Review: Apple's Safari 4 Web browser zips past rivals
The speedy browser is now out of beta
Since its debut, Safari has offered Mac users hassle-free browsing, standards-friendly HTML rendering, and a number of thoughtful and handy features to make surfing the Web just a little bit more fun. Its triumphant new version continues all these trends with style -- and bolts on a jumbo jet engine's worth of pure speed.
Remember the DeLorean from Back to the Future, leaving tracks of flame in its wake as it shot into another era? That's the impression one gets when comparing Safari's performance to that of its closest rivals.
In XHTML rendering, Safari's 0.54 seconds clocked in at nearly seven times faster than Firefox 3's 3.42 seconds, and still thrashed Firefox 3.5's 2.82 seconds. Even Chrome, which uses the same WebKit rendering engine that powers Safari, could only manage a respectable 1.14 seconds.
In addition to superlative speed, Safari also tops the competition in its strict compliance with Web standards. Living up to Apple's hype, Safari 4 is indeed the only current Mac browser to pass the Acid3 Web standards test with flying colors. Chrome managed to match Safari 4's perfect 100-out-of-100 score, but got a linktest error that Safari didn't. Firefox 3 scored a 71, while Firefox 3.5 got a much closer 93.
Not surprisingly, Safari also got top marks for compatibility with selectors for the emerging CSS3 standard for online style sheets, albeit in a tie with Chrome. Both browsers were able to handle all 578 selectors thrown at them by an automated online test. Firefox 3 accepted only 371, while Firefox 3.5 scored a much more impressive 576.
Apple touts Safari's ability to handle the still-in-development HTML 5 markup standard, and in most respects, it's right. Safari 4 had no trouble rendering any pages from a gallery of sites already using HTML 5, and it could even display some -- but not all -- of the cutting-edge pages from a gallery built specifically for Google's Chrome. (It did seem to have trouble with HTML 5's emerging Video and Audio tags, but that technology's admittedly still in its infancy.) Safari also does a great job with animation, drop shadows for text, and other new tricks vying for inclusion in the final CSS3 style sheet standard, feats only Chrome and its shared WebKit engine can match.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Infographic: Converged Infrastructure Benefits This Infographic quantifies the savings organizations are realizing from increased deployment speed, higher availability, and lower annual costs.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- The Big Data Opportunity for HR and Finance If CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CHROs want to drive their businesses forward, they will need to quickly recognize the enormous value of big...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
Enhance Your Virtualization Infrastructure With IBM and Vmware
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtualization technology is now expanding beyond the server compute elements to encompass networking and storage...
All Hardware White Papers |
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!