I never thought I’d change browsers again, but I’ve found myself using Safari full time now. I really enjoyed using IE7, but a few of Firefox’s features had me hooked on it. The problem is, I’ve always had memory issues and, lately anyway, frequent hangs and crashes. I tried Firefox 3 beta, but it wasn’t much better and the plugins I used hadn’t been converted yet. IE8 is horrible, more alpha then beta. So, I decided to give Safari a try again. I haven’t regretted it.
Although I was using a beta Safari version when I converted, I’ve since upgraded to 3.1. Although, I haven’t noticed any differences in performance or rendering between the beta and full version. I will say that Safari is performing much better then both IE and Firefox. I have had it crash, but it seems to be on Flash sites, the same places Firefox or IE would crash. However, the crashes aren’t as frequent. Safari also doesn’t appear to have the same memory problems as Firefox and is much faster then IE.
The one feature that drove me nuts the first time I tried Safari, the blurry fonts, is now the feature I love the most. Now that I’m using Safari all the time, the fonts are very natural and do look for realistic and less blocky next to Microsoft’s Cleartype fonts. I was surprised how much easier they are to read, especially with small text.
So, RSS was a big draw for me on IE7 and Firefox. I really liked IE7’s RSS reader. I found a pretty good one for Firefox, but I believe it was part of the reason I was having issues with Firefox. I subscribe to some heavy feeds. Firefox would basically freeze when updating the feeds. Safari’s feeds are a bit different and took me some time to get used to. However, the way it loads all feeds in, highlights the new feeds, and marks them as read once I’ve looked at them is pretty intuitive. Again, one of those try it for a week before knocking it kind of things.
About the only negative I have for Safari is the window itself. For some reason, it doesn’t have the compact menu bar that iTunes does. Instead of using the Vista window icons, again like iTunes, it uses the old XP icons. You pretty much have to keep the book mark bar open to see if you have new feeds. Safari doesn’t have a sidebar, selecting the show all bookmarks displays an iTunes like sidebar, with the links in the right hand pane. I would rather of had the browser window left to the right with the bookmarks below it. Think iTunes mini-store view. A full screen mode would be nice too. However, these are minor issues that really don’t detract from the overall experience.
Once feature I think is cool is that Safari will open a Windows Media Video full screen in a new Safari window or tab! Usually, Firefox or IE launches Windows Media Player. But Safari is smart and just displays the video inside its own window. I only wish Safari did the same for Quicktime, limiting the image to the size specified by the video. I may try to force MPEG to play in WMP to see what happens.
In any case, I’m very pleased with Safari and have found the experience worth while. To be sure, I still need to have IE around for a few Windows only sites, mostly music and Windows Updates. But, for now anyway, I’m now a true believer in Safari and, well, Apple. I was never a bit Mac fan, but Safari is making me wish I had the money to give one a try.