Safari 4 beta available- blazes new speed trails

28 Comments

Apple (s aapl) has released a beta of the next version of Safari, and it is blazing fast.  Safari 4 installs quickly and requires a restart, after which it’s ready for action.  I should warn you that installing Safari 4 will replace your standard Safari, so be aware.  Safari 4 is a beta so you may not want to lose your “safe” version.  I haven’t encountered any issues with Safari 4 but then I’ve only been using it for about half an hour.  I am using the Mac version, but there is a beta for Windows available, too.

The first impression of Safari 4 is the speed.  This is easily the fastest web browser I have used on any platform.  Apple claims it is 3X faster than Firefox 3, and it certainly feels that way to me. Opening pages is just darn quick, and having multiple tabs open doesn’t seem to slow it down.

Opening multiple tabs is something you’ll want to do, given Safari 4’s new “Top Sites” page, which is essentially an attractive display of your most visited web sites.  This is similar to the thumbnail previews of other browsers, but with the typical Apple flair.  Here are my top sites:

safari-4-beta

The new tab bar in the top window bar is a great touch, as it means Safari now wastes little screen real estate, something that some will find very useful.  If you look at the screen capture above very carefully you’ll see the tabs open next to the windows close button.  Very nice touch.

You can also now browse your history with coverflow, which makes it easy to spin left and right through your browsing history.  It may seem to be just eye candy but it’s darn fast so it’s actually useful.

safari-4-history-search

I’m going to continue to play with Safari 4 to see how it works for me.  It will have a tough time replacing my beloved Firefox, but I’ll see how it stacks up.

You can find Safari 4 here on the Apple web site.

28 Comments

pimlicosound

I installed it on my MSI Wind, but for some reason the top bar (tabs, min-restore-close buttons) is all jumbled up, with graphics overlapping, which is very annoying.

I don’t think it’s playing nicely with the Vista-Inspirat skin I’ve got applied in XP.

Also, this is very subjective but web pages seem to look darker when rendered in Safari.

I’m sticking with Firefox for now.

Mark Hines

Although claimed by Apple as fastest browser, I dont think its qiute that fast! I have used many other browsers and feel that google crome is the fastest of them all. By the way they have added new features such as “cover flow” which I like very much.

Boca

Just loaded it onto XP… Very nice.

One thing though. During the installation it prompted me if I wanted to install Bonjour and Apple Updater. I unchecked the boxes, but after install both those programs were put on my machine.

Anyone else notice this?

No biggie, but things like that bug me.

Scotty

The Safari 4 beta gave me the impetus to install Safari on my Vaio P. I gotta tell you, ctrl-+ makes the Vaio P so much like a big screen iPhone it’s scary. That wicked Safari 4 beta speed translates very well to keeping the speed up on the 1.3GHz Atom CPU.

I’m thinking Apple just delivered the mobile browser for netbooks we’ve all been waiting for. Interesting considering Apple has no netbook of their own. :-)

DaveZatz

OK, I’ve had time to play a bit more. I HATE the tab location and have already hidden all ‘top site’ displays. All I really want out of Safari (or Firefox) on OS X is a true full screen mode, without the need for plugins.

Rick Huizinga

Does this new version work well with existing plugins? I.e. 1Password & Google Gears?

James Kendrick

1Password released a new beta today to work with Safari 4. You need to go into 1Password’s preferences and enable betas under updates. Then just Check Now and you’ll get a compatible version. Worked like a charm for me. I don’t know about Google Gears.

oldmanhorton

i am currently using WebKit Nightly builds
has anyone come from using those?
and if so- as fast? faster? slower?
i dont care for CoverFlow or Top Sites, not to mention the new tab bar and address bar
all i want is speed…so…any impressions?

Mike Cane

On my 1.8GHz Celeron with XP, which can’t handle Fox 3 — so I use Fox 2 — and which is speedy with Chrome … Safari 4 just blows away everything. Not one crash. Sites that take forever with Fox 2 open in two seconds tops.

Thing is, I do NOT have Top Sites or CoverFlow or any of that good stuff. Dammit.

Alan Yeung

“Top Sites” is obviously cribbed from Google Chrome, but the implementation here is *so much* better. I like how there’s enough of each page shown so that you can see whether there are updates on your favorite sites without having to navigate to them. And because everything is prefetched, the first click is instantaneous.

Jon Stannah

Two important web mail issues stop me using safari. Both these work in firefox.
1. Mailto links in emails or on websites won’t open a gmail or yahoo webmail new message.
2. Email to: won’t autocomplete by pulling addresses from webmail contacts.
Have these been fixed in the beta?

2manydjs

Indeed many features were inspired (or stolen..) from Chrome. But that’s fine because I though Chrome was already a very nice browser. Aesthetically v4 is not an improvement over v3: the top bar is quite ugly.

This topbar makes safari very suitable for netbooks though, especially now that the windows version has a native look to it.

Tom Reestman

Haven’t run it on a Mac yet, but I’m running the Windows XP version and have a few observations:

– Top Sites and Cover Flow are working just fine.

– Speed is incredible.

– I’ll likely appreciate tabs in the menu bar on my MacBook, since it saves vertical screen space. But on this XP machine with a larger screen I’d just as soon have them where they were. Still, I get I’ll get used to it.

– What I will not get used to is the stupid move to Windows’ own anti-aliasing. Apple’s is much better. Luckily, that garbage is the first thing I turned off.

– I do not like that I can’t get rid of the page and gear icons on the address bar. Drag them off, they come back. What’s with that?

– I miss that I could just double-click the tab bar to get a new tab. Now that the “tab bar” is also the window’s title bar, double-clicking it maximizes the window. Bummer. I’ve settled on Control-T instead.

– I also miss just grabbing a tab anywhere to move it. Again, because it’s now the window’s title bar, I must grab a tab by it’s little handle to move it. Definitely gonna take some getting used to.

– Having the native Windows look of the window was a wise move. In some ways, I actually think it’s uglier, but it makes sense. Besides, the rest of the interface is just as clean as ever, which I really like.

– They got rid of the Snap Back feature. :-/

I’m anxious to try this on my Mac, but I’m pretty impressed with the Windows flavor so far. Slapping it around a bit, and no crashes or stalls yet. It’s really fast. I didn’t know the New York Times could ever load that quickly. :-)

Bob

Well been using it for about two hours on an older mbpro, and I must say that I like what I’ve seen so far. I’d been using the webkit nightly builds for awhile (these pushed out firefox 3, and 3.1b2 wasn’t enough to swap back).

But the speed and polish of this (safari 4 b1) is in another class.

J Casey

Has anyone had any luck loading Gmail? I’m on a Macbook and can’t seem to get it to work.

Stephen

I had an issue with Gmail with my MacBook Pro (worked fine on other Macs and a Windows machine). Everything worked except Gmail! I had to uninstall all of Safari’s files (I used CleanApp), reboot and reinstall Safari 4 Beta and it all worked fine with Gmail after that. My guess is maybe a plugin might have been the problem.

Now I have been using Safari 4 since yesterday morning and I agree with James, this is the fastest browser I have ever used on any platform! Nice update and well worth it. I have not yet encountered any other issues so far.

C.B.

Wow that looks amazing. I can’t wait to try this out. I tend to use Fire fox on my mac. But this might push me to use Safari.

Martijn

So far it has already crahsed once. But meh well…it can happen.

Other problem is more important. I can’t get any bookmarks in! No matter if I drag them of the desktop to the bookmarks bar or if I press the little ‘+’ icon in the top left corner. They just won’t show up.

Hmmmm….

Martijn

I can’t edit my post can I?

I do like to add that, so far, it’s blazing fast! Amazing performance increase over Firefox 3 let alone IE 8.

turn.self.off

no mention of where they got the idea of putting tabs on top from? ;)

Alan Yeung

Normally I’m not impressed by browser performance claims, but this one really is fast! It’s more than just fast Javascript, the general user interface performance is surprising. I can’t see any reason to use Google Chrome over this (unless one has a problem with tabs crashing)… they’ve really paid attention to little issues throughout the browser, and most of the basics are much better implemented here (e.g. much nicer address bar than Google Chrome).

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