Norton Internet Security 2013 126.96.36.199
There are no major changes this time around - at least, not yet, and not that we've spotted. The most significant and obvious tweaks have been made to the interface. The style is similar to the previous edition, but it's been optimised for touch (and if you install the package on Windows 8, can now be controlled via a Metro app). Support for hardware acceleration should improve its responsiveness, too.
The program does also provide improvements in protection, although they're mostly out of sight. The Insight file reputation database is now updated more rapidly, for instance; Insight technology has been incorporated into the firewall to "improve the ability to detect and block malicious network activity"; SONAR now works in Safe Mode to detect more threats via their behaviour; and Internet Security 2013 can work with new Windows 8 technology which allows it to launch earlier in the boot process, so better protecting you from rootkits, malicious drivers and similar low-level threats.
And in a relatively minor (though still useful) tweak, Norton Internet Security 2013 actually downloads and installs Norton Power Eraser for you. And as a result, if a scan completes, and you follow the "If you think there are still risks, click here" link, you're not left to sort things out yourself: you're able to launch Norton Power Eraser with a click to (hopefully) find and remove any particularly stubborn threats.
The other addition this time is what Symantec call "Bandwidth Monitoring", which they say "will help consumers avoid costly data overage fees by limiting non-critical updates on bandwidth sensitive networks". This seems to be represented by a new setting (Settings > Network > Network Security Settings > Network Cost Awareness) which allows you to set a policy to govern how the program uses a particular network connection. Options are "No Limit" (do what you want), "No Traffic" (don't use this connection at all), or "Economy": if this is some expensive 3G connection, say, Norton Internet Security 2013 will use it only to download the most critical program and virus definition updates.
Put it all together and the new release represents a very significant improvement for Windows 8 users, more of a gently incremental change for everybody else. Still, despite being a first beta Norton Internet Security 2013 seemed fairly solid and reliable to us, and if you're interested in the program then it's definitely worth a look. Just keep in mind that disasters are always possible with such early builds, so don't install it on any system unless it's fully protected with complete and regular backups.