Apple Safari 4

Apple Safari 4 is more than just one of the fastest web browsers for Windows and Mac.

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Apple Safari 4
  • Apple Safari 4
  • Apple Safari 4
  • Apple Safari 4

Pros

  • Extremely fast page rendering,

Cons

  • Too soon to make a definitive judgement

Bottom Line

Safari 4 has come out of its short beta period to blossom as a remarkably attractive and well featured modern web browser. For Windows users, Safari has previously been something of an also-ran behind Firefox and IE, but with Safari 4, the browser could catch up on XP to Windows 7 systems too. Safari 4 is extremely fast in its page rendering thanks to the refined WebKit engine, and offers some genuinely useful user interface elements which make finding sites quicker and browsing a more comfortable experience.

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Another addition for Safari 4 is the Cover Flow navigation model. First seen in iTunes, this similarly allows a graphical way to look around your favourite or previously visited sites. You can use Cover Flow here to flick your way through bookmarks or history, with again small thumbnail renderings to guide your way.

We found a picture of a site painted on the screen in this manner could give faster cues to sites in our browsing history, rather than reading site URL addresses and trying to imagine what we saw on that page.

For Mac users with Multi-touch trackpads, the final release of Safari 4 addresses an issue with pinch zooming of pages, although we found this still not quite as fluid as it was with Safari 3, as magnification jumps in a limited number of steps between different zoom factors.

For web developers and the technically curious, Apple provides a neat view of page source along with load times for the various code elements.

Just enable Develop mode in the Safari 4's preferences, and look under the newly instated Develop menu between Bookmarks and Window. There you'll find Show Web Inspector. In Windows, the Develop menu appears with other window menus under the folded-corner page icon on the right of the browser pane.

"Safari 4 is the fastest and most efficient browser for Mac and Windows, with great integration of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards that enables the next generation of interactive web applications," proclaims Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide product marketing.

Safari prompts you to install Bonjour for Windows and Safari Desktop shortcuts. Bonjour is the applet used to aggregate content from attached devices as well as your hard drive. It's not an essential part of the Safari experience.

Having specified whether these two extras should load along with Safari and accepted Apple's licence agreement, you get a rather odd Apple thankyou message that stalled the installation progress. What it actually means is we needed to quit the existing web browsing page so everything could be updated. It would have made sense to say so.

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