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Reliability And Security

Chrome 27, Firefox 22, IE10, And Opera Next, Benchmarked
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Reliability

During our three-phase memory testing, we have the opportunity to see not only how much memory a browser uses, but also how it behaves under heavy load. After launching the additional 39 pages, we have to check each tab to ensure that all 40 of them are fully and properly rendered. After all, blank pages lower a browser's memory usage total. So, we record each time that we have to reload a tab due to broken formatting or missing elements. Thus, the browser with the lowest number of reloads displays the highest number of pages properly.

While the 40 test pages are recorded cached and hot, naturally, we first had to load them uncached and cold. During this setup process, IE10 crashes and must re-open and reload all 40 tabs.

Although this isn't something we tested for specifically, we must make note of this behavior. No other browser since Safari 4.x (Windows version) has crashed under these conditions.

Somewhat surprisingly, Firefox 22 takes the lead over Opera 12 in this metric with just a single necessary reload. Again, that's a marked improvement over previous rapid-release versions. Opera 12 requires an average of four reloads to earn a relatively distant second place. IE10 places third, with twice the number of reloads, followed by Opera Next with nine. Chrome takes last place with more than a quarter of the test pages requiring a refresh.

This is one metric where Opera Next loses to the current version. Although it's just as fast as Opera 12, Opera Next is half as reliable. This is an attribute Opera's fans typically value, so it'll need to be addressed.

Security

BrowserScope's Security test remains our sole benchmark in this area. This test is more of a checklist, like the standards conformance tests, than an actual performance benchmark.

Chrome still holds the top spot in this test with 16 out of 17 tests passed. Opera Next takes second place, passing 15 of the security checkpoints. IE10 is in third place with a score of 14, followed by Firefox in fourth place with 13 tests passed. Opera 12 again comes up short, passing just 10 of the 17 security checks.

At least right now, Opera Next represents a more secure option than the browser's current version. However, there is always security in obscurity, and Chromium surely presents a much more attractive target for exploits than Opera 12, which no one even attempted to hack at this year's two major hacking competitions. So, only time can tell whether the move to Chromium is actually an upgrade in this respect.

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