Before you go all “Oh no! Not another review on the latest browsers!” on me, I state that I have been on the net and looked at reviews and comparisons of the latest browsers, and I am somewhat dissatisfied.
There are quite a few comparisons of IE9 vs FF and Chrome, but most of them seem to be from October 2010, using an RC instead of the final release, including Opera, or excluding one of these three browsers I’m reviewing.
Let me state the purpose of this post bluntly: This is not a review, nor am I meddling with V8 or Acid3 tests, we all know you can use Google to find the results straight away. I want to give my personal perspective on how well the browsers perform in real-life tasks.
After using all three browsers for about a week and a half, each one with all my regular tabs open (7 permanent, 1-7 additional), this is what I have found thus far:
Chrome 10: Fast as always, speedy start-up, no crashes in the time period (except for Flash plugin, twice). Chrome supposedly integrated GPU acceleration since build 7, so I ran the IE Fish Tank test made by Microsoft, and it reports approx. 20FPS, which is low, however, the animation looked OK to me anyway. RAM used was quite high, but performance did not drop even when I had about 14-15 tabs open (including Youtube, Grooveshark, Gmail, Docs, Hootsuite, amongst other heavy web applications). My rating: 9/10 for day-to-day use, 6/10 for animation-loaded sites.
Firefox 4: Sleek new interface, speedy when few tabs are loaded, sluggish when using over 10 tabs (specially in Google Calendar), no crashes in time period, GPU integration seems good, Fishtank’s average FPS was just below the maximum (over 50FPS) which means Firefox has done a great job integrating GPU acceleration into the browser. RAM was lower than Chrome, but performance did drop when I opened many tabs. My rating: 7/10 for day-to-day use, 9/10 for animation-loaded sites.
Internet Explorer 9: Installation time for Windows 7 64-bit version was longer than it’s counterparts (approx. 7+ minutes including necessary updates) and it asked me for a bloody Windows restart (typical of Microsoft). The browser that claims “fast is now beautiful” is actually quite fast to start up, but I’d leave “beautiful” as a perspective issue, though I must say it looks much better than IE6, 7 and 8 combined. Opening tabs is much faster than it’s predecesors. I don’t like the fact you can’t “pin” tabs like you can in FF and Chrome. GPU acceleration has given this browser a big boost in overall speed. When you open a new tab it displays useful data, similar to Chrome, which Firefox does not display. Google Calendar runs faster than in Firefox, but a bit slower than in Chrome. The overall speed remains good even with 10+ tabs open. I don’t like the feature it has of opening tabs next to the address bar by default, though that can be changed, obviously. I prefer the all-in-one bar to the dual-bar in Firefox. RAM usage was significantly lower than in Firefox, by about 40%. I didn’t like the fact that it didn’t ask me which search engine it should use by default. Fishtank’s FPS were even higher than in Firefox. My rating: 8/10 for day-to-day use, 10/10 for animation-loaded sites.
As a brief summary, my ratings are as follows: Chrome > IE9 > Firefox 4 > Firefox 3 > Firefox 2 > Firefox 1 > All other versions of IE
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