Firefox 4 RC Review
By on March 12th, 2011

Update: Some sections of this article have been modified from their original form

The Release Candidate for Firefox 4 has been out for a few days now and I decided to put it through the paces. Though there wouldn’t me much to write about since my Firefox 4 Beta review, there are definitely some speed tests and other things I have done to compare it with other offerings available today.

UI Changes

As I had mentioned in my beta review, the user interface for 4 is completely different from earlier versions. It is similar to what other browser look like including Internet Explorer 9, and .

Firefox 4 User Interface

This is definitely good because users will have a unified experience across multiple browsers. Firefox 4 has combined all the menu items into a single menu item. However, individual menu items are available when you press the Alt key.

Firefox 4 though hasn’t gotten rid of the search box and continues to use it for dedicated searches. However, you can still use the address bar to perform searches.

More New Features

Other than these, Firefox 4 also has a new tab manager which allows you to manage open tabs. A new add-on manager, a new feature where you can search the address bar and switch to an open tab and more integration. I had covered all of these in my earlier Firefox 4 review so I would not want to repeat them again.

Firefox 4 RC Benchmark – How it Stacks Up?

Coming to my favorite part in this review, I ran a couple of benchmarks on Firefox 4 RC to understand how it stacked up against the several other browsers I use. These benchmarks were run on a hot instance of all the included browsers (the browsers were already open once before running the tests).

benchmark_browsers

Sadly, the tests did not backup Firefox 4 here. Firefox 4 was rated the second lowest in the Peacemaker tests after Safari of course. Way below Internet Explorer 9. By the way that Safari 4.0.4 is actually Google Chrome 12, somehow it identifies it wrong. I have made sure to make it apparent in the test results image too.

The winner of course was Opera 11.10 which is still in alpha stage and Google Chrome 12 which will be released soon. It goes to show where Mozilla’s efforts are.

Firefox 4 Acid Tests

Firefox 3 RC fared worse in their Acid3 tests than the beta versions. This was not unexpected, but I have hardly seen any browser go higher that this.

Of course, Firefox 4 might have higher ratings elsewhere, but this is definitely not something I would want to see Firefox 4 in the ratings. Alas, we can’t get everything we want can we?

Summarizing

Firefox 4 is a huge leap for Mozilla, it makes a lot of UI changes which will be unacceptable to many users so you can expect a lot of backlash when this goes live However, it is a move in the right direction and will pay off in the end.

However, there are quite a few things which lack in Firefox 4 and were supposed to be in Firefox 3.5. Do feel free to talk about your thoughts out here, in fact I would be very appreciative if you could share your benchmarks of different browsers too.

Redundant Section

This part of the article is redundant and it might have been a bug in my profile, please disregard it. You can click here to see this section.

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Author: Keith Dsouza Google Profile for Keith Dsouza
I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.

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  • Rolandixor

    you can install addons without restarting, it’s one of the new features (did you check?) – and I have some of the addons that allow it installed.

    • http://keithdsouza.com Keith Dsouza

      @Rolandixor – I tried installing add-ons and Firefox does need to be restarted after it is installed

  • John Smith

    You said Google has been removed and Bing is the default. This can’t be more wrong. Both are in the default search engines list which can be reverted to defaults using Restore Defaults. I don’t know if you edited your list or whatever, but Google hasn’t been removed.

    • http://keithdsouza.com Keith Dsouza

      @John – I did not modify the search engine list. This is a stock install and Google was missing in it

    • rm

      I’m running 3.6.14 and I don’t see google search option. I only have Bing too.

  • Tyler

    WOW WOW WOW, what can I say, but your article is so terrible mis informed and awful I can only hope you are joking.
    First, Mozilla has never cancelled a contract with Google, and there is no contract with Bing. Can you give a source saying that? Besides that it was missing on your install? You most likely were using an old profile, it doesn’t matter if you did a new install it still used the old profile.
    Second, Peacekeeper is a terrible benchmark. (http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/bz/archives/020664.html) for one example. Use something like sunspider, V8, Kraken, all of those are 100 times better and more accurate for real world tests than peacekeeper. Or do you just use peacekeeper because you can’t understand the output of those benchmarks?
    Restartles extension do exist (http://blog.mozilla.com/addons/2010/10/01/finding-restartless-add-ons-in-amo/). Just not all addons have been rewritten to support it, and not all addons can use the new API.
    Then, Acid 3, the final 4 points are useless SVG tests. read https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=410460 so you can understand how this works.
    And memory consumption? please, give real examples and research. And for the “However, there are quite a few things which lack in Firefox 4 and were supposed to be in Firefox 3.5.” Care to give a few examples with supporting links? this article wouldn’t be good enough for wikipedia. Do your research from now on please.

    • http://keithdsouza.com Keith Dsouza

      @Tyler – I appreciate you pointing out these things and apologize that some of the things were not on par. I have updated the post accordingly and marked the Search engine section as redundant. I would like to clarify things further.

      1. Mozilla and Bing did get into a deal to include the search engine in the list of available options, it was not the default though. I saw only Bing due to a bug with my profile. I have marked that section as redundant right now.

      2. Firefox 4 does support restartless install for extensions, but most of the one’s I installed required me to restart the browser, again that section has been updated.

      3. Some of the tests might be redundant, I just posted my findings about what I saw with existing tools. I will definitely use other benchmarks and update this post shortly.

  • Reuben

    Firefox 4 breaks most of my important and necessary add-ons. Even hacking the xpi files in an attempt to make them compatible won’t work. No way I can or will use it unless and until this changes

  • http://www.odinmetatech.com/ Eric

    I’ve tried Firefox and I liked the output. It looked somewhat like Google Chrome and Opera.

    What’s good about this browser is it doesn’t crash anymore. I only needed to get used to have the tabs be at the upper part of the screen and the bookmarks be where the tabs should be. I found it to be a little bit faster.

    How about you guys?

 
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