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Quick Specs

  • Version:
    57.0
  • Total Downloads:
    50,914,113
  • Date Added:
    Nov. 14, 2017
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    34.12MB
  • Downloads Last Week:
    19,120
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:
    #1 in Web Browsers

Editors' Review

While Google Chrome has become the web browser of choice for most platforms, version 57 of Mozilla's Firefox web browser may shift the balance with its head-to-toe overhaul. The interface, the performance, and the add-on system have been completely redesigned. Here are the results.

And to discover the best Firefox add-ons, explore our new guides on productivity; privacy, security, and password managers; shopping; and themes.

Pros

A clean, modern look: With the new "Photon" visual design, Firefox's new Light and Dark themes do away with curving tabs and color gradients, replacing them with squared-off, functional lines and solid colors. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the response from the Firefox community has been very positive, and we concur. You no longer need Classic Theme Restorer to bring back the pre-curve days or menu systems. Pressing the Alt key brings up the classic menu, and the hamburger menu in the upper right has a layout very similar to the old Firefox button.

Better performance: Modern CPUs have multiple cores, allowing the chip to perform "multi-threading," a form of juggling many tasks at the same time. But this complex behavior usually requires complex programming code. So Mozilla developed a programming language called Rust to make it easier to develop multithreaded code for Firefox, and we're seeing good results in version 57. Loading and scrolling through media-heavy pages definitely feels much smoother than before (and an upcoming update called WebRender should make it even better).

Add-ons are less likely to break: In the past, Firefox extensions/add-ons had a lot of freedom to change browser behavior, but that meant that major browser updates would break particularly complex add-ons. Those that were not getting updated anymore were effectively killed off when these breakages occurred, because Mozilla could not go into the programming code of the add-on itself to make the needed fixes. Mozilla's new WebExtensions system standardizes how add-ons interact with Firefox, making them more resistant to breakage.

However, with standardization comes a more limited scope in what the add-on can do; therefore, some "legacy" extensions may never make the transition, or they may end up with reduced functionality. In our testing, popular add-ons, such as Reddit Enhancement Suite, Zoom Page WE, Enhanced Steam, and Dark Mode were up and running. NoScript is scheduled to be updated within days of Firefox 57's release.

Syncing across devices: It's not new to version 57, but it's worth repeating: Firefox has its own free sync service, just like Chrome. You can save your open tabs, bookmarks, log-ins, browsing history, add-ons, preferences, and addresses across devices, and even send tabs from one device to another. It works in Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and even Linux -- basically anywhere you can find Firefox 57. The log-in also opens up in a browser tab, so you can use your favorite password manager with it to streamline the process.

When you sign in for the first time on a new device, you'll also get an automated email notifying you, which helps you monitor for the possibility of unauthorized access. If you initiate a password reset on your sync account, this will wipe your sync data on all your other devices.

Cons

Fancier video streams may get chunky on older computers: 4K video and high framerates are becoming increasingly popular on YouTube, especially for video game footage, and Netflix is adding more 4K movies and TV shows all the time. But in Windows 7 and 10, Firefox struggled to create smooth playback when we pushed past 1080p or 30 frames per second. Google Chrome handled 1080p at 60 frames per second just fine. Neither browser on this machine maintained smooth video performance when we pushed it up to 1440p/60 or 4K/30, nevermind 4K/60, but Chrome's performance remained more tolerable as we scaled up.

Then we tested on a different machine with a recent video card containing dedicated circuitry to handle the decoding of newer fancy codecs like VP9 or H.265 -- a handling known as hardware acceleration. This takes the load off the CPU's main circuitry and also reduces the impact on battery life. (Recent CPUs from Intel and AMD can also do video hardware acceleration.) On this machine, all YouTube video resolutions and framerates were buttery smooth in both Chrome and Firefox -- until we deliberately disabled the browsers' otherwise automatic detection of hardware acceleration. Then we were back to performance similar to that of the other, older testing machines.

In the MacOS version of Firefox 57 (on a Macbook Air with a nearly identical CPU to the one in the Windows laptop), Firefox, Chrome, and Safari performed smoothly at 1080p/60 and 1440p/30, though only Chrome offered 4K YouTube content. Based on these experiences, it looks like there's potential for better streaming in the Windows version of Firefox that's not being realized.

Some popular extensions may not work (yet): With version 57, Firefox has moved its add-ons to a standardized platform called WebExtensions. This new framework doesn't allow certain add-on behaviors, partly for security reasons, but also to make porting to and from Chrome easier. The side effect is that some of your favorites may take time to migrate to 57 or never arrive at all. The good news is that, in the case of something like Classic Theme Restorer, they may no longer be needed; Firefox's new UI theming makes CTR non-essential.

Bottom Line

Chrome will probably be better for watching fancy videos on YouTube, especially if you have an older computer. But for everything else, Firefox is now a legit default browser. It performs smoothly, it looks good out-of-the-box, it can sync, it has loads of extensions, and you can use it independently of the Google, Apple, and Microsoft ecosystems.

 
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Full Specifications

What's new in version 57.0
  • A completely new browsing engine, designed to take full advantage of the processing power in modern devices
  • A redesigned interface with a clean, modern appearance, consistent visual elements, and optimizations for touch screens
  • A unified address and search bar. New installs will see this unified bar. Learn how to add the stand-alone search bar to the toolbar
  • A revamped new tab page that includes top visited sites, recently visited pages, and recommendations from Pocket (in the US, Canada, and Germany)
  • An updated product tour to orient new and returning Firefox users
  • AMD VP9 hardware video decoder support for improved video playback with lower power consumption
  • An expanded section in preferences to manage all website permissions
  • Various security fixes
  • Firefox now exclusively supports extensions built using the WebExtension API, and unsupported legacy extensions will no longer work. Learn more about our efforts to improve the performance and security of extensions
  • The browser's autoscroll feature, as well as scrolling by keyboard input and touch-dragging of scrollbars, now use asynchronous scrolling. These scrolling methods are now similar to other input methods like mousewheel, and provide a smoother scrolling experience
  • The content process now has a stricter security sandbox that blocks filesystem reading and writing on Linux, similar to the protections for Windows and macOS that shipped in Firefox 56
  • Middle mouse paste in the content area no longer navigates to URLs by default on Unix systems
  • Removed the toolbar Share button. If you relied on this feature, you can install the Share Backported extension instead.
  • Some older versions of the ATOK IME, including ATOK 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, can cause crashes and are therefore disabled on the Windows 64-bit version of Firefox Quantum. To fix those incompatibility issues, please use a newer version of ATOK or one of other IMEs.
  • The default font for Japanese text is now Meiryo
  • Complete visual refresh of both the Light and Dark DevTools themes, matching the new visual style of Firefox Quantum
  • The Inspector shows the values of CSS variables on hover
  • Completely new and re-designed Console panel. Joining the Debugger and the Network Monitor, the Console has been rewritten using modern web technologies such as React and Redux. It now also allows to inspect objects in context.
General
Publisher Mozilla
Publisher web site http://www.mozilla.org/
Release Date November 14, 2017
Date Added November 14, 2017
Version 57.0
Category
Category Browsers
Subcategory Web Browsers
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/7/8/8.1/10
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 34.12MB
File Name Firefox Setup 57.0.exe
Popularity
Total Downloads 50,914,113
Downloads Last Week 19,120
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free
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