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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Which Browser is Best? Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Internet Explorer |

Which Browser is Best? Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Internet Explorer |

It's getting harder and harder to update this article—and that's a good thing for everyone but me, because it means that today's Windows Web browser choices are fast, secure, compliant with new Web standards. The products most people are likely to have heard of—Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox also sport trim, clear interfaces.
But each browser has its own appeal and unique features. Microsoft Internet Explorer excels at graphics hardware acceleration, as you'll see in the benchmark results in the reviews linked below. It's also the only 64-bit program of the lot, and the only one that includes powerful Tracking Protection against site code that tracks your browsing activity.
Google's Chrome exceeds other browsers in cutting-edge technologies like voice response and instant page loading for search. Firefox is known for its extensions that let you customize the browser beyond what's possible in the others. Other innovations include its clever Panorama bookmark tool and a Social API that makes it easy to integrate a social site into the browser.
A couple of lesser-known players—Opera and Maxthon—also have a lot to offer. Opera has been around since the early days of the Web, and it is now distinguished for two things. First is its Speed Dial start page of tile links. This page not only gives easy access to frequently used sites, but it can also even display live-updated content from said sites. The second is its Off-Road mode, which reduces webpage data by sending it compressed from Opera's cache servers. This can save you money on metered data connections.
Finally, and perhaps most extra-jammed of all, is the least-known of our browser candidates—Maxthon. A slew of tools like media download, screen capture, and integrated cloud services are just of few of this China-made browser's goodies. And it includes both Internet Explorer's and Webkit's page-rendering engines for extra compatibility. On top of all that it gets top grades of the number HTML5 features supported and does very respectably on speed tests.
Despite how excellent these browsers have gotten, website consumption is such a complex matter these days that every one of them will encounter particular sites that won't display correctly. A show of hands if you've seen Chrome's Aw Snap! page recently or gotten a message saying your brand-new IE11 is "out of date." Sometimes it's simply a matter of the site testing for particular browsers and refusing to let you in if your version and product don't fit their preset conditions—even if the site would work perfectly well in the browser. For these reasons, it's always a good idea to have more than one browser installed.
So while no one browser will be perfect for all your Web needs, you still have several excellent choices. It's just a matter of deciding what's most important to you. Dig into the detailed reviews linked below for plenty of help in making that decision. Note that these are Windows browers; Safari, which is no longer developed for Windows, is not included.

Chrome 33

Chrome's speed and minimalist design have deservedly attracted a devoted group of users to Google's browser. Leading HTML5 support means it will be ready for the future, application-like Web. Hardware acceleration adds even more speed, and though Google has implemented Do Not Track privacy protection (set to off by default), it's probably not the best choice for privacy mavens. Read the full review ››

Firefox 27

Firefox versions keep coming at a fast clip, now that Mozilla hews to a Chrome-like rapid release schedule. These frequent versions haven't brought the kind of earth-shattering changes we used to see in new full-number Firefox updates, but the development teams have tackled issues of importance to a lot of Web users—startup time, memory use, speed, and of course security. This lean, fast, customizable browser can hold its own against any competitor, and it offers graphics hardware acceleration, good HTML5 support, and the unique Panorama system for organizing lots of tabs. Read the full review ››

Internet Explorer 11 (IE11)

Now available for Windows 7 as well as for Windows 8 (but not for Vista or XP), Microsoft's latest browser is faster, trimmer, far more compliant with HTML5—a major improvement over its predecessor. It even now supports WebGL and SPDY, but not WebRTC. IE brings some unique capabilities like tab-pinning, leading hardware acceleration. Its excellent privacy tools include Do Not Track enabled by default and the more-powerful Tracking Protection feature.
Read the full review ››

Maxthon 4.2

Recently re-dubbed a "Cloud Browser," thanks to its extensive online syncing and storage service, Maxthon is the app in this roundup known and used by the fewest people. But it offers among the most in tools, and surprisingly good performance and HTML5 support. If the idea of being able to take a screen capture of a webpage, download video, or switch to a dark view for night viewing appeals to you, give Maxthon a download. Site compatibility is guaranteed, since Maxthon uses both Chrome and IE's webpage rendering engines. The latest version even adds hardware acceleration. Read the full review ››

Opera 20

Like the other current browsers, Opera is fast, compliant with HTML5, and spare of interface. Long an innovator, recently it's added support for HTML5 getUserMedia, which lets webpages access your webcam (with your permission, of course). Opera's Off-road mode speeds up the Web on slow connections through caching. It's dropped a few of its distinguishing plusses like built-in BitTorrent and email clients, and now defers to Chrome code for its page rendering—which does mean it's fast and supportive of new standards. Read the full review ››

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