Apple Safari 4

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

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now 7
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.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 7 stores)

See all prices

Apple's web browser has been around for six years, and with Safari 4 we find a stable, mature web browser with both excellent speed and standards compliance.

Safari debuted in Mac OS X 10.3, but many people today will be familiar with Safari as the web browser for the iPhone. For the principal two personal computer OSes in the world, we now have Safari 4 for Mac and for Windows, the fastest and most feature-packed iteration yet of this relative newcomer.

But being an Apple app, more features doesn't immediately equal more user complexity. Open Safari 4, and the main window is automatically populated with Top Sites, a wall of thumbnail pages based on your browsing habits. Clicking on any of these brings you directly to your site, making a good visual aid to quick browsing.

You can also manually assign what sites will appear in this space, and the thumbnails you see are updated regularly, to reflect up-to-date content on your favourite sites, all in miniature.

To customise the layout, you just click the Edit button in the bottom left corner, and select either the X to delete or a pin symbol to ‘fix' any displayed site.

Safari was one of the first web browsers to include tabs to allow easy switching between different pages within the same window. Safari 4 beta, released earlier this year, put those tabs above the address bar, increasing space available to view page content below.

This had the side effect of removing the easy reordering of tab positions just by dragging. It also made complete window reposition somewhat more challenging, as grabbing the window by its top bar could cause an inadvertent switch to the page of the tab you picked up.

Apple may have listened to the critics; the tabs are now firmly back below the navigation bar, in what must be said is a more visually elegant arrangement.

Also changed since the beta is the way that page-load progress is indicated.

Safari 3 and earlier used to colour in the space behind the address with an expanding blue bar - a sight familiar more to iPhone users, due to the slower loading process - while Safari 4 beta relied on just a spinning cogwheel (which also doubled as a Stop loading button, since the usual discrete Reload and Stop buttons had been removed).

Now in Safari 4 we have a graphical device at the end of the address field which shows ‘Loading...' and also spins a cog as the page completes.

With a typical broadband connection, you won't be looking at the loading icon for long, though. We found Safari 4 to be quick — very quick in fact — in its page rendering. For many sites we visited, pages would appear just as quick as clicked.

And with that speed comes good standards compliance. In the Acid3 test for web standards (including compatibility with JavaScript and Document Object Model, plus SVG, XML and CSS standards), Safari 4 scored the required 100/100. To give some context, Firefox 3 for Windows gives 71, the latest Firefox 3.5 beta 99 for Mac scores 93, while Internet Explorer 8 is languishing down at 20/100.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Be the first to comment.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?