Apple unveils faster, non-beta Safari browser for Windows


— 3:30 PM on March 18, 2008

After unleashing a beta version of its Safari 3 browser upon the Windows-using masses last spring, Apple has finally taken the browser out of beta with the new 3.1 release. This new version introduces several enhancements, including a snappier rendering engine, new developer tools, support for HTML 5 audio and video tags, and support for CSS 3 animations. You can read more about Safari 3.1 in Apple's official product overview (PDF).

We were curious to see just how fast the new browser is compared to the competition (not to mention its own direct predecessor), so we ran the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark on an older laptop with a 1.7GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of RAM, and Windows XP SP2. In that test, Safari 3.1 scored 5,861ms, narrowly outperforming the 6,329ms score reached by Firefox 3 beta 4. Apple's latest browser also handily outperformed both the older Safari 3.0.4 beta release, which scored 14,881ms, and the latest Firefox 2 release, which only managed 30,671ms.

Safari 3.1's performance isn't all numbers, either: the new browser really feels incredibly snappy and smooth, whether it's browsing TR, posting in the comments section, or sifting through e-mails in GMail. However, Safari does defy Windows convention, and its Apple-style font antialiasing and lack of support for autoscroll certainly aren't for everyone. The browser can be downloaded from this page.

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