After an extended hiatus from posting on this blog, I’m back! Over the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with many browsers; testing speed, reading reviews, getting used to the browser, making friends with the browser, marrying it, then divorcing, etc.
There are no benchmarks here. Benchmarks don’t really matter in the end. What matters is how it fairs in the real word (or the virtual world, for that matter ).
I tested Safari, Chrome, FireFox, and Opera. Internet Explorer; I’ve used for many years and will not be using it ever again (for obvious reasons). Here is my browser comparison:
Safari (version 5.0.x… I have 10.5.x, so…)
Safari really wasn’t bad. It was faster than FireFox, but slower than Opera and Chrome. No browser these days really is too slow. They are all fairly fast at rendering, but if we really want to nitpick, Safari is a little slower than the most of the others.
For user interface and polishing, Safari takes the cake. Granted that it does crash sometimes, the browser is gorgeous. Created by a company like Apple, I don’t expect anything less than a super slick GUI, and that’s what we got. It also is rather simple. This is partially the reason why the everyday web scourger would find Safari fitting, while other (people who work on/with the web who might be more advanced) might find it lacking. For example, Safari is lacking in plugins/extensibility. This is a great browser for the everyday user. MUCH better than the Windows default web browser (I’m looking at you, IE).
Chrome (version 13.x)
Chrome is great. A very slick GUI, but has more advanced features as well. Although it might not be the fastest on paper (more about this below), it feels the fastest. It feels lightweight, it is lightweight. I feel like I’m browsing the web with a feather… a feather than can reach speeds of Mach 5.
Overall, I really like Chrome. I’ve done many benchmarks on all these browsers (mostly peacemakers) on different systems and different versions. Chrome is the fastest on a Mac while Opera is the fastest on Windows… but only by a hair. The difference is so miniscule that I doubt anyone will notice it. But, Chrome has a few tricks up it’s sleeve that makes it seem like it loads faster.
In terms of plugins, apps, and extensibility, Chrome has done a good job with this. Although not as much as other browsers (FireFox), it has a lot of plugins and themes to choose from. I don’t like the plugin/app store as much as I do with the other browsers. It also seems to copy a lot from Apple’s app store; not like this really matters, though.
Altogether, this is a great browser for everyone; beginners and experts alike.
FireFox (version 5.x… haven’t tried 6 yet)
I’m not really sure why so many people like FireFox. I’ve used it a few years ago for about a year and I used it a couple weeks ago for about a week. It loaded web pages the slowest. It felt clunky… like it has tons and tons and tons of code*.
The great thing about FireFox is the shear amount of stuff you can do with it. There are so many plugins and extensions that it could blow your mind. FireFox definitely has that down.
But everything else; I just don’t understand. Why is it so popular? I guess it’s just momentum…
I liked Opera the most out of all the browsers I tested. It has a great GUI; a lot like FireFox’s GUI. It also has an enormous amount of plugins and extensions. It is very fast and it feels light, unlike FireFox.
It also has many really cool features, like Opera Turbo. If Opera Turbo is enabled, every request to from a site to your browser will go through Opera’s servers first. They compress it and set it to your browser in an efficient format, speeding up load time. If you have a fast network, this is not really necessary, but if you are using 3G or you are on a slow network, this is perfect.
It also has great syncing of password, bookmarks, etc. across all of your Opera browsers. Other browsers do this as well, but not nearly as well as Opera does this. It also has something called Opera Unite. Opera Unite brings the web browser to where it has never been brought to before. You can download applications for your browser like a streaming media server, web server (with execution of PHP/Python/etc with another plugin), media player, file sharer, photo editor, etc.
Opera is a really great browser. I’m not sure why more people don’t use it; they really should. With even faster page loads coming in Opera 12, Opera will just keep getting better.
Straight and to the point:
Opera is amazing. Chrome is great, but I like Opera more. Safari is pretty good, but it’s not advanced enough. FireFox sucks, in my opinion.
If you are on Windows, use Opera. If you are on Mac, use Chrome.