Here’s a screen shot of Safari, the Apple browser in action on a Windows PC released on Mar 18 2008. The first thing I noticed is the way fonts are rendered, even down to a small point size. Being used to IE and Firefox it all seemed a bit fuzzy to me. I looked for an option to turn font smoothing off but could only alter the intensity of anti-aliasing. Have a look at the images at the bottom of the article and compare the difference.
So which Windows Browser is fastest? Safari, Internet Explorer or Firefox?
What surprised me was the speed of Safari in several rendering tests I ran in which it outperformed the two big guns by a big margin. For this I downloaded a CSS benchmark test created by nontroppo. I then tried some script tests here from CelticKane.
Putting this into layman’s terms – a blink of the eye is roughly 50-80 ms so when you start to compare the above then you realise the time differences we’re talking about are very visible even to the untrained eye. In the real world when I visited some heavier html/css websites in Safari they seemed visibly to load faster.
Font rendering comparisons from the three browsers:
Notice the Safari rendering on the right is quite different…
So what’s the downside?
Well Firefox and IE are very well supported by the development community. Plugins like PicLens do not work yet (I tried) so basically it’s good for browsing, not much else at this stage. Having said that the speed of browsing makes it worth a look (if you can bear the fuzzy fonts).
Interestingly the default search engines include only Google and Yahoo. Hmm is the omission of Live Search a subtle poke at Microsoft?
Note: Tests were completed running on a Centrino Duo Inspiron 1720 with Vista Ultimate.