer market. ESET has proven its credentials with industry experts and has a growing following.

In this comparison, I will look at Norton 360 Deluxe and ESET Premium Protection to find out which one is best for the average consumer. I will look at Norton and ESET’s ability at protecting against malware threats, using my own tests, as well as comparing the results of independent tests. I will also compare additional features, useability, and price points, as these are all important things to consider when choosing the best antivirus software.

If you don’t have enough time to read the full Norton vs ESET comparison, then here is the short version. Norton wins out against ESET. This is due to its excellent malware detection rates found in my own tests, but also the useful additional features it offers. The VPN and webcam protection are great add-ons that enhance online security for most users.

If you would like the in-depth version to decide for yourself, read on to discover what I found out.

See also: Best antivirus

Summary: Norton vs ESET

Norton

  • Strong malware protection results
  • Webcam protection
  • VPN

ESET

  • Secure Data Encryption
  • Safeguards your privacy
  • File Shredder
FeatureNorton 360 DeluxeEset Premium Protection
Antivirus and Antispyware
Firewall
Webcam Protection
Password Manager
Anti-Phishing
Ransomware protection
Banking and Payment Protection
Parental Control
Network Attack Protection
Encrypted storage
Automatically update apps
VPN
PC Cloud backup✔ ( 50 GB)
File Shredder
Performance optimization
Identity theft protection
Run suspicious apps in sandbox
File Backup✔ (On PC)✔ (On PC)

Background

Norton

Norton has been around for 28 years and since 2001, it has been produced by Symantec Corporation in California. It is a well known global leader in the antivirus world and helps to secure the devices and online privacy of nearly 50 million consumers worldwide.

ESET 

Eset protects businesses and consumers in more than 200 countries and territories, with over 100 million users. ESET stands for Essential Security against Evolving Threats and its first antivirus code was developed in 1987. ESET also has the longest unbroken run of VB100 awards for malware detection and they have passed every test since 2003, making it incredibly reliable in the antivirus industry.

Pricing & Compatibility

When searching for the right antivirus program, it is important to consider the price and compatibility with your devices. ESET and Norton offer many different levels of protection to suit your needs. ESET also offers something a little bit different for mobile users, so if you specifically want to protect an Android Device, then prices start at $14.99 per year. For multiplatform protection, ESET Smart Security Premium costs $59.99 per year.

Norton also offers many different packages, but top-end packages can come at a cost, with Norton 360 Lifelock Ultimate Plus setting you back at $349.99. Norton 360 Deluxe comes in at $99.99 per year, making it considerably more expensive compared to ESET Smart Security Premium.

At the time of writing, Norton offers a hefty discount off your first-year subscription. Norton 360 Deluxe comes in at $49.99, a $50 discount. ESET offers a $20 discount if you purchase their Smart Security Premium plan.

What do you do if the software is not right for you? Norton offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied, then you can get a refund. Similarly, ESET currently offers a 30-day free trial on all of its software, which is great if you want to try before you buy.

It is also important to note that both Norton and ESET work with all the major operating systems including Windows, MacOS and Android devices.

Effectiveness against malware

As sophisticated threats increase online, having robust protection against malware is important. To test out which one is best, I conducted a number of tests on both Norton and ESET.

The first test I performed checked for malware threats in real-time, rather than waiting until a scheduled scan was due. You can see this data in the table below under ‘Live Sample.’ For the second test, I downloaded sample malware files from The European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR). I turned off real-time detection and ran a full system scan and a quick scan to see how well the malware was detected and quarantined. This is shown in the table under ‘EICAR Sample.’

Test FileEICAR Sample 1EICAR Sample 2EICAR Sample 3EICAR Sample 4Live Sample 1 (Adware)Live Sample 2 (Trojan)Live Sample 3
(Trojan)
NortonBlockedAllowedAllowedAllowedBlockedBlockedBlocked
ESETBlockedBlockedBlockedBlockedBlockedBlockedBlocked

As you can see from the table above, ESET performed exceptionally well and blocked all EICAR samples and live samples.

ESET Scan

Norton produced some different results. Norton blocked all live samples, however it allowed sample 2 and sample 3 from the EICAR samples I downloaded online.

ESET edged ahead of Norton in this particular aspect of the comparison based on my own tests. But it’s not over just yet.

To further validate my findings, I looked at some of the latest available data from leading antivirus testing websites; AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. AV-Test has a malware protection test (Real-Time Testing) and gives the specific software a percentage score on protection. In March 2020, Norton scored 100% and in April 2020 scored 99.5%. In comparison, ESET scored 99.1% in March 2020 and in April 2020 a little higher at 99.5%.

I also looked at AV-Comparatives latest results from its Malware Protection test. In March 2020 both ESET and Norton were given a score of 99.9%.

Overall, these results are fairly similar for both Norton and ESET, with AV-Test crowning Norton as the stronger of the two. AV-Comparatives latest results gave them the same score, and my own tests slightly favor ESET. There is very little difference between both programs in effectiveness against malware.

The false alarm test by AV-Comparatives tests how accurately a file of an app is identified as safe or as a threat by the antivirus software. ESET picked up two false alarms and Norton picked up seven. The lower the score, the better. False alarms can be incredibly annoying for the user. ESET’s score of just two false alarms is impressive.

Impact on PC Performance

It’s important to carefully consider the impact that antivirus software has on your PC performance, especially when running scans. To test this out, I performed both a full scan and a quick scan with ESET and Norton and the table below shows the data I captured in my findings.

Test TypeFull Scan Time (minutes)Full Scan Items ScannedQuick Scan CPU Utilization %Quick Scan Memory Utilization %Quick Scan Disk Utilization %Quick Scan Time (seconds)
Norton121970000377641171
ESET68930000N/AN/AN/AN/A

As you can see from the table, ESET does not have a quick scan option. However, ESET does perform the full scan almost an hour quicker than Norton, with a similar number of items scanned.

The data in the below table highlights how my PC’s resources were affected by both antivirus programs during the full scan and when idle on my PC.

Test TypeControl CPU Utilization % (no scan)Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)Control Disk Utilization (MB/s) (no scan)Full Scan CPU Utilization %Full Scan Memory Utilization %Full Scan Disk Utilization (MB/s)
Norton1472138475381
ESET3263176870510

ESET had a slightly bigger impact on CPU utilization when there was no scan taking place at 32%, compared to Norton which was just 14%. The full scan results show ESET with slightly better CPU and memory utilization, but more taxing disk utilization.

To further verify my findings, I again looked at some independent tests run by AV-Comparatives. The test run by AV-Comparatives shows how each antivirus software impacts PC performance during eight common tasks:

  • Downloading files
  • Browsing Websites
  • File Copying: First and subsequent run
  • Installing/uninstalling applications
  • Archiving / unarchiving
  • Launching applications: First and subsequent run

Each task is given a rating ranging between very fast and slow.

In the AV-Comparatives Performance Test from April 2020, Norton received a rating of fast for archiving/unarchiving, installing and uninstalling applications and launching applications on its first run. All other tasks were marked as very fast.

ESET earned a fast score for file copying on it’s first run, with the other tasks all being performed very fast.

When it comes to performance, both are very similar and had little impact on my PC overall. Both ESET and Norton scored fast or very fast while performing common tasks, so you can be assured that neither program will adversely affect performance.

Features

The main reason to purchase antivirus software is for the effectiveness of the antivirus scanner itself. However, many antivirus programs offer additional features to set themselves apart and entice you into buying. I’ve looked at what is included in each program to see which one offers a better value.

Norton 360 Deluxe

  • Cloud Backup 50GB
  • Real-time Threat Protection
  • Password Manager
  • Secure VPN
  • Dark Web Monitoring
  • PC SafeCam
  • Parental Control

ESET Premium Internet Security

  • Multi-platform protection
  • Safeguard your privacy
  • Enjoy premium features
  • Legendary antivirus technology
  • Privacy protection
  • Anti-theft
  • Minimal power usage
  • Install and forget

Norton 360 Deluxe

Parental Control- This is an important feature if children use your PC. With Norton’s parental control you can manage your kids’ activities online. They will be able to explore, learn and enjoy the online world safely.

Secure VPN – The secure VPN allows you to browse anonymously and securely. You can add bank-grade encryption to help keep your information, such as passwords and financial details, safe. T

PC Safe Cam – Most laptops come with a built-in webcam, so it’s important to feel protected. Norton’s Safe Cam notifies you if cybercriminals try to use it.

ESET Premium Internet Security

Privacy Protection – ESET’s privacy protection stops hackers from misusing your passwords, ensuring that your bank and purchases are safe. It will also prevent your children from being exposed to offensive online content.

Anti Theft- This standout feature is important in the event your device gets stolen. The anti-theft features allow you to stay safe by tracking and locating your missing computer in case it gets lost or stolen, but will also identify thieves via your laptop’s built-in camera.

Minimal Power Usage-  If you use your device for gaming regularly then ESET has many features to allow you to play, work and browse without slowdowns. The gamer mode allows you to auto switch to silent mode if any program is run in full-screen, while system updates and notifications are postponed to save resources.

From my experience, most people would benefit more from Norton’s add on features, particularly the cloud backup and VPN.

Sign Up and Installation

Signing up and installing software online can be a daunting process, especially if you are a novice at technology in general. You will be happy to know that both sign-up and installation for Norton and ESET is straightforward and simple. Norton clearly lays out its discount and renewal price for the following year. There is also an added option for Norton Computer Tune Up, which means you will have access to Norton-certified technicians who help to make your PC or Mac run like new again.

ESET also clearly outlines its prices and gives you a transparent comparison between all the products it offers. At checkout, you can also add extra features such as encryption. There is a toggle to opt for a monthly or yearly subscription with a breakdown of the price, which is really handy if you don’t want to be tied in long term.

How easy is the interface to use?

The useability of any software is important to consider before purchasing. Below are some screenshots of the dashboard.

ESET Setup screen

ESET Antivirus

ESET’s interface has a slightly more modern design with its futuristic ESET robot graphic. On opening, the green bar on your dashboard will tell you your PC is protected. The bar will then turn yellow if it needs your attention and then red if it detects a threat on your device. You can easily navigate to computer scan, tools and setup on the left toolbar. You will also be able to participate in ESET’s customer experience program and offer feedback via the app.

Norton uses its signature yellow color scheme. The dashboard ensures easy functionality and clearly shows if you are protected. You can navigate to security, identity, performance and other sections. Norton 360 Deluxe also includes a web portal where you can manage the protection for your five devices from a web browser.

Customer Support

Having reliable customer support for any software is important, especially when the software comes at a high cost. Norton offers 24/7/365 support on all of its product tiers. There is an online community forum, FAQ, live chat, and support available through its Facebook and Twitter channels.

ESET does not provide 24-hour support like Norton, and only answers queries from 6am to 5pm for US customers. You will be able to reach support via phone, online ticket submission, and email. Like most antivirus programs, the website includes videos, troubleshooting, FAQ’s and an extensive encyclopedia of cyber threats. The website will be more than enough to answer any common problems that may arise.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both Norton and ESET are exceptional antivirus software and are leaders in their field. However, I think Norton offers many more useful additional features such as cloud storage and a VPN. Performance and protection are level with each other, each offering superb protection for your device. But if you are looking for something more with additional stand out features, then Norton is the right choice.

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