Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer all flawed

Geeks get excited about JavaScript and HTML 5 performance. I want a web browser to give a reliable and consistent experience. The user interface is important, so are features and security,  mainly I want a browser that “just works”.

So far I haven’t found one.

Earlier I compared Firefox 4, Chrome 10 and Internet Explorer 9. Chrome was best.

Best, not perfect. At the time Chrome met most of my needs and ran into trouble rendering pages less often than the alternatives.

The unbearable lightness of Chrome headlines

We’re now on Chrome 14. Google has added Instant Pages and print preview. But one step forward, one step back.

Suddenly I’m seeing hard to read sites. Although I may see a fleeting display of text or headlines while a page is loading, at some point the characters disappear. It as if the foreground colour is the same as the background colour, or the text colour is too light, or the background is displayed over the top of the text. I’m not sure which.

So many pages are poorly rendered I have to turn to another browser to read them. I decided to revisit the alternatives.

Internet Explorer 9 almost there

Pages Chrome struggles to display show up fine in Internet Explorer.

The browser is fast, works smoothly with Windows 7 and has a tidy minimal feel. It still handles images better than Chrome or Firefox. Text appears better in Internet Explorer – characters are crisper and appear at sensible sizes.

While Internet Explorer show the text missing in Chrome, it runs into problems displaying text on a different set of troublesome pages. Explorer is best for e-commerce sites and reading online newspapers.

Firefox 7 still in third place

Firefox is the most improved browser this year, but I still don’t like it. Firefox is faster than it was and now uses less memory. That’s good, but it is still the slowest of the three main browsers. Worse it seems to have trouble with more pages than Explorer and Chrome. When it comes to “just works” Firefox remains in third place.

Conclusion

Intense competition means web browsers are evolving at a cracking pace, not all the changes are for the better. Chrome still has the edge, but the gap is closing fast.

2 thoughts on “Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer all flawed

  1. I’m running Chromium — effectively Chrome without the auto updates. For the last few weeks it’s rendered most sites well, although at times fonts don’t antialias as they should. The one exception has been the Twitter web site which, until a few days ago, was unbearably slow to scroll.

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  2. Within an hour of posting this, Chrome updated from version 14 to 15. I haven’t spotted anything different yet… that may change.

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