Review: IE 7 doesn't leapfrog the competition

Review: IE 7 doesn't leapfrog the competition

Summary: Robert Vamosi of CNET gives his assessment of the just officially released Internet Explorer 7. The good: IE 7 includes built-in tabbed browsing; antiphishing technology; an RSS reader; and a redesigned Favorites Center.

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TOPICS: Browser
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Robert Vamosi of CNET gives his assessment of the just officially released Internet Explorer 7.

The good: IE 7 includes built-in tabbed browsing; antiphishing technology; an RSS reader; and a redesigned Favorites Center.

The bad: IE 7 is limited to Windows XP SP2 users only; installation requires reboot; reuses old IE 6 code and doesn't yet comply with current Web standards; doesn't match all the features found in Firefox or Opera; carries a Microsoft legacy of not patching its IE flaws quickly enough.

The bottom line: IE 7 was Microsoft's one chance to leapfrog ahead of the competition, but the company has only barely caught sight of the current front-runners. For more features and greater security, switch to Mozilla Firefox.

Here is a brief video tour of the new IE 7. 


Like Mozilla Firefox and Opera, IE 7 has a built-in Internet search box in the top tier of the interface. If you install Internet Explorer on a clean system, the search box defaults to the little-used Windows Live.com site; however, if you upgrade and you already have a preference for, say, Google.com, Internet Explorer will respect your wishes and ask whether you want to continue using Google as your default search engine.

Depsite recommending the Mozilla Firefox for its better security and overall features, Robert recommends Windows users upgrade to IE 7 even if they never use it. "Because Internet Explorer is so tightly bound within Windows XP SP2 (for example, if you view an HTML document in Microsoft Word, you're using IE technology), it's better to have the improved code within IE 7 running on your system than not," he advises. More reviews and opinions will be forthcoming over the next few days. The IE 7 download is here.

Topic: Browser

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61 comments
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  • First browser with antiphishing

    Mozilla is following IE7 here.
    georgeou
    • You're out of your mind!

      Firefox has had their safe browsing for a long time already, which includes anti-phishing.

      Where have you been????
      linux for me
      • Those features are coming next week in Firefox 2

        The type of features I'm talking about won't come out until next week in Firefox 2.0.
        georgeou
        • Timing issues

          If FF2.0 is out next week and IE7 starts downloading at the end of the month then, by definition FF2.0 will be out first and IE7 will be "catching up" to features the competition already has.

          ;-)
          bportlock
          • IE7 is already released

            Check the link in Farber's blog.
            georgeou
    • Splitting Hairs...

      Guys, you are splitting hairs when it coes to "who's chasing who". It doesn't really matter, does it? What matters is that both have the feature, and both, in the grand scheme of things, will be out at about the same time. If you really wanted to argue who's first, you would have to go all the way back to the development, not the release.

      As for me, I probably wil stick with IE7. I have been using it since Beta1, I like it, and most importatly, I can customize and control most of it through GPO. If I had that kind of flexibility in the other products, I would gladly entertain them.

      As for which is better, I think it will always come down to preference. If any browser were truly inferior, then very few people would use it, even if it is MS. You need to look no further than IE6 and how much market share it's lost since the others have appeared. If IE7 has caught up, then the numbers wil show that. If not, they wil continue the trend. Either way, the consumer wil decide, just as it should be.

      Just my penies in the poker...
      hatfira
    • Big deal.

      Great addition, that antiphishing module. That must be why the reviewer still recommends FF over IE7 straight up, and only recommends IE7 as a modest security improvement over IE6, while noting that they share significant amounts of underlying technology, so non-ActiveX attacks are still in play. Boy for having 2 1/2 years to get this right, they are still using the IE4 rendering engine? Talk about progress.
      heres_johnny
    • Antiphishing

      I've been using "DeepNet Explorer" for almost a year because it already has antiphishing AND a built in P2P section.
      micker3779
    • But IE7 flaw would be hard to exploit

      http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9004259&intsrc=article_more_side

      "Danish security company Secunia ApS reported today that IE7 contains an information disclosure vulnerability, the same one it reported in IE6 in April."

      No doubt that there will be a patch for this soon.
      WiredGuy
    • ou you got me convinced...

      That is a real selling point for me. Antiphishing makes Firefox yesterdays phish wrapping material. I am immediately taking steps to put the new IE7 on all of my machines.....oh wait I dont have anything but linux around here. Guess I will have to limp along without the revolutionary capabilities that antiphishing brings to my browsing experience until I am willing to shed myself of my hard earned dollars. or Microsoft releases the Linux version. Have you heard when that will come out? Apparently this requires Redmond to freeze over...oh wait, I am thinking of some other similar location.....
      wrench_ninja
      • Firrs with Antiphishing? Depends

        IE7 may be the first on the market with a final release that has Antiphishing, but the Release Candidate 3 of Firefox is stable and has antiphishing as well. Now if I could just run FS-X on LINUX. (See. There is a reason for Windows) Let's see...four machines at basically $400 for the MS OS, and well over a $1,000 each for a full blown office install ...LINUX Fedora core 5 or SUSE 10 *with* Open Office...Priceless...er no...that was free. I guess you could call free priceless.
        rdhalsteatzd
  • Pulitzer!

    You know it's an unbiased Cnet expert review when the guy says the "biggest" feature in IE7 is "tabbed browsing". Not vastly improved security? Not built in RSS feeds, improved standards compliance or complete control by Group Policy for enterprise management? It will only improve significantly the web experience of 85+% of computer users the world over. Nah, nothing much to see here. Move along.

    What does Microsoft have to do to get a fair shake from Cnet -- buy more advertising?
    broper
    • Agreed

      I would have to agree with you. To make no mention of the GPO possibilites that have been added is almost inexcusable. If he is targeting this at the home user, then he should say so. As it stands, he is targeting this at everyone, and in the business world, to have the control that IE7 offers is a big deal. For most users, I believe that this will all come down to preference more than anything else.

      I also believe that to ding IE7 for IE6's shortcomings, percieved or real, is unfair. The article stated that MS has a history of not fixing IE issues quickly. Whether that is fair or not, it is not really relevant to IE7 or its future updates. Have Mozila or Firefox's updates been that much quicker? Have they NEEDED to be quicker? That is not addressed. What does he mean by "less secure"?

      It just seems to me that this is a shotgun review of a browser that the author does not use. I believe that if you had a regular user of IE do the same review, it would be much more favorable. That same user would probably not review the other offerings as favoably, and the only real reason is comfort with the known commodity.

      Don't misunderstand: I believe that Mozilla, Firefox, etc are fine products, but I also believe that IE7 is right up there with them and not as far behind as the author would leave you to believe.
      hatfira
      • but I also believe that IE7 is right up there with them and not as far beh

        I tend to agree with some of the comments in your post but I must point out that with Microsoft's market share,expertise and money they should be the leader of the pack not always playing catch up.
        They of course have a history of copying or buying technology rather than using all that talent to create new, origional software.
        This is the case with IE 7. they are just copying Firefox and Opera.
        I have had anti-phishing in Firefox for sometime all be it in a pre-release version(Not Beta) that is very stable and also includes RSS feeds.
        I also have Firefox starting on the pages I left it at and of course tabbed browsing.
        Lots of plug-ins including IE tab that allows me to use the embedded internet explorer engine in Firefox.
        And the crowning glory of Firefox and Opera is its cross platform use.
        I have it on Suse 10.1 and Ubuntu machines as well as Windows.
        This makes moving from one machine to another a breeze for our family .
        clockmendergb9
    • It's not a review - it's just a summary

      Here's the review:
      http://reviews.cnet.com/Internet_Explorer_7/4505-3514_7-32111537.html

      The entire review covers all of the major changes since IE6. I must agree that the tabbed browsing feature will be the one feature that most users will actually use. The RSS feature is good and will be popular. While the GP features may be used by admins to control the browser on many thousands of corporate desktops, only a fraction of all IE7 users will be affected.

      IE7 is a big improvement over IE6 - that cannot be denied. Many, however, will continue to use Firefox or Opera since they run on most every computer (Mac, Linux, and all versions of Windows), where IE7 runs only on XP and the up coming Vista. Personally I use Firefox 2.0, and find the integrated spell checker very useful and the Adblock and NoScript plug-ins to be very valuable.
      WiredGuy
    • Just face it!!

      IE7 sucks just like almost every piece of software microsoft has ever made
      wizardb9
  • IE 7 still doesn't display many blogger pages well

    I don't understand how MS can overlook the fact that a large percentage of blogger / blogspot.com blogs do not display well in IE 7.
    P. Douglas
    • For example ...

      [url=http://cynlib.blogspot.com/]... this blog.[/url]
      P. Douglas
      • Worked fine for me...

        I don't know what I am not seeing that I should, but I ust went to the site linked, and it looked fine to me. I saw no overwriten text, incorrect columns, or misaligned frames. In short, I didn't see anything that would cause me to say that it does not display well. Are you working with the release build of IE7? At least the Release Candidate?

        If it's something small that I'm missing, please let me know. Of course, if it is small, then I don't really know how it could be said that it "...doesn't display well".

        All I can tell you is that for my build, I have had a very small number of rendering issues. The only real issues I have had is with incorrect metatags that tel me that I need to "update" my copy of IE to 6! lol

        Just my two Lincoln (former) coppers...
        hatfira
        • Clearer example

          [url=http://hidden-scriptures.blogspot.com/]This blog[/url] should show the situation a little better. Do you notice how the top of the enclosing frame for the blog title "Hidden Scriptures", is overlayed by the blogger navigation bar on top?
          P. Douglas