Safari 3 for Windows - Review Roundup

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By: switchtoamac at: 12:42 PM on June 27, 2007 | Comments (0)
It has been just over two weeks since Apple released Safari 3 Public Beta for Windows.  Reviews, analysis, and feedback have been trickling in since the release.  This post will summarize a few of the reviews to date.

Rob Galbraith DPI: Safari 3 brings colour-managed web browsing to Windows
In his June 12, 2007 review, Rob Galbraith indicates that Safari 3 allows Windows users to view color-managed photos in a web browser.

"Apple's release of a public beta of Safari 3 makes practical the colour-managed viewing of photos within a Windows web browser for the first time. In a workout of Safari 3 within Windows XP and Vista here, the new browser properly displayed pictures with embedded ICC profiles, just like Safari 3 (and earlier) does on the Mac. For that reason alone, Windows users may want to take the Safari 3 public beta for a spin, especially if you visit websites (like this one) that publish pictures with profiles embedded."

"We've only tested the program's handling of JPEGs with embedded profiles. It's likely to work with other profile-compatible file formats such as TIFF, but we haven't confirmed this."

Joel On Software: Font smoothing, anti-aliasing, and sub-pixel rendering

In his June 12, 2007 review, Joel Spolsky details how Apple and Microsoft have disagreed in how to display fonts on computer displays.  He makes references to the new Safari 3.

"Apple generally believes that the goal of the algorithm should be to preserve the design of the typeface as much as possible, even at the cost of a little bit of blurriness."

"Microsoft generally believes that the shape of each letter should be hammered into pixel boundaries to prevent blur and improve readability, even at the cost of not being true to the typeface."

"Now that Safari for Windows is available, which goes to great trouble to use Apple's rendering algorithms, you can actually compare the philosophies side-by-side on the very same monitor and see what I mean. I think you'll notice the difference. Apple's fonts are indeed fuzzy, with blurry edges, but at small font sizes, there seems to be much more variation between different font families, because their rendering is truer to what the font would look like if it were printed at high resolution."

"The difference originates from Apple's legacy in desktop publishing and graphic design. The nice thing about the Apple algorithm is that you can lay out a page of text for print, and on screen, you get a nice approximation of the finished product. This is especially significant when you consider how dark a block of text looks. Microsoft's mechanism of hammering fonts into pixels means that they don't really mind using thinner lines to eliminate blurry edges, even though this makes the entire paragraph lighter than it would be in print."

"Typically, Apple chose the stylish route, putting art above practicality, because Steve Jobs has taste, while Microsoft chose the comfortable route, the measurably pragmatic way of doing things that completely lacks in panache. To put it another way, if Apple was Target, Microsoft would be Wal-Mart."

"Apple users liked Apple's system, while Windows users liked Microsoft's system. This is not just standard fanboyism; it reflects the fact that when you ask people to choose a style or design that they prefer, unless they are trained, they will generally choose the one that looks most familiar. In most matters of taste, when you do preference surveys, you'll find that most people don't really know what to choose, and will opt for the one that seems most familiar."

LA Times: Give Safari for Windows a try
In a June 14, 2007 review, Lou Dolinar suggests that Windows users should try the Safari 3.0 Web browser.

"Safari will run on most everything: Macs, PCs, iPhones, maybe eventually Apple TV. For iPhone toters, the experience will be the same on all devices, and presumably Safari will keep organized all those niggling details that are difficult to coordinate across different hardware setups when they're running disparate software."

"For programmers, Safari isn't just a browser. It's starting to look like a pseudo operating system that allows them to write for one standard interface and have their stuff run anywhere."

"How does Safari shape up as a browser? Download it yourself, free, just like I did, and find out. I'm not a power browser, and the features I use are comparable to Firefox and Internet Explorer. It is certainly prettier than Explorer, since it looks like iTunes."

"Performance-wise, especially considering the version that's currently available for download is in beta, it seems to live up to Apple's claims that it is twice as fast as Internet Explorer 7 at rendering pages. There has been some criticism of how it renders type: Indeed, load in IE and Safari, and you'll find Safari type notably fuzzier than IE's. While there have been some reports of security bugs, it probably is still safer than IE because it does not incorporate Active X controls, those mini-programs much beloved by Web developers and spyware authors."

Computerworld: First look: Apple's Safari beta -- what's new, what it means

In a June 14, 2007 review, Michael DeAgonia states that Safari on Windows looks similar to Safari on the Mac.

"But Apple's simultaneous release of Safari Version 3 for Mac- and Windows-based systems marked a major step for Apple into the browser wars. While this may be the third version of Safari for Mac users, this is the first time Apple has released Safari for Windows. On the Mac side, Safari has seen some dramatic market share growth in recent months, even though Apple's computer market share remains small compared to Windows. (Even so, the Mac market share itself is also rising.)"

"Safari on Windows looks pretty much like Safari on the Mac, save for the shape and positioning of the close, minimize and zoom buttons. Other than that, it's nearly identical. The feature sets are the same as well, from bookmark organization to the built-in RSS reader. Even the text renders the same, though there's debate over whether that's good or bad. And as you'd expect, the menus -- which show up in the menu bar on Macs -- are in their proper Windows location at the top of the Safari browser window."

"I downloaded and installed Safari on both Windows XP and Vista, using Parallels Desktop for Mac on an Intel-based MacBook and a Mac Mini. All of Safari's new 3.0 features are there, too: movable tabs (which allow dragging of tabs form their own windows), real-time text searching featuring an intuitive interface dubbed "inline find," text fields that can be resized and an adjustable history."

"Inline find will be extremely useful to a lot of users. This new feature can be activated byselectingEdit>Find>Find, or simply Crtl+F. Activating the find feature slides a search bar from underneath your bookmarks or tabs. Like Spotlight on the Mac, searches are instantaneous and search results are dwindled down with each successive keystroke."

"Another new feature is movable tabs. They do exactly what you'd expect: allow you to move tabs around when browsing just by dragging and dropping. As an added effect, pulling a tab from the tab bar actually causes the tab to shift from a tab to an icon-size preview of the Web page. Releasing the mouse at this point scales the window up to full size, similar to MacOS X's Dock effect, Scale."

"Despite some beta hiccups, various reviews have confirmed one consistent fact: Safari is fast. Very fast. Apple says this browser renders HTML twice as fast as Internet Explorer 7 and 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2. I didn't benchmark it, but I can say it is indeed faster than either one. Javascript also shows obvious speed increases."

"there are three versions of Safari: one for Mac OS X, one for XP and one for Vista."

"Safari represents another move by Apple to get its highly touted software in front of people who may never have heard of Safari, much less tried out Apple's other apps or hardware. Woo them with a few well-crafted programs such as Safari or iTunes, and -- Jobs no doubt hopes -- you can win them to the operating system itself."

The Detroit News: Apple takes Windows Web surfers on a Safari
In a June 15, 2007 review, Tom Gromak states that Safari for Windows is "slick, lean, and fast".

"A public beta of Apple's previously Mac-only web browser was recently released in flavors for both OS X and for Windows. It's slick. It's lean. It's fast. And with a plug-in architecture like Firefox, it promises to offer a little something for everyone."

"In an ironic twist, I installed Safari 3 flawlessly on both my Windows Vista PC and in Parallels, the virtual computer application that allows me to run Windows XP alongside OS X on my MacBook Pro. But Safari 3 seemed to want no part of my MacBook, offering up only a couple of cryptic messages about my drive being unsuitable for installation. Whatever that means."

"But I already know what Safari does on OS X. I was interested in what it does in Windows. A lot, it turns out."

"The browser is fast. It loads fast. It builds Web pages fast (faster than IE and Firefox, it seems). And it has some features built in that improve and speed your browsing experience: a better automatic form filling function, built-in RSS, tabbed browsing and a feature called "snap back" that lets you mark your entry point into a web site, click around, and eventually snap back to your entry point with a single press of the backspace key, negating the need to click-click-click your browser's back button."

"Its robust pop-up blocker is powerful and efficient, even neutralizing the pop-ups on the Web site (with all apologies to the advertising department)."

"And it's got innovative new tools like "inline find," used for finding text on the web page you're viewing simply by typing it into the same menubar search box you might otherwise use to search Google (or your search engine of choice); and resizable text fields, which allow you to make Web-form text-entry boxes bigger by simply grabbing and dragging a corner of the box. No more trying to enter five paragraphs into a 3-line window."

"Will it supplant Internet Explorer, the 800-pound gorilla, or Firefox, the most potent but still-distant contender? That remains to be seen. But the move appears both brilliant and coordinated at a time when more Windows users than ever -- this one included -- have contemplated or flat-out switched to the Macintosh platform based on the change to Intel chips and features like Boot Camp or Parallels that allow you to take your Windows applications with you, and a time when the iPhone -- and the ability to use it like and sync it with a Mac -- add still more value to being a switcher."

"The Safari browser is yet another shot across Microsoft's bow and another opportunity to chip away at the world's most dominant operating system's lead."

Switch To A Mac comment: With respect to the "ironic twist", let's not forget that Safari 3 is still in beta!

Safari 3 public beta can be downloaded from Apple.

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