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Firefox 13 ReviewDigit Rating: Good4/5NAFeatures:NAPerformance:NAValue:NADesign:
- Excellent standards support
- Cool bookmark organization with Panorama
- Lots of customization through extensions
- Pinned sites for all-the-time access
- Syncing for tabs, history, passwords and now Extensions
- Graphics hardware acceleration
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- Lacks client-side tracking protection like that found in IE9
- Lacks Chrome's built in Flash, PDF reader, and Instant page view
- Trails Chrome in HTML5 support
- No new-tab page helpers
Firefox remains a lean, fast, compatible, customizable browser, and its new new-tab page and home page make it even more compelling.
Before I get into benchmarks, a word about startup time. For the past few years, Firefox has lagged behind the competition in taking longer to get going, especially after a reboot. Firefox 7 went a long way towards remedying this, but Firefox 13 brings the browser within shooting distance of the competition.
On my 2.53GHz dual-core laptop with 3GB RAM, after a reboot Firefox 13's cold start time was 3.4 seconds. While that's hardly an eternity on a hardly screaming fast laptop, Firefox still trails Chrome's 1.5 seconds and IE9's 1.1 seconds, but it's better than earlier versions, which often took over 6 seconds. Safari and Opera held up the rear, with 6.6-second and 9.8 second cold startup times, respectively, so Firefox is no longer the straggler among browsers when it comes to startup time.
A restart of the browser without rebooting made the differences in startup time negligible—Firefox 1.4 seconds; IE9: 0.6 seconds; Chrome: 0.5 seconds; Safari: 1.4 seconds; Opera: 1.5 seconds. Here's a table summarizing the results:BrowserCold Startup Time (seconds)Warm Startup Time (seconds)Internet Explorer 91.10.6Chrome 191.30.6Firefox 134.21.3Safari6.01.4Opera7.21.5
(lower is better)Internet Explorer 9259Google Chrome 19259Firefox 13287Opera 11.60296Firefox 12308Safari 5.1.2309
(higher is better)Google Chrome 199126Firefox 125686Firefox 135581Opera 11.613498Safari 5.1.22679Internet Explorer 92048
(lower is better)Google Chrome 193812Firefox 124388Firefox 134473Opera 11.6112506Safari 5.1.214881Internet Explorer 916794
With Firefox 4, Mozilla added hardware acceleration like that found in Internet Explorer 9. Unlike IE9's, Firefox works on any operating system; IE9 is limited to Windows 7 or Vista. I ran one Microsoft and one Mozilla demo test designed to show hardware acceleration, but keep in mind, the results of this test depend to a great deal on your graphics hardware. The Microsoft demo, Psychedelic Browsing, spins a color wheel and plays spacy sounds, reporting RPM as a result. Firefox does well on this test, beating Chrome and all other comers besides IE. Opera hasn't yet implemented hardware acceleration, and I only saw evidence of it in Safari when that browser was running on a Mac. Here were my results, using a 3.4GHz quad-core desktop with an ATI Radeon HD4290 graphics card:BrowserPsychedelic Browsing
RPM (higher is better)Internet Explorer 94414 (correct sound)Firefox 134354 (no sound)Google Chrome 193517 (correct sound)Firefox 122760 (no sound)Opera 11.6013 (no sound)Safari 5.17 (no sound)
One final test of hardware acceleration (which, it is worth noting, comes from Mozilla itself): the Hardware Acceleration Stress test, which spins a spiral of photos in the browser window and reports a score in frames per second. This test showed the browsers furthest along in implementing hardware acceleration (particularly for CSS) to good advantage (note the benchmark no longer reports frame rates over 60FPS, as that's the limit of standard LCDs):BrowserMozilla Hardware Acceleration Stress Test
FPS (higher is better)Firefox 1360+Firefox 1260+Internet Explorer 960+Google Chrome 1660+Opera 11.6018Safari 5.18
Visit page four to read more our Firefox 13 review...Copyright © 2010 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.
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