Mac Safari Web Browser: Now for Windows

Written by:  • Edited by: Tricia Goss
Updated Jan 20, 2010
• Related Guides: Safari | Web Browser | Internet Explorer

There is much discussion regarding which is better - Internet Explorer, Firefox or Opera? But nobody talks about Mac's Web Browser, Safari which is now available for Windows. So we answer the obvious question, does Safari deserve recognition as one of the best Web Browsers on the PC Platform?

Review

Since the launch of Firefox around three years ago, we've seen a renewed battle of the web browsers, also involving Internet Explorer and Opera. However, what seems to have flown under the radar has been the Windows version of Safari, developed by Macintosh.Mac's browser makes a pretty big boast, claiming to load pages up to 1.9 times quicker than Internet Explorer, and 1.7 times faster than Firefox. It even states it loads Javascript up to 6 times quicker than Internet Explorer, and up to 4 times faster than Firefox. Those are impressive numbers.

One thing that Mac is really pressing with their Safari browser is their clean look. No fancy template designs, no flashy menus, just functionality. You'll notice by looking at the screen shots that the appearance is rather dull, but they say that they want you to focus on the website, not the browser. This is done very effectively, as instead of keeping the status bar of a web page at the bottom, the loading progress of a web page is now on top where the URL address is. The bottom of the window now contains nothing by default; you can enable a status bar if you wish, but there's probably no need for it.The claim that it loads fast is accurate; web pages load incredibly quickly. However, at times certain pages don't load correctly. This is noticeable particularly when browsing web forums. Buttons and icons don't load where they would in other browsers, and you're just left with a gap. Fortunately, there's an option where you can report bugs to Mac, and it'll take a screen shot of the page you're viewing. While this doesn't guarantee that it'll be fixed for the next version, at least the option is there.

A lot of users are worried about switching web browsers, let alone trying them out, because they're afraid that they'll lose all of their collected bookmarks. This is not the case, as Safari automatically imports bookmarks from Internet Explorer and Firefox. Adding new bookmarks is simple. You can click and drag to the bookmark bar underneath the web address bar, or you can choose a more specific location. The tabbed browsing works along the same lines. If you have a tab that you want opened in a new window, all you need to do is click and drag it away from its position with the other tabs.

Older machines may have a bit of hard time with Safari. Although it loads pages quickly, the program itself takes time to load. On top of that, it does take up quite a bit of resources. It requires about 55MB of hard drive space, which isn't bad, but that's considerably more than the 26MB that Firefox requires. Also, like early versions of Firefox, Safari does tend to leak memory after extended use. What that means is that it tends up using more and more RAM the longer the program is loaded, which will result in your machine slowing down considerably. At times I found the web browser using more than 100MB of my computer's RAM. That's a lot of memory for a web browser. The recommendation is to empty the cache once every so often, but even at that point, it does tend to eat up memory. Hopefully, Mac will have this problem fixed for later versions of the browser.

Overall, Safari does have a few bugs to work out, but since it's fairly new to Windows these mistakes are understandable. It does load web pages quickly, and it is a clean look. However, whether users are willing to sacrifice resources and hard drive space for it is yet to be seen. Regardless, if I was to compare, do I find Safari better than Internet Explorer? Definitely. Is it better than Firefox? No, at least not yet. Nonetheless, even if you have no interest in replacing any web browser for Safari, I do recommend at least trying it out.Overall: 3.5/5Related Reading:

Author's Note

Take note that the version of Safari that was being reviewed in this article is version 3.0 for Windows. I have not really gone as in depth with future releases of Safari, but ultimately, I find its demand on resources still to be a bit high. If there are any future releases that manage to really resolve these resource issues, I will certainly provide a more detailed re-write of it. But until then, my overall perceptions of Safari for Windows remain the same.

Images

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