The need to be protected online has thrown up a number of solutions, almost all offering the same array of anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. Nod32 2.7 (£30 inc. VAT) doesn't offer anything new, it just does it in a more succinct way.

As with most suites, everything is monitored from one point; in this instance, the Nod32 Control Centre. Divided into four sections for real-time monitoring, the interface isn't the most friendly we've come across and you'll need some experience to tune it to the way you want it.

Each section controls a specific area. IMON (Internet MONitor) covers all HTTP and POP3 traffic as it enters and leaves your laptop, while EMON checks your email and attachments before you even open them. AMON is a real-time file scanner, checking files before you open them for potential threats. Finally, DMON does the same thing, but specifically for Microsoft Office documents.

The main selling point of Nod32 is that it isn't heavy on resources, so even if you own an older laptop, or one with a basic specification, you'll find it won't slow things down when running. We found that it ran comfortably on a machine with only 256MB of memory without any real sign of lag or delay. When it comes to scanning the system, we also found it quick, handling scans much faster than expected.

Most anti-spyware tools still work on the principle of only stopping threats after the program has been installed. Nod32 works differently, as the Anti-Stealth tools will actually take your current configuration, including root-kits, and scan them for infection. If there is one problem with Nod32 it is the lack of support for the first-time user.

To set up and manage the tools it expects a certain degree of experience and patience. However, if you can persevere with it, you'll find this a rewarding set of tools. With full support for Windows Vista, this is a cost-effective and thorough protection suite.