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Norton vs ESET: Which is Best?

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 6/7/2010

It is really hard to decide when you are selecting an antimalware product, especially if they are in the top 3 in the security area. Inside we compare Norton 360 and ESET Smart Security 4 to find out which one is a perfect fit.

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    Both Norton 360 and ESET Smart Security are in the top three security products in the recent years. Both have overall protection, from malware protection to firewalls, including antispam modules. Both have their own pros and cons and we melt everything in one pot for the Bright Hub readers.

    If you want to read the reviews of the products, here are the reviews: ESET Smart Security and Norton 360.

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    In terms of basic malware protection features, both products offer the same basic level of security. However, in terms of independent antivirus tests, ESET is one step ahead with the proactive/retrospective scans. In terms of on-demand scans, both programs are the same. This is a big plus for the ESET. But when it comes to the fine-tuned services offered by the programs, Norton 360 is clearly ahead, as you will notice in the following table:ESET vs Norton Symantec seems to have done its homework well and offers Website authentication and identity protection features to its product. Both may not be serious issues for you if you are already using a password manager software, which store your passwords and securely inputs them to web forms when you are logging in to a website.

    Of course, there is a serious use of instant messaging applications and the users need to be protected against the risks that come with the programs. It is sad to see that such a powerful product, ESET, does not offer protection on instant messaging.

    There is one point, which ESET is the clear winner is the load that it puts on the system; both through the scan process and the idle time. The idle memory use comes down to 7 Megabytes total, which makes it an “install and forget" product. And in terms of scan times, ESET is the clear winner: it is fast, really fast.

    ESET and Norton offer in-depth configuration options, but ESET's options are for the novice to intermediate users. A novice user has to read the configuration options in detail before he is making changes. But the good thing is, ESET has a detailed help file. Norton's options are more oriented towards the novice users, but the advanced users will also find what they are looking for.

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    Looking at the table above, it is apparent that Norton 360 is the clear winner; more services offered for the lower price. Plus, Norton offers a 2 Gigabytes of space for online file storage (if you choose Norton 360 Premiere Edition, which comes at USD 99.99 you will have 25 Gigabytes of space). If you are living in the US, Norton offers 7/24 free support for the subscribers, which we do not see for ESET.

    Boiling everything into one pot, advanced users who do not need features like parental controls may argue that ESET + password manager + back-up solution = Norton 360, but it is not the case. Even if that is so, ESET is priced USD 30 higher than Norton. This does not mean that ESET is a bad product, but it means that ESET has to add more features; a password and identity protection, instant messaging protection does not seem to be too hard to add to an existing product. ESET is very promising and the chances are good that we may see it topping the list in the coming years.