IE8 is due to hit the internet at 3am tomorrow morning (Australian time), but Microsoft's newest browser will remain a laggard as the other popular browsers continue to increase their functionality.
If you want a browser with awesome page load times and zero rendering, I suggest you use Lynx (or even cURL if you're truly hardcore).
: Full test not conducted due to lack of microphone; however, IE failed to render the test properly.
In the vast majority of cases, Internet Explorer failed the demo because it does not support Canvas. I'm sure that if I were to install Mozilla's Canvas plug-in for IE the results would be better — but if Internet Explorer is to be a leading browser, it should come with Canvas support and not expect users to install plug-ins for HTML5 elements.
As more and more web applications like Bespin appear that need Canvas support, one could be forgiven for seeing the faint beginnings of a return to the bad old days of "Best viewed in xxx browser".
IE is simply eating a truckload of dust, and that is not interesting.
Microsoft is too smart and savvy to let something as terrible as that return to web pages, but IE8 is in danger of being forgotten before it has even left the starting blocks. All the hype is currently surrounding the open source browsers and Opera for one very good reason: they are pushing the envelope and bringing the web new functionality. IE is simply eating a truckload of dust, and that is not interesting.
A postscript note on general performance: as these were tests built for Chrome and constantly nagged me to install that browser, it's no surprise to learn that Chrome was the quickest at these. But second place was always a toss-up between Safari and, surprisingly, Opera. When the demo worked properly, Opera often "felt" as quick as Chrome — of course, this is all conjecture without any formal stats.
Third place in performance was typically Firefox, with IE always bringing up the rear.