Safari 7.0 review
- How does the Safari web browser compare to rival browsers
- What are the best new features in Safari 7
- Safari 7.0 speed tests. How fast is the Safari web browser compared to Chrome and Firefox
Safari 7 is Apple’s latest web browser for Mac OS X Mavericks. It is pre-installed with the Apple operating system and comes free with all Apple Mac computers. Safari offers a clean interface with some charming features (like Shared Links and Sidebar bookmarks). It has historically offered dazzling performance in a neck-by-neck race against Google Chrome and outpacing all other rivals.
Apple Safari is the default web browser for the Mac (although you can change this in Safari Preferences, unlike in iOS which uses it as the permanent native browser).
Because Safari is the default web browser many of its features and services are integrated tightly with the rest of the Mac OS X operating system. So it’s important that Safari isn’t just any old web browser: it has to be a very good one.
Fortunately it is. Since it’s introduction in 2003 the Safari web browser has consistently been a compelling alternative to its more popular rivals. It’s known for being extremely fast, and pleasant to look at and it has almost all of the functionality of rival browsers plus a few additional features.
Safari for the Mac consistently accounts for five per cent of all global desktop traffic, which given the continued existence of older versions of windows in workplaces is regarded as healthy (the iOS version picks up around 60 per cent). The Mac version of Safari is clearly important to the ever increasing number of Mac users.
What distinguishing features does Safari have
Safari has a number of features that separate it from the competition. Here is some of the things people love about Safari (and things to check out if you haven’t done so already):
- Safari Reader. A native service that enables you to save web pages to a list that can be read later. When you read pages they are removed from the list. This saves you from cluttering up bookmarks or you inbox with news stories and articles that you don't’ want to forget about, but only want to read once.
- iCloud tabs and bookmarks. If you’re signed in to iCloud you can open pages from other versions of Safari running in Macs or iOS devices. So you can open a page on the Mac and quickly carry on viewing it on an iPad or iPhone. Bookmarks are synced across iCloud so they are the same on your Mac and iOS devices.
- Safari Extensions. There are a range of extensions that enable you to customise and enhance the web browser.
- Twitter and Facebook integration. You can share Safari pages with Twitter and FaceBook at the touch of a button thanks to Mac OS X’s built in social media integration.
- Top Sites. The default startup page automatically displays the sites you visit most often, this makes it easy to navigate to your favourite web sites. You can control and remove this list if you’d rather keep it more personal.
- Integration with Mac apps. The Safari app is integrated with other apps, including Mail, Photo, and Messages so you can quickly email pages or save image to iPhoto, for example.
Safari review: What standard features does Safari have?
Safari is a web browser in a busy market. It’s competition includes Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Many of these different browsers share a lot of features with each other, here are some features that Safari has that are fairly standard across the board:
- Autofill. You can enter information automatically from Mac OS X Contacts into web page forms.
- Private browsing. A private browsing mode is ideal for viewing web pages without leaving a trace in your history. It’s perfect for shopping for a surprise gift online, as the advert says. Although everybody knows it’s often used when viewing some of the shadier parts of the internet.
- Support for CSS3 and HTML5. These are two under-the-hood technologies that allow for custom animations and special interactive features with the need for Flash. Safari does not come pre-installed with Flash, but it can be installed separately.
- Inline PDF viewing. You can view PDF files inside the Safari web browser.
- Pop-up ad blocker. Pop-up windows are automatically blocked )this can be disabled in Settings).
What is new in Safari 7
The new version of Safari brings a few new features to the table. Here are some of the new features in Safari 7:
- New look top sites. The top sites page has had a redesign and now sports larger pages without the curved view.
- Safari 7 Sidebar. There is a new Safari Sidebar that integrates your bookmarks with the Reading list and Shared Links.
- Shared Links. This is an innovative new feature that collects all the links that have been shared by people you follow in Twitter. It’s a great way to discover something to read. You can retweet pages inside the Safari web browser with a single click.
- Power saver. Safari 7.0 pauses any plug-ins when they’re not in use. It’s all part of Apple’s plan to ensure that the new MacBooks run for as long as possible.
- iCloud Keychain. Safari integrates with the new iCloud Keychain which is used to store and generate random passwords for use online. It can also safely store your credit card information.
Are the new Safari 7 features any good?
Yes: Shared Links in particular gets a big upvote from us. It’s a really neat way to search your new sites. The Safari Sidebar is also a good new feature and it’s particularly good to see our Reading List being given a bit more prominence.
On the whole though there aren’t actually that many new features in Safari 7.0. It’s visually quite different but much of what it offers is similar to before.
Safari 7.0 Speed test
We used the PeaceKeeper universal speed test top test out Safari . The base machine we used was a MacBook Pro Mid 2009 with 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 8GB RAM running Mavericks 10.9 (13A603). We tested a few browser and the results were
So it seems that Chrome has a speed advantage to Safari at the moment. They tend to move back and forth so we’d imagine Apple is looking to outpace them again soon. Although it’s worth pointing out that both are blisteringly fast at the moment compared to other browsers such as Firefox..
If you get Mavericks then you’ve no choice but to upgrade to Safari 7.0. And you should upgrade to the latest Safari 6.1 even if you’re on an older web browser (which offers much of the same functionality.) The real question is whether you should use Safari instead of Chrome or Firefox. It’s a tough call, especially with Chrome being just a smidgen faster. People who work closely within the Google Ecosystem may also prefer Google Chrome’s tighter integration with Google apps. But for most Mac users we think Safari stands above the competition in terms of features.