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Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

Apple Safari 4 review

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Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Apple Safari 4 is more than just one of the fastest web browsers available for Windows and Mac. UPDATED 9 JUNE 2009.

Apple Safari 4 is more than just one of the fastest web browsers for Windows and Mac. UPDATED 9 JUNE 2009.

Apple's web browser has been around for six years, and with Safari 4 we find a stable, mature web browser with both excellent speed and standards compliance.

Safari debuted in Mac OS X 10.3, but many people today will be familiar with Safari as the web browser for the iPhone. For the principal two personal computer OSes in the world, we now have Safari 4 for Mac and for Windows, the fastest and most feature-packed iteration yet of this relative newcomer.

But being an Apple app, more features doesn't immediately equal more user complexity. Open Safari 4, and the main window is automatically populated with Top Sites, a wall of thumbnail pages based on your browsing habits. Clicking on any of these brings you directly to your site, making a good visual aid to quick browsing.

You can also manually assign what sites will appear in this space, and the thumbnails you see are updated regularly, to reflect up-to-date content on your favourite sites, all in miniature.

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To customise the layout, you just click the Edit button in the bottom left corner, and select either the X to delete or a pin symbol to ‘fix' any displayed site.

Safari was one of the first web browsers to include tabs to allow easy switching between different pages within the same window. Safari 4 beta, released earlier this year, put those tabs above the address bar, increasing space available to view page content below.

This had the side effect of removing the easy reordering of tab positions just by dragging. It also made complete window reposition somewhat more challenging, as grabbing the window by its top bar could cause an inadvertate switch to the page of the tab you picked up.

Apple may have listened to the critics; the tabs are now firmly back below the navigation bar, in what must be said is a more visually elegant arrangement.

NEXT PAGE: Speed and recent changes >>

Apple Safari 4 Expert Verdict »

Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista
256MB RAM
500MHz Intel Pentium processor. Any Mac running Security Update 2009-001 and Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.6 or Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11, Mac with an Intel processor or a Power PC G5, G4, or G3 processor and built-in FireWire
256MB of RAM
Top Sites and Cover Flow on Mac OS X Tiger require a Quartz-Extreme compatible video card
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 9 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Safari 4 has come out of its short beta period to blossom as a remarkably attractive and well featured modern web browser. For Windows users, Safari has previously been something of an also-ran behind Firefox and IE, but with Safari 4, the browser could catch up on XP to Windows 7 systems too. Safari 4 is extremely fast in its page rendering thanks to the refined WebKit engine, and offers some genuinely useful user interface elements which make finding sites quicker and browsing a more comfortable experience.

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