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    Norton vs McAfee

    Norton vs McAfee

    Many factors that distinguish excellent antiviruses from the average ones. When it comes to industry leaders, Norton and McAfee are two brands that have cemented their position in the most-preferred list of solutions.

    Although both services are fully capable of providing around-the-clock protection, there are certain noticeable differences between them. We compared both the products based on their features, performance, lab test results and many other factors to determine which service came out on top.


    Automatic ScanningYesYes
    Real-time ProtectionYesYes
    USB ScanningYesYes
    Startup & Registry ScanYesYes
    Scheduled ScanYesYes

    Threat Protection

    Email ProtectionYesYes
    Spyware protectionYesYes
    Worm & Trojan protectionYesYes
    Phishing ProtectionYesYes
    Adware PreventionNoNo
    Rootkit ProtectionYesYes
    Webcam ProtectionNoNo
    Chat/Message ProtectionNoNo



    Gamer ModeYesNo
    Passive ModeNoYes
    Parental ControlsYesYes
    Safe BrowsingYesNo
    Personal FirewallYesYes
    Smartphone OptimizerNoYes

    Customer Support

    Live ChatYesYes


    McAfee is compatible across platforms and is a great fit for families with multiple devices to protect. It has all the features you need to stay protected from all sorts of threats, both online and offline. A file shredder, password manager, and dedicated browsing extension are some of the add-on features alongside core multi-layered virus protection.

    The product offers multiple scan options and real-time threat detection that can detect and remove email attachments, downloads, and URLs quickly and efficiently. Impressively, the solution exhibited a 99.4% protection rate in the 2019 AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection Test.

    Norton also works seamlessly across devices and offers a plethora of add-on features. The core antivirus engine is powered by Artificial Intelligence. You’ll get multiple scanning options and the added security features like VPN, safe browsing, and real-time scanning features keep devices protected from the newest threats. The solution was one of the few products to score an 18/18 in the recent Real-World Testing organized by AV-Test.

    Newer versions of this solution are not accompanied by email support. It does, however, provide access to the best 24/7 tech support through phone calls and live chat. McAfee has one of the biggest knowledge-base and resource centers among the competition. The company also has a Virus Pledge that if you find a virus in your system after downloading it and the tech support cannot contain it, you will be refunded the entire cost of the software. A significant part of the service's overall feature-set is its customer help center, which is efficient and timely. The support staff of the organization is available 24/7/365 and can be contacted by phone and live chat. You can also contact the business on social media, both through Twitter and Facebook.

    Ease of Use

    Owing to the 2019 updates, McAfee now has a simpler and cleaner user interface. Compared to most antiviruses that we tested it was among the simplest to navigate. As is the standard with most products, a green checkmark means that your device is protected. If the solution detects any threats, the color changes to Yellow and Red depending on the severity.

    The features are displayed under individual tabs and frequently used tasks are neatly organized on the bottom of the screen. The product is jam-packed with features, so you’ll probably need a week or more to get accustomed to the navigation.

    Norton has kept the interface straightforward. All features are neatly organized under the dashboard and it is easy to find all features and advanced settings within a click or two. You can access multiple scan options from the home screen. Even downloading and installing the solution is easy. Compared to the other products we tested, we think it is more intuitive and easier to use. You don’t necessarily need to be a computer expert to use this antivirus as most of the tasks are self-explanatory.


    McAfee doesn’t use much of the system resources. We tested it on our 64-bit Windows 10 system and the program ran in the background without any noticeable lag or unexpected system slowdown. The product has proved its mettle in the 2019 AV-Comparatives Performance Test by bagging an ADVANCED+ rating for an impact score of 1.9, the 2nd lowest among 16 antivirus products.

    Norton, when compared to the former, eats up quite a bit of the system resources, but it has been consistently improving. The product had an impact score of 12.4 in the Performance Test and ranked 13th with an ADVANCED rating.


    Both the products have chosen a rather simplistic design. This is helpful for new users as they can easily navigate the interface and get accustomed to the features. McAfee displays all the features on the left side of the screen while the majority of the remaining portion is used for displaying scan statistics and other relevant options. The problem with the design is that you’ll need to click a lot to get into the advanced features, and this gets annoying at times.

    Norton has adapted the full-screen design. This leaves a lot of white space, but the grey-green-black highlights on the white ground make it extremely intuitive. You’ll like the design as the designers have made it easy to access almost every feature within a few clicks. Overall, we believe this solution has a more user-friendly design than most competing software solutions.


    Both antiviruses offer top-notch protection from all types of online and offline threats. McAfee gives you complete protection from malware, spam, rootkit, worms, viruses, Trojans, botnets, keyloggers, and phishing. The core-antivirus engine scans files in real-time while simultaneously matching them with the signature available in their database. Meanwhile, a heuristic monitor keeps running in the background to check and report anomalies.

    It has an Advanced Threat Defense system that automatically updates the database with newer signatures of threats and malware. In the AV-Comparatives 2019 test, it was able to detect and block 99.7% of tests and raised just two false alarms. Besides, it also features an advanced phishing detection layer that blocks malicious URLs and downloads while you browse the Internet.

    The Safe Browsing feature gives you complete protection from keyloggers. You’ll also get full control over the firewall protection feature. The solution allows you to control the connection privileges of apps and features. If the scanner detects any request that isn’t defined in the firewall rules, it immediately alerts you to terminate the request. It has 4 security levels to choose from, thus you can define the security as per your wireless connection. The product has been highly rated by independent labs and is worth every penny when it comes to 360-degree real-time protection.

    Norton is also one of the best offerings when it comes to full-fledged device protection. It is one of the few products that scored a perfect 100% in the Zero-Day Malware Protection tests. The core-antivirus engine scans every file in your device to match against known threats. If it finds any unusual files/folders, the heuristic monitor immediately adds it to the list.

    It scans the URLs of the websites you visit and compares them to established phishing websites to help you protect yourself against unexpected online attacks. Furthermore, it also keeps scanning other websites for suspicious or odd signs. If something is found, it will automatically block the website and let you know why. Our tests showed that it is extremely effective in detecting and blocking phishing attacks. Unlike most scans, you’ll see an additional spyware scan included.

    Whenever you scan the device, the solution also looks for any spyware that might have been installed. The antivirus engine is powered by Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning algorithms, and the civilian cyber-intelligence threat network that works in unison to detect and stop threats before they harm your device. The firewall feature is the same as that of McAfee, but the only difference is that it is automated.


    PlanPriceNumber of Devices
    McAfee Total Protection – Family$44.99 yearly10
    McAfee Total Protection – Multi Device$39.99 yearly5
    McAfee Total Protection – Individual$34.99 yearly1
    Norton Antivirus Plus$19.99 yearly1 PC or Mac
    Norton 360 Standard$29.99 Yearly1 PC, Mac, Tablet, or Smartphone
    Norton 360 Deluxe$39.99 Yearly5 PCs, Macs, Tablets, or Smartphones
    Norton 360 with LifeLock$89.99 Yearly5 PCs, Macs, Tablets, or Smartphones


    Both products are highly rated and industry-leading antivirus solutions. While there are a few missing features in each, both products have performed equally in almost every aspect. That said, a few additions like a VPN and Smartphone optimizer gives Norton the edge. McAfee, on the other hand, is a good choice if you’re looking for multi-device protection.

    We recommend that you consider the requirements because most antivirus comes jam-packed with features that you won’t necessarily need. Knowing what you need will help you choose the right solution for your device protection needs.