Having spent a day with the beta for Apple’s much-ballyhooed Safari browser for Windows XP, I’m ready to pronounce it the fastest browser for XP that I’ve used on a regular basis. On the other hand, it also is riddled with the kinds of bizarre bugs only a public beta could expose.
Sometimes, it’s both the fastest and the stupidest browser on all of Windows. If you’re on the fence, click through to hear whether your working style is ready for this not-quite-ready-for-prime-time browser contender while stranded in the Windows world.
Since July, I have had to run a fairly old Thinkpad T41 at work. The loss of my browser of choice, Camino, has been the hardest adjustment, other than the control key being in the wrong place and no cmd key.
I’ve mainly used Firefox over the last 11 months, but it’s an eccentric application, given to occasional memory leaks and performance slowdowns I struggle to explain. And Internet Explorer is a dog, no matter what version I pull up. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to bring some more of Apple’s subversive software onto my work machine.
And I was impressed. Safari blazes on my machine, easily topping the best I’ve seen from Firefox or IE7. Startup time is pretty dreadful (30 seconds or so), but pages render faster. Blogging and message board sites especially seem snappier than I’ve ever experienced. Incredibly fast refresh rates, the works.
But speed isn’t necessarily a measure of quality. Specifically, Windows Safari sometimes decides to “smooth” the text on a given page into an unrecognizable black line — no text. If, for example, you visit my other blog, you’ll note that all of the headlines are just plain missing. At Facebook, a friend request turned into a page full of incoherent squiggles.
I’ve never seen pages render so improperly in my life. It was like visiting an alternate 1995 in Netscape Navigator 1.1 where people devoted web pages to their favorite horizontal lines instead of to puppies.
Other than that, I’ve had no crashes and no other problems. I’ll probably switch back to Firefox until I can read every web page I visit, but they have to get that right by the time they’re out of beta, right?