Apple Safari 3 review

With its usual hype and bluster, Apple has made a beta of its staple Mac web browser, Safari, available for Windows users for the first time.

Apple Safari 3 review

Apple makes a big fuss about the security of Safari, with a “designed to be secure from day one” claim. Unfortunately, within hours of the beta being made publicly available, Windows security researchers were able to find multiple vulnerabilities, including Denial-of-Service and remote code-execution bugs.

But perhaps it could be more stable? Afraid not: we experienced several crashes during testing. Okay, so this is a beta, but unlike the Firefox-derived Netscape Navigator 9 beta (which didn’t crash or hang once) there’s no ability to restore a previous browser session.

There’s nothing to get excited about when it comes to features, either. The built-in pop-up blocking is now par for the web browser course, as is the tabbed browsing and RSS-reading capability. The ability to resize textboxes embedded in the web page is nice, but offset by the fact that Safari uses OS X font anti-aliasing, resulting in a distinctly fuzzy text-reading experience in Windows when compared to IE7’s ClearType.

Another annoying legacy from Safari’s OS X origins is its inability to resize the browser window from anywhere but the bottom-right corner and, defying Windows convention, by not using to cycle through tabs.

So what does Safari have going for it? The answer is speed, and lots of it. Timing how long it took the PC Pro homepage to load from a newly fired up and cache-emptied browser, IE7 was predictably slow at 7.09 seconds; Firefox, 5.25 seconds; but Safari won out on 4.06 seconds. What Apple won’t be so bullish about is the system resource usage. It clocked in at a memory-hogging 38,372KB compared to 34,792KB for IE7 and 25,772KB for Firefox displaying the same web page.

Ultimately, this additional memory load, the interface inconsistencies, stability issues and potential security problems make Safari’s promising speed hike merely incidental.

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