Safari 4 - This is one fast browser!

Safari 4 - This is one fast browser!

Summary: Earlier today Apple unveiled the first public beta of the Safari 4 browser. I downloaded the browser and took it for a quick spin ...


Earlier today Apple unveiled the first public beta of the Safari 4 browser. I downloaded the browser and took it for a quick spin ... and I have to say, this is a huge improvement on what I've come to expect from Safari.

I've only had my hands on Safari 4 for a little while now so it's very early days, but I thought I'd pass on some of my initial thoughts on this latest browser offering from Apple.

Check out the Safari 4 public beta image gallery

  • Safari 4 is a nice browser. Feels to me a lot like Google Chrome, but a little more stylish.
  • The Top Sites page is interesting, but it feels painfully slow to load in. And since it also features zooming and transparency, so might not be suited to slower systems.
  • I can't get over how much like Chrome the browser looks like. You have tabs above the address bar, minimal interface gizmos, and a clean look.
  • Tabs in Safari 4 behave in pretty much the same way they do in Chrome. You can drag them about, drag them out of the browser windows to spawn a new window, and drag them between instances of the browser.
  • Browser history is a swish-looking Cover Flow effect like the one that Mac/iPod users will be familiar with. This new scheme means that you are searching for sites that you've visited visually.
  • Safari 4 is fast - wickedly fast. Side-by-side with Google Chrome the two feel about equal, but in the testing I've carried out, Safari 4 has a slight edge over Chrome (more on this in a moment).
  • Unlike every other browser that incorporates "Porn Mode" private browsing, there's no visual on-screen indication when you run Safari 4 in private mode other than a check-mark besides the option in the drop-down menu. This offers the most secretive private browsing mode of any of the new line-up of browsers.
  • Apple has taken the time to list 150 features present in the new browser. Some are cool, some are, well, a bit blah.

Few few quick benchmark results ...

  • Safari 4 beta scores a perfect 100 on the ACID 3 test.
  • Safari 4 beta aces both the SunSpider JavaScript and V8 benchmark test. It's now officially the fastest browser.

Interested in taking the beata for a spin? Download it from here.

Topics: Browser, Apple, Google, Operating Systems

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  • Nice!

    I shall give it a go.
    Sleeper Service
  • Why not!

    Seems stable enough ... and it uninstalls, just in case!
    Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • It just a stripped down browser

      There nothing too it,where all the plug ins,tool bars and everything else browsers have? Its fast no dough,but its just a stripped down browser,ya know like Foxfire once was. Its a beta i know,but once the adding start to get added it will slow down just as everything does.
      The fatter it gets the slower it will become. So I'm really not impressed by its speed,whats on it to slow it down?
      • Safari has plug-ins...

        Safari has plug-ins, but they're not compatible with Firefox of Explorer.

        I thank the gods every day that it [i]doesn't[/i] have toolbars.
  • Quick note:

    The tab behavior you describe is the same as in Safari 3.2.1.

    Personally, I don't like the tabs on top; there's too much
    separation between the window and the tab. The cover flow
    worked well and quickly on my G5, so I'm sure it'll be fine on
    newer machines. Not being a programmer, I wonder if this is
    Apple's programmers using CoreAnimation. If so, how is it
    done in Windows?
    • I don't recall being able to ...

      ... drag tabs out of the browser in Safari 3.2.x
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • I am unable to do so on my Macintosh.

        OS X 10.4.11
        • Don't know if it makes a difference..

          but I'm using 10.5.6.
      • You have to drag the tab...

        down, not to the side. You can drag it off the current window to open a
        new one, or to an existing one to add the tab there.

        Works just fine in both my mini and MacBook with Safari 3.2.1.
      • It all sounds terribly unintuitive

        If you need an instruction manual to figure out
        the features then they really aren't features at
        all. I heard that somewhere once. ;)
        • If you actually tried it..

          you'd see that it makes sense. Dragging the tab sideways reorders the
          tabs. Dragging it out of the tab 'bar' creates a new window, which is
          made even more obvious by the tab turning into a small preview pane of
          the tab's page.

          Is it intuitive? I don't know. I've never needed to move tabs around.
  • RE: Safari 4 - This is one fast browser!

    I've tried to like Safari in my Mac, really? but I just can't take the constants crashes I have over and over. Camino is my main browser, fast and super stable. Firefox is my second browser. Stability more than speed is my deal breaker here, and Safari have not been the best in my experience.
    • Recommend trying Version 4

      After using version 4 even a little while, it seems much better than
      previous versions. I suggest that everyone give it a spin to see if you

  • Incorporates V8?

    Judging by the similarity in V8 benchmark scores between Safari and Chrome, it seems sort of like Safari is using V8... are they?
    • It's more likely it's using a V-12.

      I doubt very much also it's a resource hog, like the actual V-12 engines.
  • First impression

    I'm not impressed with Apple's installer. On Windows 7 it gave me 2 UAC prompts. This is either terrible, lazy programming by Apple or, more likely, [b]was done on purpose[/b] to make Windows look bad. There is [b]no[/b] technical reason why [b]any[/b] installer must be written in a way that prompts for privilege escalation more than once. Windows provides all the tools required to make any installer only prompt once.

    It appears that Apple is tired of all the other people writing installers that only prompt once and so need to make lousy installers themselves to justify their Mac vs PC ads.
    • It's YOUR fault

      Windows Requirements
      Any PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista
      500-MHz Pentium-class processor or better
      256MB of RAM
      Top Sites and Cover Flow require a compatible
      DirectX 9.0 video card with 64MB of video RAM.

      4 Beta is not supposed to run on Windows 7 Beta.
      • Works fine

        on Win 7 beta. The only reason Win7 is not included in the requirements is that it is still beta itself. That does not mean it won't work.
    • Actually ...

      ... I'm pretty sure the installer gave me two UAC prompts on Vista too ...
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • Did you

      uncheck Bonjour before installing? If not, then that is why you got two prompts instead of one.