The latest iteration of Norton AntiVirus continues to get the job done when it comes to keeping PCs free of viruses. Few would question Symantec's dominance of the anti-virus space, so why then do users even consider alternatives? In a nutshell, the answers are performance and price.

We're not talking about how well NAV performs in terms of keeping PCs virus-free, but rather its ability to eat into system resources.

We noticed a decline in system speed after installing the software, and a check of process memory consumption in Task Manager showed more memory consumed than any of the other products we tested. NAV continues to be a market 'leader' price-wise, tied with McAfee Virus Scan at £40 for a single-year subscription.

NAV is among the most able products on the market. Its initial scan, performed at the beginning of the installation process, caught planted viruses immediately and caught us off guard in the process. To be fair - and accurately test scanning speed - we turned NAV off, replanted the viruses and ran a full scan.

Resource hungry as it may be, NAV finished the complete scan in 27 minutes, not among the fastest, but still respectable. Our email tests ended perfectly, and finding the viruses stored on our DVD wasn't an issue.

The real-time protection offered by NAV is excellent, alerts are clear and the online virus database integrated with the product is unmatched.

Unfortunately, its high resource utilisation and steep price put NAV out of most users' reach. If you want a name you can trust, Norton AntiVirus is still a great AV option. However, there's increasingly little to justify its high cost when compared to the competition. Consider NOD 32 instead. Dan DiNicolo