There is a large number of browsers available for OS X; considerably more than for Windows or any other platform. Which, obviously, is a good thing! Depending on your needs however, any of these browsers could be the best one in your mind. What follows is a rough breakdown of 7 browsers for OS X with a quick note outlining their base appeal, along with some pros and cons for each.
Right after the quick breakdowns is a poll asking you to select which browser you prefer. I’m really looking forward to hearing your preferences and opinions, so here we go…
Firefox is all the rave in the PC world, but here on the Mac side it’s not really that big of a deal, as we have such a wide range of browsers to choose from. Firefox is a real powerhouse mind you. While takes up a good chunk of the system memory it also has support for a whole world of add-ons, which some people find they can’t live without (like web developers).
Pros: Add-ons, themes, cross-platform.
Cons: Not that native, a well known memory pig.
Who it’s for: Anyone who works daily on both Macs and PC for familiarity’s sake, and people who can’t live without Firefox’s powerful extensions; power people.
Camino, also by Mozilla, supposedly fixes the problems with Firefox for Macs that so many users complain about. Add-ons don’t work here, but there is a sweet cocoa interface and it is considerably faster than Firefox and most other choices.
Pros: Native interface, faster browsing than Firefox.
Cons: No official add-ons (check out Pimp My Camino), can’t re-order tabs.
Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a clean, fast browser based on the gecko rendering engine.
Safari is Apple’s web browser that ships for free with OS X and runs on the snappy Webkit rendering engine. It is obviously Cocoa based and its main focus is simplicity and usability, which it does very very well. If you’re on a Mac you are definitely using Safari to some degree. Am I wrong?
Pros: Native interface, integrated with Mac OS X, built-in RSS reader.
Cons: No tab button (must use Command-T), few advanced features.
Who it’s for: For Mac purists and people who want a browser that does stuff fast and simple.
OmniWeb has been around a while and is what many people might call a “premium” web browser. It’s a bit difficult to gauge its overall popularity but it certainly has its fans. According to some it has the features of all other web browsers, and then some. That some will cost you $15 though.
Pros: Native interface, many advanced features including: session saver, RSS capabilities, built-in ad blocking, visual tabs.
Cons: Costs $14.95.
Who it’s for: People who want lots of advanced features but can’t stand Firefox. Also I guess people with $15 to blow on a web browser.
Flock is a browser based on Firefox that is helpful on integration with Web 2.0 services like Flickr, Del.icio.us, and more. Flock also seems focused on the management of media on the web, but overall it seems a bit bloated. Flock was reviewed recently here.
Pros: Nice theme, integration with pretty much any web service that you can think of, blogging and RSS features, compatible with most Firefox add-ons.
Cons: Interface not particularly native, somewhat bloated.
Who it’s for: People who are signed up and using many Web 2.0 services and want a browser to work with them nicely. People looking to ditch Firefox but not its plugins.
From Japan comes a relatively new contender in Shiira, touted as the next browser for Mac. Shiira is also based on Safari’s webkit rendering engine, and in many people’s opinion takes Safari to the next level.
Pros: Native theme, very similar in feel to Safari, “PageDock” alternative to tabs shows a preview of pages, very fast.
Cons: Can’t re-order tabs, feature set limited but expanding with new releases. Users still reporting crash issues.
Who it’s for: People who are signed up and using many Web 2.0 services, are beta friendly, or interested in a sleak, newskool style of browser.
Hmm really what can you say about Opera that hasn’t already been said? Opera has been around a long time and really is a powerful and stable web browser with some interesting end-user features. There I said it.
Pros: Webpage speed-dialing, cross-platform, long life cycle, dedicated developers and community, helpful features for the disabled and elderly.
Cons: Interface not native (seems a bit dated), quite bloated and needs to be paired down by the user.
Who it’s for: Some of my University professors use Opera. If you’re elderly, disabled, or looking or a browser you can scale down Opera might be for you.
So what’s my choice? Camino. I used to use Firefox, but these days it just feels too slow for my casual surfing sessions. I miss a couple of the extensions for Firefox (like the webdev stuff), but Camino fulfills most of my needs for a browser. My next favorite after that will have to be Safari or Shiira. They’re just so snappy and simple.
What browsers do you use? Let us know by voting and if possible explain your reasons by commenting below.