Battle of the Betas - 4-way browser head-to-head

Which is the best browser right now for speeds, features and ease-of-use? We take a look at the latest betas of the four of the big contenders.

Safari

The good: Combines superfast performance with head-turning visual effects.

The bad: Heavy on memory, and some may find the graphics irritatingly showy.

Chrome

The good: A lightweight, simple and stable browser that just keeps getting better.

The bad: Neither the fastest nor the best-featured option.

Firefox

The good: Hugely extensible, with a low RAM footprint and great performance.

The bad: Rather light on features until you mess around with third-party plug-ins.

Internet Explorer 8

The good: Brings some genuinely promising new technologies to the table.

The bad: The slowest browser for JavaScript by a large margin.

Speed Tests:

Sunspider JavaScript benchmark

Chrome: 2.27 seconds

Firefox 3.0: 4.57 seconds

Firefox 3.1: 2.27 seconds

Safari 4 beta: 1.89 seconds

IE8: 7.43 seconds

Verdict

Each browser has its pluses and minuses - IE is making some advances, Chrome is fast and Safari 4 is fast and slick. However, with its latest version, Firefox manages to compete with the others on speed and also has a huge community of plug-ins to bolster it. As it stands then, it wins the battle - though the others are snapping at its heels.

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