Earlier today, Apple finally releases it's web browser, Safari, to run on top of Microsoft Windows. Apple said that it is twice faster than IE, and a whole lot other goodies. Let's take a ride then. We're going to compare between Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, and Firefox 2. All of them running on Windows Vista. We'll score each other over several categories, and in the end sum up the total standing.
First of all, you'll need to download it first (yes, unlike Internet Explorer which comes out of the box). It's 8 megs, so it's a tad larger than Firefox (5.7 megs), but almost half the size of IE (14.8 megs). Download Safari 3 Beta, Firefox 2, and IE7 (for Windows XP only).
IE7 - 3 points, FF - 1 point, Safari - 0 points.
Next is installation. All three installation are a breeze, although Safari+QuickTime bundle requires VBScript trick in my previous post to install. Included with installation is bundling. Safari is bundled with Bonjour and Apple Update Service (What!? You need to install a separate program to update Safari?), while FF and IE7 definitely clean.
IE7/FF - 2 points, Safari - 0 points.
First run. IE7 will show one page with basic settings, this page will show up again next time if you don't disable it. FF will show two pages, one with welcome, one is the Google search page. Safari will display Apple's start page. FF will also show an annoying pop up requesting default application setting.
Safari - 3 points, IE7 - 1 point, FF - 0 points.
Safari claims it is faster than most other browser, so we'll put it up to the test. One of the sites that I used quite a lot and feel very slow is Meebo, the second is Yahoo! Web Messenger. We'll test both.
FF works flawlessly when accessing Meebo and Yahoo!, IE7 slows down when accessing Meebo for the first time, and virtually useless on Yahoo!. Safari crashed before logging in to Meebo and cannot use Yahoo! at all because no Flash plugin for Safari on Windows, yet.
FF - 3 points, IE7 - 1 point, Safari - 0 points.
Stability. I've primarily used IE7 at home and FF at work for testing purposes. Both perform especially well, FF even have a feature which reopens any page not closed when crashed. Safari, well, suffice to say, this is a beta product that doesn't even work when you're browsing past the start page. Opening a new tab crashes, Meebo crashes, my favorite shortcut of Ctrl+Enter doesn't even work! How do I suppose to replace IE with this junk?
FF - 3 points, IE7 - 1 point, Safari 0 points.
Bonus: uninstallation. Safari and FF definitely uninstallable, while IE7 is not. Not scored.
Totalling them all, notice we haven't tried most of the features yet, IE7 got 8 points, FF got 9 points, and Safari got 3 points.
Conclusion: while it is fun to see an Apple browser running on Windows, it's definitely not ready for daily usage, yet. The cool factor dies down when the browser crashed every single time you enter something into a textbox field (which is very common in Web 2.0 era), or when compared to IE7 and FF Vista-look (a standard for any Windows application).