Apple Safari Speed Can't Beat Firefox's Ease

Safari competes for fastest browser but hasn't embraced add-ons

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2009_02_Safari_on_Vista.jpg
Safari 4 running on Windows Vista

Apple has released an update to its Safari Web browser for testing. Reviews are generally upbeat on the changes, and Safari at least comes close to its claim as the fastest browser. ZDNet says Safari is wicked quick, rendering some Web elements 42 times faster than Microsoft's Internet Explorer:

...our benchmarks confirm Apple's Safari 4 browser...is the fastest browser on the planet. In fact, it beat Google's Chrome, Firefox 3, Opera 9.6 and even Mozilla's developmental Minefield browser.

PCMag.com disagrees, kinda. Says Michael Muchmore:

Safari...claims to be the world's fastest browser. It's not, but in real-world service it's close enough not to matter.

The browser adds a host of features, including one that gives a preview of a user's frequently visited pages. Safari also enables thorough searches of recently visited pages. It also looks good, though Andrew Nusca at The ToyBox was happy that Safari no longer tried to force a Mac look onto Windows. He offered a nice summary of how four leading browsers stack up:

For the moment, each browser retains its unique differentiating qualities, though: Chrome is still the most barebones and experimental of the bunch, Internet Explorer is still extremely integrated with Microsoft services, Firefox still retains its mod-happy plugins, multi-use bar and “Save and Quit” tab memory.

No longer chained by the Mac look, Safari 4 beta is somewhere in between, at least on a PC.

I think those Firefox plugins are indispensable. They're also something Safari hasn't embraced. Too bad, because they make browsing easier and more convenient. I'll try Safari, but I'm sure the Firefox add-ons save me more time than a few milliseconds gained in faster page drawing.