I don’t normally recommend Mac users try beta software. The risks are obvious. Firefox version 1.5 beta is a risk. A very, very fast risk.
Compared to Safari or OmniWeb or Opera, Firefox is ‘thinking different.’ Think fast.
First, let me repeat myself. Firefox 1.5 beta is beta software. That means, in addition to being free, Firefox 1.5 could still contain bugs which may cause crashes and system instability.
That said, I haven’t encountered either yet. That’s a good sign considering this is version 1.0 of the beta (not to mention a few ‘alpha’ versions).
So, when Firefox 1.5 beta was released by Mozilla yesterday, I downloaded it and gave it a spin.
Maybe I should say, ‘Firefox gave my head a spin.’ The first thing I noticed was the speed.
That’s not to say that Mac browsers are slow. Safari has probably never been faster. OmniWeb is even faster than Safari (your mileage may vary). A recent flirtation with the ‘free registration version’ of the popular Opera browser indicated that even more speed (defined as, ‘how quickly pages load, and reload when clicking the forward and back buttons’) is possible.
The very first thing I noticed about this beta version of Firefox is how quickly pages snapped to the screen. Fast. Notably faster than Safari.
My connection to the internet is Time-Warner’s Roadrunner. They bill it as the fastest Internet connection in town. It’s not.
At least, Roadrunner is not terribly fast in the evening when everyone and their brother is using it.
I emptied the cache on Safari and hit five or six sites. Sweet. Safari’s really matured and is pleasant to use.
Then, I did the same with OmniWeb. Tera is right. OmniWeb may be the best browser ever. Fast. Clean. Plenty of features.
Firefox has always been my ‘Windows only’ alternative. On the Mac version, Firefox just looks too much like the Windows version.
Then I tried the beta version of Firefox. “Hmmm. That was fast. Did everyone just quit using Roadrunner while I was testing Firefox?”
Not likely. That means Firefox is doing something different because pages both loaded faster, and navigated back and forth much faster.
Mozilla says there’s a bucket of improvements in Firefox 1.5. Automated updates. Drag and drop reordering for browser tabs, which, by the way, look much nicer.
There’s also improvements in popup ad blocking, and a nice new ‘privacy feature’ which allows you to clear private data from Firefox.
Answers.com is now a search choice in the tool bar, along with Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay.
Those are all nice little touches, but want I usually want in a browser is speed, speed, more speed.
Oh, stability, accurate page rendering, and stability. Not necessarily in that order.
What I noticed was the speed. Again, your mileage may vary. Favorite browsers a personal decision. I like Safari. I love OmniWeb. I was pleasantly surprised by Opera.
I’m very, very impressed with this version of Firefox.
Could using a browser on the Mac get any better than the choices we have these days?