Internet browsers

Monday 15 April admin

Internet browsers have come a long way since the early days of the internet. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has always had an advantage over the others because of it being bundled with the windows operating system, ditto Safari and the Apple Mac operating system. Even so, the leading browser at the moment is still Google Chrome, but for how long? Internet explorer was lagging behind after being the number one for many years and until recently was the 4th but in recent months, since the release of IE10, it has managed to overtake Mozilla Firefox (no mean feat)…

We all use the internet and regardless of what physical platform we use, we all have to use a browser to explore the internet, read our e mails, shop, watch videos, blog and so on. Which browser we actually use can make quite a difference to the quality of our internet experience. If you use a PC, then you will have definitely used Internet Explorer, probably version 8, 9 or 10 if you have a very modern installation. Each subsequent version of IE will have improvements over it’s predecessor and so it is unfair to compare the various browsers if say, you are comparing the latest version of Google Chrome to a very much older version of IE.

Having said that, it seems the fairest comparison would be if we compare browsers of the same time frame on an identical PC running the same operating systems. For this review I tested the Windows compatible browsers on a modern PC running windows 7 and the Mac running OSX10.6 – not the most modern of machines but probably representative of the mean average across the board and so as to make the reader feel good about what they are running! The hardware on the PC was Intel core i7 2.6, 16gb ram and the Mac is an iMac Intel dual core 2.6 with 16gb ram also.

So first up, lets look at the most popular browsers in use these days – Microsoft Internet Explorer version 9, Google Chrome 19, Firefox 13, Opera 12 and Apple’s Safari 5.1…

The first test was to see how long each browser took to start up (that’s with no extra add-ons or toolbars installed) I was glad to see Internet Explorer 9 finally beat its competitors on something and it did- less than 2 seconds from click to home page! Impressive, next trailing by a full 2 seconds, was Opera and Firefox which were both identical in startup time, finally at a startup speed of 4 seconds were Chrome and Safari.

The next comparison I went for was running Java script and the fastest was definitely Chrome, followed by Firefox Opera, Safari and last of all Internet Explorer. Pretty much as I expected although I am expecting great things from IE 10 I have yet to actually test it…From all the reports I have heard on the internet it is supposed to be faster than Safari and Opera and possibly even faster than Firefox.. but I used the versions that were available at the time and no doubt the others will all have go faster stripes on them too when their updates come out…

For general internet browsing, video and text cacheing I found Chrome to be the fastest still, with Opera not far behind in 2nd place, followed by Chrome, Safari and IE respectively. Overall none of them were performing badly at all, just Chrome consistently outperforming the others consistently and Opera just a little slower. Hardly any noticeable difference between the 3 runners up.

For HTML5, the latest web standard, again, Chrome was fastest with Opera only a tiny bit slower overall, closely followed by Firefox and Safari, but IE was noticeably slower than any of them even Safari – very disappointing indeed. The other 4 all performed extremely well on the HTML5 test but IE was overdue for it’s upgrade so I feel when I start using IE10 the performance will be much improved.