Two weeks ago I wrote down my first impressions upon downloading the Safari 4 Beta. Over the past 15 days I’ve used Safari in parallel for almost everything I normally do with Firefox. So here’s a more detailed review of where the beta currently stands.
- The very fact that I did manage to use Safari and keep the icon on my dock for 15 days is a good indicator. I’ve rarely kept any other browser at hand – including Flock and Opera – for more than a couple of days.
- What made me stick to it is that it’s fast. Quite impressively fast in fact. Of course, I don’t have Chrome to compare to being a Mac user, but loading pages – even Facebook and Google Gears sites – feels significantly faster than both Firefox 3 as well as Safari 3.
- Thirdly, the UI is well designed and thought out. Despite the fact that in terms of functionality it’s clearly replicating what Chrome is doing, and that copying usually doesn’t pay, the Apple engineers don’t seem to have simply photocopied what the chaps at Google came up with. It seems like they truly understood the underlying motivations of the features they implemented and delivered a user experience to match.
- While loading web pages is fast, the application itself isn’t always as speedy. Opening up a new window or tab will typically show the “revolving pizza” for a few seconds and it feels like the browser crashed… even if no other apps or web pages are currently open.
- Certain basic features in web pages don’t seem to work well. For instance, cookies get lost: hardly any of my regularly used sites “remember me” on Safari 4. Certain basic CSS/JS features also don’t work well, typically the faux-dialog setups that most sites use nowadays.
- Google Gears stuff still doesn’t work well… or indeed at all.
Still, good job for a beta all round. Looking forward to the release as might just make Safari my default browser again.