I’m not a big fan of Internet Explorer. Like most Windows users, I do have it on my machine and use it on occasion (mostly to update Windows and Windows related applications… like Internet Explorer). I actually purchased Netscape Navigator back in the early days of surfing the net. I’ve tried Lynx and Opera over the years. My web browser of choice these days is Firefox, but I am always interested in other alternatives. When I came across Safari for the PC a few weeks ago, I got a bit excited. I have not drunk deep from Apple’s well of Kool-Aid, but I admit their software offerings tend to hit pretty close to the mark when it comes to speed and usability.
I loaded up Safari and ran it through my typical on-line paces. It loads up with the typical grey metal look of iTunes. Everything looks thicker on Safari due to its font smoothing. It took a little getting used to, but it does make things more readable. If there are fields to fill out on the web page, the one in focus has a bit of a “glow” to show you where you’re at. As a web page loads, the title bar fills with color. I missed that from my Netscape days.
My major dissatisfaction with Firefox is its speed, or rather lack thereof. On my Pentium III, it would take a good minute for Firefox to load up. It’s not as bad on my “newer” five year old machine, but I can still say “Mississippi” a dozen times or more before my home page appears. Internet Explorer is quicker (when it doesn’t lock up).
After all of Apple’s claims of speed, I was surprised to find Safari was the slowest of the bunch. It has tabs like almost all browsers these days. However, pages that would automatically create new tabs in Firefox or Internet Explorer seem to launch new instances of Safari. Maybe there’s a setting somewhere that I haven’t found, but I feel this should be default behavior. Another issue is bookmark management. I don’t ask for much, but I do like to sort my bookmarks in alphabetical order. However, I could not figure out how to do it. I finally gave up and looked on-line for help. To my surprise, the reason I couldn’t find the function in Safari was because it didn’t exist.
On too many levels, Safari felt like a step backwards. It didn’t compare well to Internet Explorer 7 and – once I found out you could smooth your fonts in Firefox – that pretty much sealed the deal. Safari got uninstalled.