Go on a Web Safari

Apple's latest iteration of Safari has a lot to offer, putting it among the top browsers in its category, but those who like to customize their surfing experience may need to look elsewhere.

Apple's latest iteration of Safari has a lot to offer, putting it among the top browsers in its category, but those who like to customize their surfing experience may need to look elsewhere. Version 4 features the Nitro engine, which runs JavaScript up to 4.5 times faster than Safari 3 (according to Apple) and it was certainly blindingly fast in all of our testing. The browser supports all modern Web standards, like HTML 5 and advanced CSS effects so you don't need to worry about whether Safari will work correctly on your favorite sites. Though Safari 4 doesn't have the extensibility and numerous add-ons and themes found in Mozilla's Firefox, there is something to be said for running lean and mean on the Web.

However, a lack of extra add-ons doesn't mean Safari comes without its fair share of cool features. The Top Sites feature is a welcome addition, displaying your most-used Web sites in an easy-to-read grid format--simply click on a thumbnail view of your favorite page and go. But what makes Top Sites particularly useful is in the way it indicates (with a white-on-blue star icon) that sites have been updated since your last visit. Also, searching through your Web history has never been easier, with a Cover Flow-like interface letting you flip through Web pages so you can quickly find the site you want.

Legacy perks from previous versions of Safari, like the Snapback feature, make it easy to return to your original page when you're surfing through a lot of links. It also lets you collect and browse through RSS feeds right from the bookmarks panel. We like the clean interface and layout of browser controls, but wonder why Apple decided to switch its tab layout in the final version; tabs used to be on top of the browser during the beta period, but have moved back down below the address bar and toolbars in this version.

Overall, Safari is an extremely fast browser with plenty of useful features that users will appreciate, but choosing a browser is also a question of personal taste. If you're used to more add-ons or like to have more customization options, you should probably try another browser.

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