Reviews,  Tech

[Review] Safari for Windows

Apple released their Safari 3 Public Beta for Windows early this morning after the launching of Leopard – the new Mac OS. According to the website, Safari is “the fastest web browser on any platform, Safari loads pages up to 2 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2.”

Anyway, here’s my review about Safari after bringing it for a test run. My PC is running on Pentium 4 2.8gHz, 512MB ram, NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440 with AGP8X and Windows XP Home Edition SP2. I currently use (mainly) Firefox 2.0.04 , Opera 9.02 and Internet Explorer 7.

I downloaded Safari from theĀ Safari Download Site (without Quicktime) and it only takes a few minutes to download and install. The first thing that I liked about Safari was that from the moment i fired it up after installing (no need to restart) it automatically imported all my bookmarks from Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox (FF). Not only that, it also imported all my history.

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Interface Design
As you can see, it is similar to all the other Mac applications like iTunes – very sleek and minimalistic. It has the usual File | Edit | View | History | Bookmarks | Window | Help. The arrow buttons < > are of course “Back” and “Next”. The next button is the Reload or Cancel [X] buttons. After that is the “Report bug” button which looks like a bug (Duh!) then the address bar and search bar. In the next line is the bookmarks bar which will open the bookmarks organizer (the book button). There are no toolbars or status bars at the bottom of the browser – which gives a bigger viewing window.

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Bookmarks
After clicking the book button, this window opens (same window). On the left is all the folders. The last two folders are Imported IE Favourites and Imported Firefox/Mozilla Favourites. Like I said earlier, this was automatically imported, eliminating the need for the user to make extra clicks.

Another feature in Safari is the inbuilt RSS Reader, you can add RSS Feeds as bookmarks and get updates without having to login to website such as Google Reader or Bloglines.

Merge Windows
One of my favourite feature in Safari is the ability to merge windows. Lets say you open a few windows with different sites and different tabs. For example like below…

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Then just click on WINDOW and click Merge All Windows like so…

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Then you will see all your windows merged into one window with multiple tabs. Cool ain’t it?

Downloading

When you download something, it appears in a small pop up window which lists down all the downloads – similar to FF. IE opened individual pop up windows which can be messy. But I prefer Opera’s method which opened downloads in a tab.

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Since we’re on this window, I want to comment on Uploading stuff. As you can see from the picture, this is my friendster Upload Photos page. In other browsers, you will see a blank box then a [Browse] button to select the file which will then show the full address. I find that the Safari design is neater and looks nicer, plus it instantly shows the filename and type instead of something long like C:/Documents and Settings/My photos/Me/DSC00563.jpg

Surfing the web
I find that Safari does open websites faster than the other 3 browsers I’ve used. Not only that, there are hardly any differences in the designs of websites that we can sometimes find when opening websites in different browsers (such as FF vs IE).

Safari has various features like Password saving – similar to FF. It also has a form of security to ensure that you are at the correct site. Im not really sure what this is called but its something like certificate authentication (i think).

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One special feature of Safari is that you can set it to Private Browsing (under Edit). In this mode, webpages are not added to the history, items are automatically removed from the Downloads window, information isnt save for AutoFill (for names and passwords) and searches are not added to the pop-up menu in the Google search box. Great for browsing for porn when you’re sharing computers.

Cons

  • I dont like how you cant use the mouse middle button to click on a link to open it in a new tab. The shortcut in Safari is Ctrl+right click.
  • The security features i mentioned earlier is good, but i find it annoying that it doesnt even recognize www.google.com and I have to keep on clicking continue every time i click on a new Google related link (which includes Gmail and Blogger).
  • Another thing that bugs me is that in FF and IE, when you mouse over a link, it shows the URL to that link at the bottom of the browser so you know where it points to BEFORE clicking on it.
  • [Edited] It also uses up quite a lot of memory. Of course FF does that too, but at least you can tweak it.

Conclusion
Safari really does have lots of unique and useful features, and is a great way for web developers using Windows to check how their web-based applications and websites look in Macs.

However, but then again there are minor annoyances so I’ll still stick to my FF with its add-ons which caters to my every single whim. Hehe!

Rating : (*)(*)(*) 3 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: The post above reflects the writer’s own opinion and experiences after fooling around with Safari for about two hours and not based on technical details.

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