Safari 4 - This is one fast browser!

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.