Browser battles: IE vs. Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Safari

Firefox 4 Beta

Where to get it:

From looking at the beta version of Firefox 4, it's clear that browser minimalism and top-loading tabs are the new black in browser design. Like IE9, Chrome and Safari, the newest version of Firefox eschews complicated toolbars in favour of a clean layout that emphasises the pages you're surfing to. On Windows (Vista and 7 only), the minimalist design means that all of Firefox's menus spring out from the inventively named (and arguably Opera-borrowed) "Firefox button" that sits at the top left of the user interface. Standard menu layouts can also be invoked with a tap of the Alt key. Our only complaint with the Firefox button is that it sits in a vertical plane by itself, taking up what feels like a lot of screen real estate. It's still early beta days, so hopefully that'll change for final release. Tabs have shifted by default from the bottom to the top, although you can tweak this back if you're not in favour of it.

If you're the type of web surfer who always has hundreds of tabs open, you'll appreciate Firefox 4's Switch To Tab feature. If you're entering in the URL bar ... sorry, "Awesome Bar" by official Firefox parlance, the details of something that matches an existing open tab, it'll offer you the option to switch straight to that tab. Not so useful for single tabs, but if you've got dozens shrunk down to the point where they can't be found, it's potentially quite handy.

(Credit: Mozilla)

On the technical side, Firefox 4 supports yet another new video standard, WebM. It's open source and seems reasonably slick, but whether it'll unseat Flash and H.264 in any significant way isn't yet clear.

Firefox 4 is still very much in beta, and with that in mind, there's a permanently affixed Feedback button on the top left of the browser screen. We'll give them extra points for naming the feedback options "FireFox Made Me Happy Because" and "Firefox Made Me Sad Because..." if only because it's a cute way to engage browser testers.

Firefox 4 is still a beta, and it showed intermittently in our testing, with a few crashes along the way. Other than that, however, it's a swift browser that performs well. Existing Firefox users should upgrade to it once it's gone final, and those wanting cross-platform compatibility and a good browser could well be tempted to switch camps.

Between them, Firefox and Internet Explorer eat up at least 80 per cent of the world's browser share. Moving over to Google next...

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geromeskeez posted a comment   

i noticed chrome gave me a heap of virus's which is a problem if you dont have anti-virus installed in your computer so i would go for the browsers giving me the best security which would probably be firefox, IE, Opera and opinion.


Joe posted a comment   

I love Chrome due to its speed, interface and store but I use Opera if I cap my Internet and it slows down... I think all browsers have their virtues but for me Chrome is just getting better and better (Mac user)


AlexanderK posted a comment   

ff is my favorite. very useful for a web-developer. vote


Dave posted a comment   

Firefox best in my opinion


Marc Sigrist posted a comment   

You wrote: "Opera has grimly kept hold of an idea [...], namely that your browser could be multiple applications at once." However, nowadays Opera puts much more emphasis on the slogan "The best browsing experience on any device". One of the reasons I prefer Opera is that it works equally well and synchronizes seamlessly on my Linux home PC, my Windows work PC, and my Android smartphone.


startagl posted a comment   

I use SlimBrowser which yes is an IE skin, but damn people look at that way it handles tabs (way before anyone even thought about tabs), and security, etc. It is simply awesome.


ksovi posted a comment   

after Netscape i switched to opera as the main browser for me, i also use firefox and chrome now and then but none drives as opera does. now with version 4.6 konqueror also is usable again (i use arch linux) so opera and konqueror for me :)


nit posted a comment   

opera makes web surfing easy to me with it's unique features.main thing is we can adjust the browser as we want. i think you have to use it(latest version)for one time.
i already used Google, IE and Firefox too.but after using opera i was amazed.


tanvir4207 posted a comment   

Stick with IE9 a little slow (ihave vista) but you can fix that it wont creat any problems as long as your not messing with it

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