Why is there no perfect browser?
I’ve used Firefox for a long, long time, back when I still used Windows pc’s, until the summer 2007. Chrome didn’t exist yet, Internet Explorer sucked and Safari was still Mac-only. Since then, I’ve switched browsers many times: from Firefox to Safari, back to Firefox, to Safari, to Chrome, to Safari and back to Chrome again.
Why is there no perfect browser for me? Why am I switching this often, and why am I thinking about switching back to Safari once again?
Pros: Firebug. Awesomebar. Fully featured.
Cons: I still need to restart the browser when I install a new extension. It’s pretty slow to start up. They are too quick with their major version upgrades, often breaking existing extensions.
It doesn’t feel good on Lion. I miss the “rubber band” effect, there’s also no two-finger swiping back and forth. Double-tab with three fingers doesn’t produce the Definition of the selected word (like it does in Safari and Chrome). You can’t zoom with multi-touch gestures.
Pros: Reader, Reading List (which is synced with iCloud), fast, pretty, new tab “top sites” page, iPhone-like zooming and panning, good developer tools, awesome download manager, best Lion integration.
Cons: since Lion Safari has become a slow beast, giving me a lot of beachballs. While the sliding back and forth through history with two (or three) fingers is cool, it does refresh the tab, making the experience feel very slow. When I visit one of my open tabs, sometimes it suddenly refreshes itself too. This is unacceptable.
I also don’t like the split url- and search fields in the main toolbar.
Pros: Fast, Omnibar, sync bookmarks, extensions and settings with Google, good developer tools.
Pros: Fast, Opera Sync
Cons: It has the same problem as Firefox: it doesn’t feel good on Lion. Rubber banding, swiping nor zooming work. I also don’t like the look and feel of the buttons and toolbars.
Just like Safari, it uses separate fields for entering url’s and search queries.
Right now the best browser for me is Chrome, but that’s only since pretty recently, when they added good Lion support. If Safari didn’t do that stupid tab reloading though, I would immediately switch back to it, because it simply feels better, more “Mac-like” somehow.
Update December 5, 2012
Since a couple of months I’m back to Safari. The split search/url fields are now combined into one and I use the iCloud features quite a lot since I got me an iPad: syncing my bookmarks and reading lists, and the iCloud tabs from other devices. It still behaves strangely when you go back a page with sudden refreshes and blank pages, but it’s not happening often enough to be very annoying. So for the time being at least, Safari is back to being my main browser.