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Author Topic: Comparison of popular browsers  (Read 7979 times)

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Dilbert

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    Comparison of popular browsers
    « on: February 11, 2007, 06:24:26 PM »
    Note: This is a personal opinion FAQ. Although none of the opinions I post will be without evidence of some kind, they still are just what I say they are -- educated opinions. Please don't PM me with all the reasons I'm wrong with XYZ browser just because ABC is not how you see it.

    Comparison of popular browsers

    There are a number of browsers out there to view the Web. Internet Explorer is one everyone has probably heard of. FireFox, Netscape and Opera are a few other frequently used browsers. But which one is the best? The answer all unbiased articles I've seen come up with is "all have their strengths and weaknesses". So, I am going to compare these popular browsers on the following scales:

    • Ease of installation
    • Browsing
    • Features
    • Customization
    • Security
    • System Requirements
    Each section will have a score as follows:

    3: The browser is excellent in this category. Doing what needs to be done is a breeze, without any complications.
    2: The browser had some trouble, but only minor problems, or the browser is "average" meaning that it is good, but not extraordinary.
    1: The browser had major problems in its functionality.

    Each browser will have a post to itself. Without further ado, let's begin:

    Internet Explorer

    Ease of Installation: 3 - but really, what can you expect out of a browser that is permanently on your computer? (And I do mean permanently - it came with your PC and it's going to stay.) IE6 ships with most computers, but IE7 will soon do the same if it isn't already, and it can be downloaded from the MS website.

    Browsing: 1 - Yeah, I'm not being very scientific with this test. But the overall theme I noticed with IE is slow. It takes forever to deliver the same content as another browser. Makes one wonder what IE is doing that takes so long.

    Features: 1 - IE has no real "features" to speak of - it's a basic browser.

    Customization: 2 - IE's Options have fairly good options, but nothing spectacular - it's all the usual, security, links, fonts, that sort of thing.

    Security: 1 - OK, Internet Explorer deserves a 0 in this respect, but in the interest of keeping true to my scoring I'll give it a generous 1. Microsoft has released patches since IE1, and has patched IE6, and IE7, ad infinitum. Let's face it, security sucks for IE.

    System Requirements: 3 - IE's main bonus is that it can run on almost anything. You need no more than 64 MB to run IE7 on WinXP SP2, a 233 MHz processor, and a monitor with at least 256 colors. (For the record, 32-bit is much more than 256 color.)

    Overall: 11 (18 possible)

    Mozilla Firefox

    Ease of installation: 3 - Downloading and installing was a breeze. At 5.7 MB, the install for Firefox 2 was no problem, and the install wasn't any harder. Just what we need.

    Browsing: 3 - Pages load quickly and efficiently with Firefox. There's really not much more to say.

    Features: 2 - There's a ton of really cool features for Firefox. Unfortunately, most of them are in the form of extensions, so it's a little bit of a pain to get them. However, features include the ability to block any desired image (ads begone), the ability to upload to ImageShack or Photobucket with ease, or even the ability to render a page with IE rendering (finally, we can update Windows with Firefox).

    Customization: 3 - Between extensions, themes and the ability to customize all of them, there's no reason this shouldn't get a perfect 3. Copies of Firefox can be like snowflakes - no two alike - making it one of the most versatile browsers I've seen.

    Security: 3 - Firefox is open-source, meaning that it's code is available to the general public. While that seems unsafe, it actually means that the security-hole-finding team is millions, not hundreds. Security flaws are found quickly and before they cause a mess. Security is, in fact, tantamount. Not only this, but Firefox is capable of blocking all ActiveX invasions by simply not allowing it. ActiveX will not work on Firefox, unless you are using IE Tab or another IE-rendering extension.

    System Requirements: 3 - Firefox requires more than Internet Explorer, but not much. For Windows, Mozilla recommends a 500 MHz processor or better, 256 MB of memory, and 100 MB of free space. A scant requirement for such a browser.

    Overall: 17/18

    Netscape

    Ease of installation: 2 - The setup file was rather large, a good 18.31 MB. The screen where I had to change radio buttons and remove checkboxes was mildly tedious, but not overly annoying.

    Browsing: 2 - Netscape uses either Firefox or IE rendering, depending on preferences. However, it seems to take longer than usual in the Firefox Rendering, and equally slow in IE rendering.

    Features: 2 - Netscape has some nice features, but I seemed "flooded" with them. Toolbars, popups and a convoluted menu system. All my bookmarks and settings were automatically imported from Firefox without a hitch at my request - a nice touch. Even my home pages remained intact.

    Customization: 2 - Things scoring "2" seems to be a common theme with this browser. Again, I'm inundated with hordes of options. I could spend days tweaking all my settings the way I like them. To make it more interesting, they're organized WinXP Control Panel style - organized into groups. No way to make this a standard view, though, which gives Microsoft the one-up on Netscape. I like the options - there's just too d**n many.

    Security: 3 - I will say I like Netscape's popup blocker, spyware protection, and ID theft protection. It seems to work well together to do a decent job of assisting in your PC's protection. But don't uninstall your AntiVirus or Firewall yet - it's an assist to it, not a replacement.

    System Requirements: 2 - It's better than any other so far on hard disk requirements; it needs only 35 MB to run stably. But it wants more memory (256 MB) and a faster processor (1 GHz recommended!).

    Comment: Netscape seems to be a mish-mash of IE and Firefox. If that's all it really is, I recommend the real thing. It's either IE or FF in a new shell; your choice.

    Overall: 13/18

    Opera

    Ease of installation: 3 - The setup file was extremely small (4.7 MB for Windows!), making it the smallest browser I ever downloaded. Install was a breeze.

    Browsing: 2 - Pages load fairly fast, bot not very. It has this interesting habit of moving objects around as the page loads. Also, much to my annoyance, alt+s doesn't work in Opera.

    Features: 3 - Adblock, arguably the most popular extension in Firefox, is built in Opera 9. I find this very impressive. I also like the "trash can" which lets you reopen tabs that you closed. This is in Firefox, but not so obviously as in Opera. Overall it's great.

    Customization: 2 - It's got everything you need, without the inundation of Netscape, but it's nothing special.

    Security: 2 - Great popup blocker, but nothing else. Keep your firewall.

    System Requirements: 3 - Opera doesn't need much; only 50 MB of free space, 64 MB of memory, and at least a Pentium II. No problems there.

    Overall: 15/18

    The Browsers, in order of score:

    Firefox: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/
    Opera: http://www.opera.com/
    Netscape: http://browser.netscape.com/
    Internet Explorer: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/default.mspx

    A note to Mac/Linux users

    I have not compared Mac vs. Windows versions, Linux vs. Windows, Linux vs. Mac, or the Mac or Linux-only browsers, like Konqueror or Safari. I have done this merely because the vast majority of people use Windows, and these are the most popular versions. (Also, I don't have access to a Mac or a Linux box at the moment) Sorry.
    « Last Edit: April 03, 2007, 04:39:35 PM by Computer Hope Admin »
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