Safari 4: Browsing Made Beautiful. And Smart.

Apple Safari 4

Yesterday, Apple released the public beta version of Safari 4 for both Mac OS X and Windows platforms. According to Apple, Safari 4 is faster and “more innovative” than Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and other competing browsers.

Safari 4 runs on a new Javascript engine called Nitro which Apple claims to be 30 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and more than 3 times faster than Firefox 3. Apple also claims that Safari 4 has a page load time 3 times faster than IE7 and Firefox 3 although performance may vary according to the system configuration and other factors.

I don’t really use Safari that much, only for testing purposes but I went and downloaded/installed Safari 4 just to check it out and see the new features.

Top Sites
Apple Safari 4

The first thing you’ll notice is Top Sites, which is a visual menu that displays graphic previews of frequently visited web sites. For first time users, Top Sites will be made up of preselected popular web sites like Yahoo!, CNN. YouTube, New York Times, etc. and as you go and use it, these slots will be replaced with the web sites that you frequently visit.

Top Sites Edit Mode
Apple Safari 4

Top Sites is customizable. Clicking on the EDIT button (found at the lower left corner) lets the user remove or rearrange the sites (drag-and-drop style) according to their preference. By default, Top Sites is displayed on medium sized thumbnails and in EDIT mode, you can change the size to small, medium or large.

Top Sites Small Thumbnails
Apple Safari 4

Top Sites Large Thumbnails
Apple Safari 4

Cover Flow
Apple Safari 4

Cover Flow is one of the new features in Safari 4. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it and have seen it in other Apple Products like the iPod, iPhone and iTunes. In Safari, this feature lets you browse through the different web sites listed in the Bookmarks or History of web sites you’ve visited. I noticed that the thumbnail generation in Cover Flow was a bit slow and lagged once in a while.

Acid Test
Apple Safari 4 Acid Test

Safari 4 is the first browser to pass the Web Standards Project’s Acid 3 test scoring 100/100, meaning it fully complies with CSS, Javascript, XML and SVG web standards.

My Take:
So how does Safari 4 compare to other browsers? Prettier? Yes. Faster? Yes. Better? I don’t think so. It is definitely better than its predecessor, the Safari 3 and it lives up to its “Browsing made beautiful. And Smart” tag line but IMO is not better than other competing browsers especially Firefox. But again, this is only a public beta version of Safari 4 so we could still some changes and improvement in the final version.

After trying and testing Safari 4 public beta, I’m still sticking to Firefox as my default web browser for 2 reasons. First, Safari 4 doesn’t have official plugin support (I can’t live without my plugins) and second, Safari 4 is a resource hog. With only 1 tab open, Safari 4 was using up almost double the amount of resources Firefox was using with 10 tabs open.

For those who don’t use plugins and only need a simple and fast browser that has some cool features, you should try Safari 4.

So what do you think of this latest version of Safari? Anyone else installed and tried it on their computer? What’s your experience using Safari 4? What do you like/dislike about it? What features would you like to see added to it in future updates? Please share your thoughts and thanks for your time!

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  1. @K –’re a Mac fan so you’re biased. ;)

    But I do agree that the Safari 4 is a pretty browser and as you said “eye candy”.

    My blog looks beautiful in any browser. Hehe just kidding. Thanks for sharing! :D

  2. Of course this is totally an “eyes” candy. Loving it!

    Jaypee, your blog looks beautiful in Mac using Safari (obviously), fyi.

  3. @elmot: I’m speaking on behalf of my good friends. I have to look out for their concerns, you see. Ahem.

    But on my best behavior, people will be reassured to see my safari opens to a more benign top list which includes:

    BBC World News
    the ubiquitous Wikipedia
    and sneaking in from behind – Jaypee Online. Ahem

  4. @jan: your comment gave me a good laugh. those top sites could become your worst nightmare esp if you are into porn..then your mom will discover your top sites. ouch, lots of spanking! ahahah

  5. @jan – Me too. I can’t live without my beloved Firefox add-ons/extensions, especially those that I use for my blogging activities.

    Haha..if you’re into that kind of thing, Google Chrome on Incognito mode is the browser for you. I believe future versions of IE and Firefox will have the same feature, which they call the “pron mode” ;)

  6. I’m sticking with Firefox with its valuable add-ons and extensions. :) Don’t like that it’s featuring top sites I’m addicted to. What if I’m into lots of porn sites? How embarrassing that will be prove to be for me when somebody checks to see what I’m up to. ahahaha

  7. haven’t tried it yet…but your critique on the safari 4 is very interesting. it is aesthetically appealing but as you said, it will be quite a discomfort for those with plug-ins..

    its a turn-off for me too, coz you said it is indeed fast but is not that applicable to those who opens many tabs like me….

    i will stick with firefox though.

  8. @jhay – Thanks! I didn’t know you also did a review of Safari 4. I’m keeping it just for testing purposes, when I try out WordPress themes and plugins and other projects. :D

    I know what you mean. I also feel like its an Apple version of Chrome, although its a bit faster and prettier. Still the lack of plugin support makes me stick with Firefox.

  9. I have Safari for Windows installed on my work computer. Actually I have MSIE, Firefox, Opera and Safari, since I need to preview my designed websites in all available browsers (I’ll install Google Chrome soon).

    I like Safari’s interface, but I don’t like Mac (sorry I’m a Bill Gates fan :lol:). Also, the fonts are a bit uneasy to my eyes. They’re not as sharp as in other browsers. Just my preferences, though.

  10. Nice breakdown of Safari 4. I’m using it for the whole week, just to test and play with it. So far, so good. Though I’m stuck with the feeling that it’s an Apple-version of Chrome. ;)

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