Google Chrome 5 review

Bug-free and beautifully designed, Google Chrome 5 strives to combine the best of all browser worlds. Like Mozilla’s Firefox, Chrome lets users customize its appearance and functionality. But it may also be the first Mac browser to truly give Safari’s raw power a run for its money.

This chrome comes with a V8

On a 2GHz aluminum MacBook with 2GB RAM, I tested Chrome 5 against its latest competitors: Safari 5, Firefox 3.6.3, and Opera 10.53.

Chrome runs as close as any browser can to the bleeding edge of Web standards. Though it uses the same open source WebKit rendering engine as Safari, it doesn’t reliably support the controversial, proprietary CSS3 transformation and animation tricks that Apple’s built into Safari. However, like every browser I tested, it earned a perfect score in a compatibility test for CSS3 selectors, and it joined Safari and Opera with a flawless score of 100 in the Acid3 web standards benchmark. Chrome 5 also supports both Apple’s H.264 codec and Mozilla’s preferred open source Ogg Theora technology for plugin-free HTML5 video, and it beautifully played back HTML5 demo videos from YouTube and Brightcove.

In XHTML and CSS tests, Chrome was surprisingly slower than Safari, despite their shared rendering engine – but the race was close. Safari rendered a local XHTML test page in 0.58 seconds to Chrome’s 0.78 seconds, and a local CSS test page in 33 milliseconds to Chrome’s 51 milliseconds. Note that Chrome still rendered XHTML more than twice as fast as Opera (1.67 seconds) and left Firefox (12.42 seconds—no, that’s not a typo) eating its dust. In CSS, it also beat the pants off Opera (193 milliseconds) and Firefox (342 milliseconds).

Google Chrome

But Chrome shines brightest when handling JavaScript. Its V8 engine zipped through the SunSpider Javascript benchmark in 448.6 milliseconds, narrowly beating Opera’s 485.8 milliseconds, and absolutely plastering Firefox’s 1,161.4 milliseconds. However, Safari 5’s time of 376.3 miliseconds in the SunSpider test beat Chrome 5 handily.

Chrome’s focus on JavaScript makes sense; the technology underpins the many Web-based tools Google’s pushing as alternatives to conventional software. It’s in Google’s best interest to offer a browser that handles those sites faster than anything else.

Google Chrome

A polished experience

Chrome felt pleasantly brisk and responsive in general use, rendering pages and starting up with speeds roughly equivalent to Safari. I also liked Chrome’s appealing interface, with smoothly animated tabs that popped up or down when opened or closed, and slid easily back and forth when reordered.

In several days of consistent use on a variety of sites, Chrome rendered pages spotlessly and didn’t crash once. Google has heavily touted Chrome’s “sandboxing” feature, in which each tab in the browser is its own separate process. If some glitch makes one tab crash, the others can keep running without bringing down the entire browser.

Featurewise, Chrome offers the usual slate of privacy and security features found on most modern browsers, all competently executed. But it lacks additional touches like Firefox’s clever “Forget This Site” option in the browser history. Chrome does ape Firefox with a collection of artistic themes to gussy up your browser window, and an impressive library of user-created extensions.

Google Chrome

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