Mac browser choices are abundant these days. No single browser can be dubbed “best” because everyone’s criteria will differ.
Here’s my good, bad, and ugly look at Mac browsers running on Mac OS X. It’s a pretty site. The browsers are not pretty. The choices are pretty good.
For Mac360 readers, Safari remains the browser of choice with slightly less than 50-percent of our readers choosing Apple’s default standard bearer.
Safari is clean and light; if you like the aging brushed aluminum look and limited feature set. It’s fast, relatively stable, and may render web pages better than any browser, Mac or Windows.
Next up is Firefox. Mac and Windows users of Firefox comprise just under 30-percent of Mac360’s readers. Windows Internet Explorer gets almost 20-percent of our reader base, which doesn’t leave much for the remaining browsers on our list.
Camino usage has been growing and the Mac-like version of Firefox now tops 3-percent usage among our readers. Opera, OmniWeb, iCab, and others all show as lower than 3-percent readership for Mac360.
Clearly, Mac users prefer Safari and Firefox, in that order. Windows users prefer Internet Explorer and Firefox, with the latter’s numbers continuing to grow.
Interestingly, of Mac Safari users visiting Mac360, usage of the most recent version is about 50-50 between PPC Macs and Intel Macs, though the latter’s total numbers are lower.
Even more clear is that Mac users prefer variety in browser choices. That variety is focused on Safari and Firefox. Ditto for Windows users; MSIE and Firefox dominate.
Why? Why are there about a dozen browsers, Mac and Windows, and yet heavy usage is confined to the most popular default browsers on each platform, and Firefox?
That issue probably has two answers. The first is “default.” Safari and MSIE are default browsers for Mac and Windows, so each garners the larger share of the average user.
Firefox, on the other hand, Mac and Windows, has dozens of extensions which add functionality well beyond that of mere mortal browsers. If you want to customize the function and look of your browser, Firefox is king.
I’m using version 7.x of Internet Explorer at work and find it to be quite capable, quick, and with most of the features the average Windows user will need.
It’s arguable that Firefox is more secure, but certainly has more features via the extensions. Firefox is priced right, too. Free, Mac or Windows.
Microsoft’s browser also suffers from the backlash of hate that exists among many Windows users who’ve heard of the security issues, or simply want a choice beyond that of the Borg-like browser maker. Firefox isn’t a fashion statement.
For clean and simple, Camino is my choice. If I had to ditch Safari but could keep Camino, I’d be fine. Camino is a pretty Firefox without the extensions and lengthy list of features—just like Safari.
RSS? Safari is decent, Firefox is OK, Camino can’t really spell RSS, but I use NetNewsWire anyway.
Opera? Puhleeze. What makes the Mac and applications on OS X so good is the seamless way everything works without much hassle. Opera uses hassle as a feature. Page rendering is slower, memory usage is higher, and intuitive interface is non-existent.
OmniWeb? Please. OmniWeb is what a Mac browser is when it’s designed by people who use Macs every day. The feature list is lengthy but doesn’t get in your way. Preferences? Be prepared to devote some time to figuring them out. There are plenty.
The snap-back feature in OmniWeb works great, as does the built-in spell checker; perfect for forms and editing online, which is what we do on Mac360.
Tabs are little thumbnails of the web page stuck in a drawer to the side of OmniWeb. That’s not good or bad, just different and takes getting used to.
The only, only major issues I really have with OmniWeb is the $15 price tag. It’s not much, but if you truly love how Mac OS X applications work, you’ll find it money well spent.
In the end, on my Mac I’m using Safari and OmniWeb about equally, Firefox when specific features (extensions) are needed, and nothing else. For Windows, it’s MSIE for basics, and Firefox when specific features are needed.
What’s your poison and why? Are you using more than one browser? Why? How do you keep bookmarks in sync?