Norman Antivirus 10 Review
Not to be confused with Norton, Norman is a Norwegian Internet security firm. They’ve been in the business since 1984.
Norman Antivirus is Norman’s entry-level product, and we’ll confess that during our initial time with it, we were left rather uninspired. Then it went on and performed brilliantly in our real-life tests, leaving us with distinctly mixed feelings. If you want a simple product that works, this is worth a look, but you’ll probably want to consider some other products alongside it before committing.
Norman Antivirus 10 is the at the bottom of Norman’s range of three Internet security products. Norman describe Antivirus 10, Security Suite 10, and Security Suite 10 Pro as “good,” “better” and “best” respectively.
Antivirus 10 is sold in three-PC packs by default, but you can select a one, two or three year subscription.
A one-year, three-PC pack costs £35.95 in the UK, €39.95 in Euro countries, and $45.95 in the US. Three-year packs for three-PCs cost £89.95 in the UK, €99.95 in Euro countries, and $115.95 in the US.
These prices are around average for an entry-level antivirus product. However, discounts for multiple years are less generous that some, and we weren’t particularly enamoured with Norman’s rather cheeky way of charging an extra £5.95 for an “extended download service,” nor their attempt to charge another £6 for a backup CD. While both of these are “options,” we imagine that inexperienced users may select them out of fear that they need them. It’s clever “upselling” but that doesn’t mean we have to like it!
In common with nearly all commercial antivirus products, a free 30-day trial is available.
The features list for Norman Antivirus 10 is rather pedestrian in nature. This isn’t a criticism, as it includes all the key basics, but it’s fair to say there’s nothing on the list to get particularly excited about.
Key features are as follows:
Small system footprint: As with most modern antivirus products, Norman promises minimal impact on system performance. The truth of these claims tends to vary considerably between different products!
Cloud-based protection: Norman uses “real time technology” to ensure its database is always up to date.
Malware Protection: Aside from “regular” viruses, Norman promises to protect from a range of other threats, specifically “worms, Trojans, malware and other destructive code.”
Rootkit Protection: This is said to “prevent unauthorised programs from taking control of your PC.”
Smart Default Settings: The program is designed to be simple to use and navigate.
This really is a rather compact features list, so as we began the installation we were hopeful that Norman would get the basics right.
Installation and Configuration
We used Norman’s 30-day trial option to review the product.
We were required to provide our name, country and email address. After this we were emailed a license key and a link to the installer download.
We became a little confused at this point, as it looked like we had been given a trial of the more expensive Security Suite software, especially given that the download was a not-insignificant 354MB!
However, upon running the installer, we were prompted for our licence key, and asked to select a “Complete” or “Custom” install. Although we would usually select “complete,” we had a look at the custom option to see exactly what was being installed.
As you can see from the screenshot above, only the Antivirus and Antispyware features were selected for installation, based on our trial licence key. This led us to work out that Norman actually refer to all of their products as “Security Suite.” This caused us some confusion and some wasted time, but we decided to click “next” and continue with the installation.
The installation only took a couple of minutes to complete, but after starting the program, it was then a few more minutes until the program finished installing updates.
We were also required to restart our machine to complete the update, which is actually quite unusual with modern antivirus products.
Once we had rebooted, we explored Norman’s interface. It was as minimalist as anything we had seen.
Options and settings seemed rather thin on the ground; even the settings menu had little to play with. While this might appeal to novices, enthusiasts would probably lament the lack of configurability.
Feeling as if there was little else for us to look at, we proceeded with our real life tests.
At this point in the review, Norman was still “in with a chance.” If the product managed to deal well with all the threats on our infected test USB key, we would happily overlook the rather unimpressive feature-set.
We plugged in our USB device and waited to see what happened. We like to see antivirus products prompt users to scan these devices, but this (sadly) didn’t happen with Norman. All we saw was the usual Windows AutoPlay window.
We clicked the “open folder to view files” option.
Within seconds, an alert appeared telling us that Norman Antivirus had identified our fake Google Chrome installer as a “potentially unwanted program.” We were impressed by this, as it’s the “hardest” of our test threats, and many programs fail to identify it.
After removing this threat, another notification appeared, telling us that Norman had identified our fake “scareware” antivirus program and moved it to quarantine.
All that now remained on our USB key was our “easiest” threat, a dummy virus produced by the European Expert Group for IT Security. We double clicked it. Once again, Norman jumped to life and quarantined the file.
We were really impressed at this point. Norman Antivirus had aced all of our real-life tests.
Next, we decided to kick off a full scan to have a look at Norman’s CPU and memory use.
Norman’s two processes used a steady 80MB of RAM, which is below average. The CPU usage was also quite low, typically steady at between 10% and 30%. However, CPU use did occasionally peak higher than this, and we noticed some performance degradation during these times. These peaks were rare, however, and not frequent enough to warrant major criticism.
The full scan took just under 30 minutes to complete, which is fairly average. However, the progress indicator showed 0% nearly all the way through, which was a little disconcerting!
Norman make a point of the fact that “local support” is included with their product.
We put the UK support department to the test. It appeared to be outsourced to an external company, but we were pleased to get an instant answer from a real person when we phoned. However, a promised email follow-up to our query remained outstanding two days later.
Norman also provide an online FAQ section, and an email address for support queries.
- Perfect test results
- Instant phone support
We weren’t so sure about
- Very basic feature set and interface
- Discounts for long subscriptions could be more generous
- Cheeky upselling attempts during order process
- Confusion re. product trials and product branding
- No response to an email to the support department
Norman Antivirus 10 is the very definition of a “no frills” product, and has a limited set of features. There were also a few minor things we didn’t like very much.
On the other hand, it did perfectly in all of our real-life tests, and that isn’t something that should go unrecognised.
That leaves us with a product that’s hard to sum up. It will probably appeal to people who like simple, “no fuss” software, but it’s only fair to mention that there are products that pass all of our tests AND offer plenty more functionality.
So, in conclusion, Norman shouldn’t be ignored, but enthusiasts will probably want to go for something with a few more bells and whistles. Our support experience was mixed, also.