Web Browser Grand Prix 2: The Top 5 Tested And Ranked

Conclusion

Like last time, we break down the results by category to determine how the browsers perform overall. Now, instead of just leaving you with a winner and calling it a day, we're also going to break down some of the strengths and weaknesses of these browsers, observed during the course of benchmarking. We spotlight the weak points, again, not to beat on any of these apps, but in the hope that it will not be an issue be when the time comes for Web Browser Grand Prix 3.

Winner By Category / Test

During the course of benchmarking, we observed that the WebKit browsers from Apple and Google displayed some troubling non-memory related behavior during the 40 tab memory usage test. Though not specifically tested, the CPU is maxed out by Safari in this benchmark, tying up the system indefinitely. While Google's browser didn't become unresponsive or exhibit any CPU issues, a few Web pages didn't load at all - they didn't freeze or stall, but simply appeared as blank white pages with no activity. Many of the pages that Chrome did load required reloading due to broken or missing elements - significantly more than Firefox, IE8, or Opera. We'll be looking into concocting ways of measuring CPU usage as well as proper, complete, and accurate page rendering for a future edition of the Web Browser Grand Prix.

Category / Test
Winner
Also Strong
Weak
Speed Tests
Startup Times
Opera
None
None
Page Load Times
Chrome
None
Opera
JavaScript
Chrome
Opera, Safari
Firefox, Internet Explorer
DOM
Opera
None
Internet Explorer
Peacekeeper
Opera
Chrome
Internet Explorer
HTML5 Performance
Opera
None
None
Acid 3
Opera
Chrome, Safari
Internet Explorer
Flash
Opera
Internet Explorer
Chrome
Java
Opera
All
None
Silverlight
Opera
All
None
Other Tests
Memory Usage
FirefoxNone
Safari
Memory Management
Chrome
None
Firefox, Opera
CSS3 Compliance
Firefox
Chrome, Opera, Safari
Internet Explorer
HTML5 Compliance
Chrome
Firefox, Opera, Safari
Internet Explorer


In the previous Web Browser Grand Prix, Opera had a small lead on our winner Google Chrome when the results were broken down by category. This time around, Opera wrangles a massive victory, dominating in eight out of the fourteen categories. This makes Opera the hands down winner of Web Browser Grand Prix 2. Though Google Chrome holds a scant lead in points when taking all benchmarks into account, Opera easily wins the speed race and owns over half of the wins per category. Right now, the Norgwegian browser-maker is the only outfit that can claim to have "the world's fastest browser."

Will Opera continue to best the competition in almost every single speed test? Will Chrome again dominate JavaScript and Page Load Times? Will Apple ever get around to fixing Safari's CPU and memory issues (will Opera fix the latter)? Can anyone reach Firefox-level peak memory use, or match Chrome in management? With Chrome 6, Firefox 4, and Internet Explorer 9 just around the bend, it won't be too long before we find out. Until then, stay tuned to Tom's Hardware.

Follow Adam on Twitter

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
178 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • I've been using Firefox for about to two years now. I can't get enough of adblock plus. One of my favorite plug-ins.
    21
  • FF4 also has hardware acceleration
    20
  • But you know what, apple said they have the world's fastest browser. I think we should just pack up and call it a day. The spoken word of god is indisputable...
    14
  • Other Comments
  • July 7th - Firefox 4 beta released.
    Tom's impending road test STILL BEHIND THE TIMES
    -24
  • I agree. Firefox 4 was supposed to have the major speed up (especially in startup time.)
    -17
  • But you know what, apple said they have the world's fastest browser. I think we should just pack up and call it a day. The spoken word of god is indisputable...
    14
  • FF4 also has hardware acceleration
    20
  • I'm very happy to see my beloved Firefox's performance.Whatever people say about Opera and Chrome, Firefox is the best IMO.And Apple is proved to be a liar from this article.
    7
  • Honestly, does browser speed matter?
    -25
  • Forgot to add:I cant wait for the final release of FF 4!
    2
  • Great review,
    Have to wait for FF4 release to see how it performs compared to others
    9
  • I've been using Firefox for about to two years now. I can't get enough of adblock plus. One of my favorite plug-ins.
    21
  • lmao @ FFfanboys other review sites posted FF4 numbers, its performance is pathetic to say the least.
    2
  • @Lady slayer, and Boi, this is only for stable releases. Notice that Chrome 6 is not benchmarked. FF4 is a beta, the final product is a long ways off. Judging on what they promising and what they implemented so far in the beta and nightly builds, I wouldn't be surprised if FF4 was delayed until early next year.
    14
  • FF Fanboys always will be biases fanboys, but the fact is:
    Chrome and Opera are the best ones, the others are just slugs in a F1 race.
    That's the truth. Period.
    -8
  • I care not for speed, but for usability. Chrome's minimalistic design fits my simple needs.
    3
  • Using the Windows Task Manager to measure memory usage is flawed. Browsers like Chrome that use multiple processors will be incorrectly shown to use more memory than they actually are because of how memory is shared between each process. See http://google-chrome-browser.com/chromium-memory-usage-0 for more information.
    8
  • Used Firefox for yearssss. Just started using chrome a couple months ago and can't go back to slow ugly Firefox. Love the single address and search bar, tabs on top, minimalist design and speed of chrome.
    3
  • First can we have an article like this every month or so, just like the graphics cards for the money articles?

    Second, to sum up the article imo, IE is a clear loser, Safari comes 4th trailing Firefox in 3rd, while Chrome and Opera are up ahead, close enough to say that they share 1st and 2nd, depending on updates.
    1
  • Considering how many websites are yet to be optimised, crash or just do not work for Google Chrome I fail to understand how it can be classed as a winner. When it comes to everyday use for me Chrome is way behind other more established browsers.
    6
  • Firefox for Windows, Firefox for Mac OS X, Firefox for Linux & Firefox FTW.
    -7
  • How can Opera be #1 when they don't even have a simple ad-blocker? Functionality is much more important than a few ms of loading.
    7
  • I started using Opera on this computer and have loved it ever since. It's just... nice I suppose. Speed-wise 10.50 was quite a bit slower than Chrome, although when I upgraded to 10.60, I could feel a bit of a speed boost.
    9