Pros And Cons Of Using The New Firefox 4, Chrome 11, IE9 And Opera 11

The recent browser wars between internet titans like Microsoft, Google and Mozilla has left users out in the cold. While these giant companies compete to upgrade their browsers to meet the latest technology requirements, they seem to be leaving their end users in a mess with lots of browser compatibility problems. If the Firefox 4 beta was not frustrating enough, the so called stable version has its own set of issues. Likewise, despite the fact that Internet Explorer 9 has received more than 10 million downloads, yet it requires being fast tracked to meet the user habits changed by Firefox and Chrome extensions. Even the light weight Opera seems to be following the Beta disaster of Firefox 4 by alienating its market niche of legacy hardware users. In this post, we will take a look at the pros and cons of using these browsers and provide you with a comparison of the advantages and possible issues you may face by using them.

Firefox-vs-Chrome-vs-Opera-vs-IE-9

Important Note: The opinion expressed in the post is based on my personal experience as an end user and an IT professional. We do not mean to bash any browser based on personal bias opinion or to vouch for a particular group. The objective of this post is to provide our readers with feedback based on documented facts and user experience. In order to help them identify the best choice of browser for their desktop. It is quite likely that many of you might not agree with the opinion expressed in this post. We respect the opinion of our readers, however, kindly do not start a flame war in the comments section.

Firefox 4

FirefoxI have been a loyal Firefox user for many years. Despite that, I tried many of the post Internet Explorer 6 versions but found them inadequate to meet my needs. I still remember that once I was having problem opening a webpage in Internet Explorer and resorted to my backup browser (Firefox), only to be amazed with the difference of page loading speed between the two. That was the moment I fell in love with Firefox (due to its better performance) and didn’t look back, until now. Before I jump to the disadvantages of using Firefox 4, lets look at its positive features, which still make it worth using.

Pros

Firefox no doubt has some brilliant extensions. You can get anything from an effective video downloading extension like DW Helper, to session managers and even extensions to help IT professionals (such as Firebug). Firefox is coming up with some fast changes to tune itself with the latest technological requirements like HTML 5, which is suppose to be as the next major revision of HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), the core markup language of the World Wide Web. The new Firefox 4 has also made it easier to synchronize passwords, bookmarks, preferences, etc. These features were earlier explained by our review of Firefox 4, which you can check out here.

Cons

Despite spoiling user habits with its convenient extensions, Firefox seems to be losing its charm like an old wife. I find it quite frustrating to deal with the frequent compatibility issues being experienced even with the so called stable Firefox 4 version. First came the HTML 5 issue which resulted in page loading problems of website like Windows Live Mail, then came the add-on compatibility problems and now I’m frequently experiencing issues with excessive memory consumption and page loading  (Firefox unable to load page). It appears that some pages aren’t displaying pictures and videos in Firefox. Some of you might have had a better experience (I hope), however, I must assure you that I have experienced this problem on multiple computers with Firefox 4. The same website or web page opens just fine on another browser. Coming to the memory issues, suffice to say that Firefox is currently consuming 356MB of memory on my system as I conclude my day’s work.

Conclusion

Firefox is fast running out of air in the wake of cut throat competition from Chrome, Internet Explorer 9 and Opera. The time has passed when Firefox provided exclusive extensions, the same can now be acquired in Chrome and Opera without any hindrance. Instead of working on Firefox 5, Mozilla should rather try cleaning up their act before a large number of users begin to switch browsers.

Internet Explorer 9

Download-Internet-Explorer-9Internet Explorer has been the browser giant since the beginnning. There was a time when Windows users could not even consider switching to an alternative. Back in the day the best alternative was Netscape, before it succumbed to Internet Explorer’s deadly blow of unmatchable market share. Then rose Firefox from the ashes of the dead Netscape Phoenix, to devour the Internet Explorer troll.

Pros

The new IE9 arguably starts quicker than any other browser. The launch time is much better than what it used to be and at least that’s one place where you can get some convenience. The new graphic capabilities and improved performance in IE 9 can not be ignored. It supports hardware-accelerated text, video, and graphics. It has sub-system enhancements like the new JavaScript engine. To meet the changing needs of modern browsers, IE9 has changed its default tab space and provided a more efficient browsing experience with arguably lower memory consumption than its predecessors. It can also be argued that IE9 installs much quicker than Internet Explorer 7 and 8, which used to take an awful amount of time even on broadband connections (such as 1-4 MB connections). To some extent the browser compatibility issues can be resolved with the help of its compatibility mode which is undoubtedly a most useful feature which has carried on to the new IE 9.

Cons

Did I tell you that IE9 loads in a flash? Unfortunately, this might just be the feature after which its utility ends. IE9 still needs to do a lot of work before it can match the add-on quality of its competitors. Likewise, despite being lighter than previous versions, it “arguably” takes longer to load most webpages than other browsers. Despite its recent enhancements, Internet Explorer 9 needs to match the changing habits of end users, in order to acquire a greater market share of the browsing market.

Conclusion

One thing I must admit is, that when it comes to providing a “stable” application, Microsoft is indeed the king of the software market. Despite the lack of resources which IE9 offers to spoil its users, it is perhaps one of the most stable browsers at the moment. With upcoming changes and buzz of IE10, Internet Explorer might just become the ruler of the browsing market again.


 

Chrome 11

Chrome-11To be very honest, I have never been a fan of Chrome, as I often faced problem of being unable to load certain websites. It appears that for some reason the pages used to remain blank, despite the fact that Chrome appears to be attempting to connect to them. But in the wake of Chrome 11, my opinion seems to be changing in its favor.

Pros

Chrome arguably matches its competitors in every field. Whether it be lower memory consumption, fast page loading, useful extensions or a sleek and stylish look. I personally prefer using Chromium in Ubuntu as compared to its alternative browsers due to the smooth browsing experience that it provides. Like Firefox and Opera, Chrome also has the advantage of reaching out to a wide array of users across multiple kinds of operating systems like Windows, Linux and Mac. This is one ability that Internet Explorer has been greatly deprived of. When I tested Chrome 11 a few days back, I didn’t expect much, however, I found it surprisingly more efficient than previous versions with a better browsing experience than I hoped for.

Cons

Having said the above, Chrome 11 is not free of issues. The page loading problem which requires frequently refreshing pages (as is the case with Firefox 4) seems to have followed Chrome as well. It appears that Chrome too often leads to the need of reloading pages on Windows. Interestingly I haven’t seen this problem to be very frequent in Ubuntu.

Conclusion

Chrome 11 seems to be standing at the brink of eventual success or failure. If Chrome is able to iron out some of its recent flaws, it is likely to beat its competitors. The choice between Chrome and other browsers seems to be much dependent on habits and some improved performance which it is currently offering.

Opera 11

OperaBefore I bought my Intel Core i3 laptop, Opera served as a good companion for my single core system. Opera was the reason because of which I got addicted to the speed dial feature, (which I later installed with the help of extensions), in Firefox and Chrome.

Pros

Opera is quite a lightweight browser and quite useful for people using legacy hardware. In fact, I once saw a comment on a forum that a man still using Windows 95 (hard to believe) was using Opera because other browsers just didn’t work out for his inferior hardware. Opera has also begin to match Firefox and Chrome with its equally useful extensions which users of these browsers are quite addicted to. It has not lagged behind in providing support for new technology and features such as HTML 5 and bookmark sync.

Cons

There was a time when Opera occasionally did not open a few web pages and suffered from the same blank page problem which Chrome suffers from. One such example includes its inability to load the Facebook application known as Arena. Unfortunately, Opera 11 has made Opera even more redundant. It often is unable to display pages and adding an extension leads to significant reduction in performance. To summarize it, despite formerly being quite a promising browser, Opera is far from becoming the market leader in the browser market.

Conclusion

Opera requires fixing its performance issues to become a viable alternative to its competitors. I would personally not recommend Opera 11 due to recent performance issues.

Which browser to use?

I will not end this post in a diplomatic way and would rather prefer giving an out right conclusion (based on my experience). I strongly believe that the most stable browser among the four mentioned above, is Internet Explorer 9. Having said that, you might not be able to adjust to it due to its lack of features (particularly lack of useful extensions). The only viable alternative is Chrome, with some functionality issues which still need to be ironed out. Hence, you can use IE9 if you are fine with a minor delay in page loading and can do away with the use of extensions. Otherwise, Chrome seems like the only alternative. Obviously, it is not fair to recommend installing four browsers like I have, since my needs are for more professional purposes and constant analysis of the technology world. But keeping IE9 and Chrome might be a reasonable option to do away with the lack of performance from Firefox and Opera. It is worth mentioning here, that the new updates to any of these browsers may improve their performance further and increase the utility of a browser more than it currently is.

If you are wondering why Safari is not mentioned in this post, try using it in Windows and see what it does to the Aero effect. I know Safari is basically a Mac browser, however, our aim was to focus on more universal browsers.

Advertisement
  • thor

    Dont agree with you. Chrome is better than ie9, and have plugins too

    • http://www.addictivetips.com/ Farshad

      I did mention about it’s extra features like the extensions which make Chrome more usable. IE9 though is more “stable”.

  • SMBR

    Yes u are right i uses Safari Browser in windows 7 my computer becomes slow.But in my Father’s Laptop Safari Works Best becoz my father remove aero features from Windows Seven

  • Ninja

    I don’t agree with you at all Firefox has been rolling out updates very quickly to fix these issues. Extensions are made compatible as soon as possible by the developer. Any issue with HTML5 is usually an bad implementation by the developer of the website. IE9 has improved a lot but has still a long way to come close to FF.

  • KRS

    Brilliant and well balanced article. It appears that those arguing having seen the technical arguments presented in the post. The writer is not bashing Chrome but explaining the stability factor of Internet Explorer 9. I can’t believe that you can vouch for Firefox 4 despite its frequent issues.

  • JarasM

    I don’t have any performance issues with Opera. Maybe you should try reinstalling, or installing the new alpha (it’s very stable so far)? Most (if not all) extensions should not cause any slowdowns, because they’re mostly javascript and HTML, they don’t eat up the CPU time and memory more than an open tab with a page loaded.

  • Jack

    I’d agree with JarasM above. I haven’t had no performance issues with Opera lately. If your having problems with a certain page try right clicking the page, Edit Site Preferences > Network > Identify as Internet Explorer.
    And as mentioned above, the add-ons rarely cause slowdown like Firefox add-ons.

    And to not recommend it because you can’t load a Facebook application is rather childish.

    • http://www.addictivetips.com/ Farshad

      The Facebook application was mentioned to explain the functionality issues associated with Opera. There are other pages which suffer from similar problems. I normally don’t even use Facebook apps since I suspected weeks ago that they were accessing personal data of users because of which I was receiving spam mails on behalf of legitimate email accounts from my friends. Try Ad-sweep on Opera and let me know if you have a different experience. I have tested Opera on multiple systems before writing my conclusion. Naturally other factors can contribute to browser performance such perhaps latency issues.
      Nonetheless, I tried verifying some details by checking out foreign forums to see if others were having the same issues in separate locations.

      • Petter Nilsen

        When using any adblocking extension with Opera, make sure you use one that uses the new URLFilter extension API for blocking. It appears your tested extension did not, hence the slowdown you experienced. This slowdown is eliminated in extensions using this api.

  • Jack

    And just to point out Opera had bookmark sync back in 2007 when Opera link was released, so thats hardly a new feature.

    • http://www.addictivetips.com/ Farshad

      Just Like Microsoft’s Compatibility View which has been carried on to IE9. As mentioned in the article. The focus in the article is on more recent changes leading up to the most up to date browser versions.

  • Nikolaj

    I started using IE9 two months ago to see if it was even remotely as good as Chrome and Opera (my two defaults for over a year) and with Xmarks, LastPass and Tracking Protection (which doubles as an adblocker, love that!) I really haven’t had much reason to switch back. It sound almost stupid to say it out loud, but IE9 doesn’t seem as “heavy” as Chrome; and likewise, the total RAM footprint of IE9 + Xmarks + LastPass, on my system, is about half that of Chrome (with sync enabled, LastPass and adblocking).

    • Jack H.

      Doesn’t seem as ‘heavy’ as Chrome? How intriguing. As an IT web developer, we were always taught to “stay the hell away from Internet Explorer.” I guess I’ll have to wander around IE9 and see what it has to offer. Chrome + Adblock = sweet, sweet speedy bliss.

  • MOWE

    I don’t have any performance issues with Firefox. I use it 8-10 hours everyday, and never met the symptoms you wrote about. If you reached 350MB RAM usage, try to revise your extension library and find the culprit.

  • Andrei

    We know the market share of Windows is dominated, but if you using the “more universal browser” standard, IE9 is not eligible since it is only for Windows. Safari for Windows sucks doesn’t mean it has no Windows version (ok I know it’s nearly unusable but it still exist!) You could make a review and complains it in Cons section.

    BTW, Chrome for Windows seems have some misbehavior in CSS rendering and I donno why. I can put up with a little bit slow but wrong placement or wrong computed font-family is very disturbing.

  • Gill

    “it’s” = “it is”

    I just had to mention that because the number of times this particular grammatical mistake was made in the article was appalling.

  • ECR

    The main reason i still use Firefox is Adblock Plus and Noscript. None of the other browsers have addons that come even close to matching what those two are capable of.

    • Vegas

      Chrome has Adblock Plus (made by the developers of Adblock Plus) and Notscripts (Noscript alternative). If your concern is security, tabs in Chrome are separately sandboxed which makes Chrome more secure than Firefox if that’s what you’re worried about. Both these extensions for Chrome work well but are not as effective as their Firefox counterparts.

      However Chrome extensions are merely scripts so they simply do not have the same capabilities as Firefox extensions. If you hadn’t used the Firefox version of an extension you probably wouldn’t think anything of the Chrome extension shortcomings. Otherwise if you’re a big fan of extensions you will noticed them. For examples follow the link below and see comments made by “Joshua”:
      http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-extensions-chrome-tab-management/

  • Willie

    Put me down as another Opera fanatic!

  • Eduardo

    I think it is unfair that there is IE but there is not Safari in here. However I give this post bonus points for actually recommending a browser instead of saying “The best browser is the one that fits you!” or some shit like that.

  • AJ

    I used to have Firefox as my main browser, but now I use Chrome most of the time. Furthermore, I have used IE9 and stopped using it because of the lack of extensions support. Hopefully, Firefox can add more innovative features in future releases because Chrome is certainly gaining more users.

  • Jack H.

    I used firefox for a good 6 or 7 years, and enjoyed it’s extensions and security.

    However, with the release of about 3.5.x, someone at Mozilla must have spilled coffee on the build, as It takes FAR longer than it used to in order to start up. I moved over to Chrome 3 years ago, even when the extension support was pretty pitiful. Now that Chrome Extensions more or less equal that of Firefox, I use Chrome religiously. It opens faster than shit, blocks ads with adblock, and uses the least amount of screen real-estate. What else is there in a successful browsing experience?

    On the topic of IE9 and Opera… IE9 looks fancy. Glad they FINALLY started cleaning up that frigg’n real-estate issue on the top of the screen. However, as a Linux Mint (Ubuntu) user, IE isn’t an option, and I don’t care for it, quite frankly.

    Opera… I can’t even give an opinion on it. I’ve barely even heard of it, and don’t have much interest in changing. I’m a pretty bias Google man. *shrug* But even so, you’ve got to admit FireFox has slipped majorly in at least startup time alone. Damn shame.

    • http://jackyan.com Jack Yan

      Jack, I have to agree with you about Firefox 3.5. After I went to it, it crashed four times a day, if not more. What I did, however, was I got involved with the beta programme for 4 and pushed to get my bugs sorted. Since 4 I have had no troubles, probably because the squeaky wheel got the oil. Not saying you’ll get the same mileage, but it did work for me, and it might be worth another go (unless you’re comfortable with Chrome now)?

  • Karli

    Hmmm, my experiences are far away from you. Opera has been stable and fast the same like Chrome. Firefox and IE9 are even more stable but minimal slower. But the most innovations are from Opera, so my choice would be Firefox and Opera.

  • reddevilandy10

    You guys should try Firefox 6.0a1 (Nightly channel)… it is surprisingly stable, and miles faster, cleaner and more satisfying to uses than 4.0.1. Writing this comment from Aurora 5.0a2 without any reportable problems.

  • raj

    I have been using firefox since version 0.99 (the netscape years). It has been a long time but firefox is still the browser of reference for me. Though some may complain (like the author of the blog) about memory, the sheer usefulness of the addons and the functionality far outweigh the speed benefit in chrome. What is the use of more speed in chrome if I cannot use such addons as mouse gestures, flashgot, adblock, scrapbook (archiving of webpages).

    I still prefer firefox

  • Vivek

    I cannot but get this feeling that this appears to be some kind of sponsored writeup, by someone who is desparately trying to reverse a global trend which looks irreversible. Who in his right senses would ever recommend using IE in any of its avatars???

    Is browser stability the single most important issue today?? Has anyone experienced any instability in IE9, Firefox 4.01, Opera 11.10 or Chrome 11.0.696.68?? (I have all four on my Win7HPx64 laptop, and never faced a problem).

    Has this reviewer ever read any of the reports regarding the outcome of the pwn2own championships?? People should just read this one news report to understand what should really matter to them. The latest versions of Chrome and Firefox are leagues ahead of IE9 in every possible way, be it performance or safety. In addition, both browsers can be further made impregnable with add-ons like NoScript, WOT and many others, making them a lot safer in today’s wicked internet landscape. Is this ever going to be possible in IE???

    Apart from this, the review also lacks credibility from the point of view that there is no mention of the sites which were supposed to have caused blank pages to appear in the reviewer’s browser. This would have given everyone a chance to actually visit them and verify this for themselves. If incompatibility with certain web pages is an issue, it has to be an issue in every browser. It is impossible that any single browser will work with every one of the millions of websites in this world.

    • KRS

      Vivek, your reply seems to be quite non technical and if you think Firefox 4 is stable, than you certainly need to learn using the computer. The writer did mention the Arena application as an example read the article before leaving comments. The add-on drop back of IE9 has been mentioned sufficient times as well.

  • Jason

    Just a quick word to say that you’ve wrongly used the word “it’s” twenty-two times. It should be “its”.

    “It’s” can only be used as an abbreviation for “it is” (which is not what you were trying to say).

    It’s (!) a common grammatical error, but one that gets annoying after a while (like, 22 times…)

    Interesting article though. Thanks!

    • http://www.addicitivetips.com Nakodari

      I have fixed the typos/grammatical errors (too many of them) in the post. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • Vegas

    Firefox uses a lot of memory here, but I don’t find that to be an issue at all. Considering the cost of RAM is dirt cheap. You can buy an i3 laptop with 8GB of RAM installed stock for $500, or you can buy 8GB (2×4) of RAM for your desktop for $80. Not sure how people still worry about memory usage…

  • Yansky

    Could you link to some of the pages you say don’t display properly for you?

  • mavourneen

    I think browsers should be developed for the way computers run. Technology is gaining speed, while many people still have computers older than their kids. I USED to also be a die hard firefox fan, I loved the themes, plugins, etc…but with each new update, it became bloatware. Then I switched to Chrome for awhile, I liked it…then once the web apps came out I enjoyed it even more. But I also get those nagging hanging pages and have to constantly restart the website because chrome can’t load. Now that I have windows 7, I’ve stuck with IE9, it’s hardware acceleration is amazingly fast on my computer, web pages load faster than they would if I were using both FF and Chrome. And I love the idea of pinning websites to the task bar. So easy to click and open! And can’t wait to see what improvements are being made for IE10…

  • Alison

    I use Opera since the first time I started using it…which was a long time ago…when I first started it..I was so impressed of the WIDGETS and the SPEED DIAL!!and its very fast…and it wont slow if you have 10-20 tabs because of TAB STACKING!!plus they make contests..!!with great prizes..and I love the Opera Turbo…!I USE IT ALL THE TIME!!!I hate FIREFOX because of the toolbars..like Zwinky toolbar,,,yahoo toolbar..i hate it…and it would take a long time to open or not open at all if you reboot and stuff…!!HATE IT!!!FIREFOX is popular because many people use it!and they are not open minded and experiment on other browser!! And I never use IE since 2006!so slow…AND THE MAIN REASON WHY I ONLY USE CHROME BECAUSE OF ANGRY BIRDS!!if I open CHROMe i only play ANGRY BIRDS and if im done…I close it…~

    • http://jackyan.com Jack Yan

      Could you not just remove the toolbars? Firefox doesn’t come with any of them.

  • dred.vn

    thanks information :)

  • Me

    Obviously written by MS slave.
    Totally USELESS information.
    How about unbiased information.

    • http://www.addictivetips.com Aatif Khan

      The views expressed in this article represent only the author’s personal opinion and experience, and do not reflect any research data. Naturally, the article would be biased in favor of the author’s experience.

      Thanks for the feedback

  • Xx N30N xX

    I think chrome is pretty good in my opinion. I also use FireFox. I don’t use Internet Explorer or Opera. ._.

  • Paweł Gołębiewski

    Firstly I was using Firefox, but it became slow. Then Safari. I loved the speed and the look. But everething ended for me after 5th version. Then Chrome, it was fast and fluent; but some day youtube videos started to lag. Now I’m using Windows 8 default browser – IE 10 and I’m almost happy with it. It just needs a bigger base of add-ons.
    I’m curious what browser I’ll be using next :P

  • Paweł Gołębiewski

    Firstly I was using Firefox, but it became slow. Then Safari. I loved the speed and the look. But everething ended for me after 5th version. Then Chrome, it was fast and fluent; but some day youtube videos started to lag. Now I’m using Windows 8 default browser – IE 10 and I’m almost happy with it. It just needs a bigger base of add-ons.
    I’m curious what browser I’ll be using next :P