When it comes to Web browsing on your Windows 8 tablet, chances are you've already picked your favorite browser for the job. But you might be missing out. The best browsers can enhance your surfing experience with fast speeds, comprehensive standards support and intuitive navigation. We put the three leading browsers for Windows 8's "Metro" mode -- Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer -- to the test to see which one will serve you best.
Round 1: Interface (30 points)
From button placement to changing tabs, your browser's layout is fundamental to how quickly and comfortably you can surf the Web.
Chrome for Windows 8's Metro mode simulates a Chrome OS desktop, with the familiar browser layout open as a window accompanied by app icons for Gmail, Google search, Docs and YouTube in a taskbar at the bottom. Apart from the surrounding desktop, Google's browser for Metro mode is no different from its desktop version, with navigation icons and the URL bar positioned at the top.
MORE: 10 Must-Have Apps for 2014
Both Internet Explorer and Firefox in Metro mode place the navigation panel at the bottom for easier access with your thumbs. Internet Explorer's navigation panel is somewhat cluttered, with buttons for Back, Refresh, Tabs, Favorites and Settings sitting along a URL and search bar. Firefox employs a cleaner approach, with just Back, Favorites, Pin and Options buttons next to its Awesome Bar (URL and Search field).
These bottom panels in both Firefox and Internet Explorer auto-hide so you can enjoy full-screen viewing. However, Firefox goes a step further to make things easier and prettier by overlaying translucent Back and New Tab buttons on the left and right of the screen so you don't have to leave a full screen just to open a new tab.
All three browsers support swiping left and right to move through back and forward through visited pages.
Internet Explorer and Firefox both helpfully suggest sites you might be looking for as you enter a URL or keyword in the address bar, and these results are tiled just above the field so you can easily tap them. But when it comes to scrolling through the tabs you have open, Internet Explorer has the edge, displaying them just above the address bar when you hit Tabs while Firefox docks them at the top of the screen.
Each time you open a new tab, Firefox displays a pretty speed dial of your recent, most visited pages and your most frequented bookmarks so you don't have to waste time typing URLs. Internet Explorer suggests frequent sites, but only within a black panel above the keyboard, which affords it less space.
When it comes to switching between Desktop and Metro modes, Firefox offers the most seamless transition. You can easily re-launch the browser in your preferred format by tapping the Options button next to the Awesome Bar, and your open tabs are preserved whenever you switch. Chrome provides easy access to the re-launch tool, but its tiny interface makes the option hard to find, and neither browser maintains your open tabs. Internet Explorer maintains two different and unrelated browsers at the same time, one for desktop and one for Metro.
Winner: Firefox. We love the simple navigation panel, the helpful new tab page and the seamless switching between desktop and Metro modes.
Round 2: Speed (30 points)
Though the performance of your Web connection and your CPU do more to determine your overall surfing speed, your browser also has a role to play.
Using the Numion website loading stopwatch tool, we measured how long it took each browser to load NYTimes.com and Laptopmag.com. Between each round of tests, carried out on the same Windows 8.1 tablet (Acer Iconia W4) over the same Wi-Fi connection, we cleared the cache for each browser.
Across all the different pages, Firefox consistently emerged as the speediest browser. It fully loaded NYTimes.com and Laptopmag.com in an average of 3.21 seconds and 4.85 seconds, respectively. Internet Explorer came in second overall, pushing the same sites through in an average of 4.17 seconds and 5.41 seconds. Chrome brought up the rear, displaying NYTimes.com and Laptopmag.com in 5.06 seconds and 6.94 seconds.
Chrome took the lead in HTML5 loading speeds, however, beating the others on Peacekeeper with its score of 1,156. Firefox followed with 879, while Internet Explorer delivered a poorer 672.
MORE: Top 25 Windows 8 Apps
On more taxing tasks, such as rendering a complex WebGL (Web Graphics Language) environment, Firefox lost its lead to Chrome. While Firefox maintained 45 fps with 50 fish and 41 fps with 100 fish in the tank simulation (Chrome got 40 / 39 fps), Google's browser pulled ahead when 250 fish were thrown in the mix, providing 37 fps against Firefox's 32 fps. Internet Explorer delivered a poorer 43 fps at 50 fish, 39 fps at 100 fps and a weak 29 fps with 250 fish.
While Chrome delivered better Peacekeeper scores, the app's performance was unfortunately clunky and glitchy during our testing. This means that while HTML5-heavy pages may load faster on Chrome, you'll spend so much time trying to open tabs because the overall experience is frustratingly slow.
Winner: Firefox. Blazing page loading speeds and overall faster performance makes this app the Flash of the browser world.
Round 3: Special Features (20 points)
Since Chrome for Windows 8 is basically the desktop version of the browser bundled with Google's OS, you get access to a world of more than 30,000 apps, extensions and add-ons that make your browser more feature-rich. You also get tab indicators to show you, at a glance, which of your pages is making noise or playing a video.
Given the mobile environment, though, the usefulness of these features is questionable. Each Chrome tab is tiny on an 8-inch tablet's screen, and the indicator symbols become minuscule and hard to see. (The experience on larger screens is more comfortable.) You're also less likely to use a Chrome Web app such as Pixlr Photo Editor when you can use Photoshop Express and other full-fledged programs on your device.
Both Internet Explorer and Firefox offer useful special features, such as Do Not Track to signal to servers not to record your presence. While all three browsers can be used in Windows 8.1's split screen mode, only Internet Explorer can be docked side by side with another window of itself. This is especially useful for times when you want to compare two different cinema listings, for example. You can't do this with Chrome or Firefox.
Internet Explorer, not surprisingly, boasts comprehensive native integration. You can pin specific sites to your Start screen as a Live Tile to get notifications when the Web page is updated, split the display between up to four windows for side-by-side browsing and easily call numbers on websites with Skype Click to Call. A built-in Reading List app lets you save pages and read them when you have time later. Microsoft's browser also boasts a Flip ahead feature that lets you scroll through parts of a multi-page article by swiping from the right side of the screen to go to the next page.
MORE: 8 Worst Windows 8 Annoyances and How to Fix Them
Internet Explorer 11 comes with Adobe Flash installed out-of-the-box so you don't have to go through the troublesome process of loading the plug-in for yourself. The browser can also detect your gyroscope so you can use websites that make use of the hardware just like an app. However, few sites actually use this feature.
Winner: Internet Explorer. It's no surprise that the default browser comes packed with excellent device integration, and we especially like being able to view two websites side by side.
Round 4: Standards Support (15 points)
We put all three browsers through a series of tests to see how well they supported common Web standards.
Chrome stood out when it came to HTML5 support, scoring 505 out of 555 on the HTML5test.com benchmark. This test checks to see if your browser is capable of displaying common HTML5 features, such as drag-and-drop, graphics rendering, geolocation and device orientation.
Firefox came in second with 458, while Internet Explorer delivered a mere 372. Internet Explorer also met just five of seven HTML5 capabilities on the Peacekeeper test where Firefox and Chrome both met all seven.
MORE: 8 Essential Tips for Your New Windows 8 PC
Chrome also did well on CSS3 support, scoring 60 percent on the CSS3 test and beating Firefox (58 percent) and Internet Explorer (53 percent).
Thanks to its support of the Lazyload tag, Internet Explorer 11 can also let developers lower the priority of an item, keeping unwanted items like ads from clogging up bandwidth while you load a site.
Winner: Chrome. Google's browser better supports common Web standards, with Firefox coming in a close second.
Round 5: Syncability (15 points)
Often, you want to move from your mobile device to your desktop for a fuller reading experience, but transferring your many open tabs can be troublesome. Thankfully, all three browsers let you sync your content across devices so you won't have to manually hunt down the specific site you were reading. Some browsers do this better, bookmarking your last position on the page so you can pick up right where you left off.
With Chrome, simply sign into your Google account to pull your open tabs across various linked devices. You can choose to open pages by clicking Recent Tabs under the Options button, which saves not only pages that are open on connected systems but also a full browsing history of the past four months. You can also search this log, arranged in chronological order, so hunting for that one page you visited that one time about an obscure topic is easy.
Firefox Sync's setup process is somewhat tedious. You'll have to sign in to your Firefox account via the browser in the desktop environment. The browser generates three sets of short codes, which you'll have to enter into the device you want to link to your account. Getting to the page to input these codes takes quite a few steps, which is troublesome.
Once you've gone through the setup process, Firefox lets you sync your add-ons, bookmarks, history, tabs and preferences, and save passwords. It's a nifty feature since you won't have to retype passwords into pages you've already signed into - Firefox Sync remembers and fills those fields in for you. Unfortunately, you won't be able to sync your open tabs. The feature also doesn't work properly if you have beta and production versions of Firefox installed on the same device.
You can only sync content on Internet Explorer across Windows 8.1 devices, which limits the usefulness of this feature. It's also tedious to set up; you'll need to enable Web Browser in Sync Settings in each of your Windows 8.1 devices after you've signed into them. We would prefer being able to sign into and pull open tabs and preferences directly from Internet Explorer itself rather than having to dig into the pits of Microsoft's settings.
Once your devices are set up, though, the interface for IE is fairly simple. Just click the drop-down arrow next to Tabs when you open a new tab and you can open any page from your connected devices.
Winner: Chrome. A simple sign-in process without the need to create a separate account if you already are a user of Google's other services gives Chrome the edge. A comprehensive backlog of visited pages is another plus.
Speedy load times, a clean interface and good support for standards make Firefox our top browser for Windows 8.1's Modern environment. While Chrome has better support for Web standards and simpler syncing capabilities, it desperately needs a touch-optimized interface. Also, throughout our testing, Chrome was by far the glitchiest browser, often crashing or refusing to register our touch.
Like Firefox, Internet Explorer has a touch-friendly interface and it adds the advantage of being able to launch more than one Metro window, but slower speeds, worse standards support and a completely separate desktop browser hold it back. Bottom line: You can't go wrong with Mozilla's browser for your Windows 8.1 device.
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Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.
Which browser works best with Windows 8? ›
Google Chrome is the best browser for Windows 8 and other operating systems.Which is better Google Chrome or Internet Explorer? ›
When it comes time to compare Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, the biggest difference users will find is their design. Google Chrome is built with the latest Web ideas in mind, boasting both usability and a sleek look. Internet Explorer, on the other hand, is crowded and still clings to outdated design elements.Is Internet Explorer or Firefox better? ›
In a head-to-head comparison, it's really no contest at all. Firefox is hands down the winner across all assessment categories. If you do find yourself at Nana's house firing up Internet Explorer, maybe you want to do Nana a favor and download Firefox for her.Is Firefox or Chrome better for Windows? ›
Firefox is a more private and secure browser than Chrome, but Chrome is faster and contains more features. Is Firefox Safer Than Chrome? Both browsers are safe, but Firefox's tracking protection is more comprehensive than Chrome's.Which is the fastest browser for Windows? ›
Google Chrome is the fastest web browser you can get on a Windows machine. It surpassed the competition in three out of four tests, outranking even Microsoft's latest Edge browser—which is now based on Chromium—in all but one test.Which browser uses least RAM? ›
- Web Browser #1: Microsoft Edge.
- Web Browser #2: Opera.
- Web Browser #3: Brave.
- Web Browser #4: Mozilla Firefox.
- Web Browser #5: Google Chrome.
Chrome accomplishes that by achieving a level of simplicity that Internet Explorer can't muster. For novice Web users especially, that simplified interface is extremely important. Internet Explorer has been criticized over the years for being slow. Getting to Web pages takes longer than it should.What browser should I use? ›
Google Chrome: The best for Mac. Opera Mini: The best for mobile. Vivaldi: The fastest web browser. Tor: The most secure web browser.Which is the fastest browser? ›
- Chrome — The overall fastest browser, and one of the most popular browsers.
- Microsoft Edge — A close runner-up to Chrome, and Chrome's equal in practice.
- Opera — The third-fastest browser, but its speed is hampered by its abundance of features.
- Firefox. Firefox is a robust browser when it comes to both privacy and security. ...
- Google Chrome. Google Chrome is a very intuitive internet browser. ...
- Chromium. Google Chromium is the open-source version of Google Chrome for people who want more control over their browser. ...
- Brave. ...
What is the difference between Internet Explorer Firefox and Chrome? ›
Firefox is the most customizable browser and includes a built-in PDF viewer that's surprisingly handy. Google Chrome (which is different from the Google Search Engine) has always been the most reliable and simplest of these browsers. It provides a lean browsing experience without a lot of bells and whistles.What is the best browser in 2022? ›
- Microsoft Edge. Our top web browser, thanks to great speeds, and efficient power useage. ...
- Google Chrome. A great web browser if you use the Google suite, but is power hungry. ...
- Mozilla Firefox. Stay safe and secure online with the most secure web browser. ...
- Vivaldi. ...
- Apple Safari. ...
- Opera. ...
- Maxthon. ...
- Avast Secure Browser Pro.
Coming in at number 3 is Mozilla's popular and privacy-minded browser, Firefox. And no, despite the browser's reputation for efficiency, it can take up almost just as much RAM as Chrome. When tested with 10 tabs open, Firefox occupied about 960MBs of memory, which is only slightly less than Chrome.Does Chrome use a lot of RAM? ›
If you have ever run your own browser RAM-use test, there's a strong chance you found Chrome using more RAM than other browsers. Google Chrome is absolutely one of the fastest browsers, but it needs a lot of RAM to take that title.Is Chrome safer than Firefox? ›
With your security settings fully optimised, there is not a huge difference between Firefox and Chrome. That said, many cyber security experts consider Chrome to be the market leader for a range of anti-malware threats that you might come into contact with while browsing.Is Mozilla faster than Chrome? ›
That being said, Mozilla Firefox wins the race in this comparison of Chrome vs. Firefox. Although Chrome has excellent features, it does not have features that the user could engage more with. However, they can add extensions to make it useful.Is there a better browser than Chrome? ›
Microsoft Edge comes a close second. It supports all the same browser extensions as Google Chrome, due to it being based on the same Chromium engine. However, it's noticeably less demanding on RAM, allowing for faster performance - plus it now comes with an in-built password manager (opens in new tab).Why is Chrome so slow? ›
To fix Google Chrome when it's running slow, try clearing its cache or wiping the browser history. You can also try deleting unnecessary extensions or adding extensions that improve performance. If your Chrome browser is outdated, updating it can also help improve performance.Which browser is best for old computer? ›
- K-Meleon. According to the developers, K-Meleon can run on as little as 20 MB of RAM. ...
- Falkon. Falkon is another lightweight web browser available on both Windows and Linux platforms. ...
- Pale Moon. ...
- Lunascape Orion. ...
- UR Browser. ...
- SeaMonkey. ...
- Slim Browser.
Opera is the least memory-intensive browser. It consumes less RAM and helps you browse the Internet at faster speeds on Windows 10 PC. Q4. Is Opera a lightweight browser?
What is the lightest web browser for Windows? ›
- SRWare Iron.
- Pale Moon.
- AVG Secure Browser.
The winner: Chrome. Accuvant's analysis concluded that Chrome was, by far, more secure than IE. In turn, IE was found to be somewhat more secure than Firefox.Is Edge better than Chrome? ›
In terms of features and privacy, Microsoft has made major upgrades. It has unique features like Reading aloud, immersive reading, built-in adblockers, and stringent privacy measure makes the Microsoft Edge better than Google Chrome. But, when it comes to personalization, Google Chrome has a sweet spot.Can I delete Internet Explorer if I have Google Chrome? ›
You don't need to remove Windows Explorer. Just install Chrome and you are good to go ! You can remove IE under control panel -> programs and features and click turn windows features on or off. From there, you can choose to un-check IE and it will uninstall.Which browser should I use 2021? ›
- Mozilla Firefox.
It is known to be a secure web browser and one can say it is the best browser for pc. Mozilla Firefox or simply Firefox, although occupies third place in the global market share of browsers, is known to be more secure and faster than the most widely used PC Browser i.e. Chrome.
With all this in mind, you might consider doing what most technically astute users do: Keep 2 to 3 browsers installed, use your primary browser for most surfing and keep the others around for troubleshooting and compatibility issues.Which browser is the fastest 2022? ›
Opera is deemed as the fastest browser of 2022 and also recommended for being one of the safest options apart from all-time favorite Google Chrome. Having the right web browser by your side can make a substantial difference in the way you browse the Internet.Which browser uses less data in PC? ›
Opera. With its built-in ad-blocker and Speed Dial suggestions, Opera is the best browser for PC users with low bandwidth!Is Edge better than Firefox? ›
Out of the gate, Firefox has more features and integrations built into the browser and readily available on download. And while both browsers have a tremendous number of add-ons and extensions available, Edge's compatibility with Google's Chromium platform gives it the advantage in terms of sheer numbers.
What is the number 1 browser? ›
As of August 2022, Google's Chrome is the leading internet browser in the world with a global market share of 65.52 percent. In other words, more than six in ten people use Chrome to browse the internet. Apple's Safari is in second place with 18.78 percent, 46.74 percentage points behind.Has Google Chrome been hacked? ›
G oogle has announced that Google Chrome has been successfully hacked as it discovers 30 security flaws–seven of which pose a “high” threat to users. In a blog post, Google revealed that a new update will make improvements for Windows, Mac, and Linux, to fix the security issues after the hack.Which browser is the safest in 2022? ›
- Firefox — Most secure overall, highly flexible, and easy to use.
- Tor — Best for privacy and maintaining maximum anonymity.
- Brave — Very fast speeds, with ad and tracker blocking.
- Pale Moon — Highly customizable and open-source.
Mozilla claims that Firefox loads websites slightly faster than Chrome. Firefox does seem snappier sometimes, but not always. Here's the same site loaded on Firefox: The page loads slightly faster than on Chrome — the image shows almost instantaneously, while Chrome takes a few extra milliseconds.Why is Firefox the best browser? ›
The real area of difference isn't in functionality, it's privacy. Firefox is the most private browser that doesn't lock you into an ecosystem. Use it on any operating system, on all your devices, and feel secure when you do. Browsers have come a long way since Chrome was introduced and took over the market share.Why Google Chrome is the best browser? ›
- Google Chrome is probably the best web browser right now for PCs. It's free to download, it's very fast, and it's secure. ...
- Safari is the default web browser for Mac computers and iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad. ...
- Firefox: This free web browser from Mozilla works on Windows, Mac, and Android.
- Bing. Bing is a search engine by Microsoft and is second in terms of market share after Google. ...
- 2. Yahoo. ...
- DuckDuckGo. ...
- Baidu. ...
- Yandex. ...
- Twitter. ...
- StartPage. ...
Firefox can sometimes run slowly, even on machines with solid hardware. That's usually because the browser is being conservative with how it uses your resources to improve performance. But you can open up the hood and tweak how the browser uses computer hardware. From Firefox's menu, go to Options again.How many Chrome tabs can you open with 32GB RAM? ›
TLDR: at 380 tabs, the 32GB is fully responsive; 640 tabs makes system almost completely busy, seems close to a usable limit. 64GB remains absolutely fluid up to 640 tabs (and will likely sustain several 100s more).
Which browser uses the least RAM and CPU? ›
- Mozilla Firefox. Mozilla Firefox is a free, open-source browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and is available for desktop computers and mobile devices. ...
- Google Chrome. ...
- Microsoft Edge. ...
- Opera Browser. ...
- Chromium Browser. ...
- Safari Browser. ...
- Maxthon Browser. ...
- Yandex Browser.
Overall, 4 GB of RAM is enough for a Chromebook, but 8 GB is ideal.How many Chrome tabs can you open with 8gb RAM? ›
It means only around 16 tabs can be opened with a fully dedicated 8 GB RAM for browser. However, the 8 GB RAM is not dedicated only for browsing.Does Firefox still use Google? ›
Does Firefox use Google? Google is the default search engine in Firefox, which means you can search the web directly from the address bar. Learn more about search engine preferences and changing defaults.Is Firefox owned by Google? ›
The Mozilla Corporation (stylized as moz://a) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation that coordinates and integrates the development of Internet-related applications such as the Firefox web browser, by a global community of open-source developers, some of whom are employed by the corporation itself.Does Firefox collect data like Google? ›
Your browser will manage a lot of information about the websites you visit, but that information stays on your device. Mozilla, the company that makes Firefox, doesn't collect it (unless you ask us to).Do any browsers still support Vista? ›
Vista will never get Microsoft's Edge browser, but it can use the latest versions of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox just fine.Does Safari support Windows Vista? ›
Safari is also the native browser for the iOS. A version of Safari for the Microsoft Windows operating system, first released on June 11, 2007, supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.Does Safari work with Windows Vista? ›
Yes, you can run Safari on Windows XP/Vista and Windows 10. There is no such technical error during the installation of Safari on Windows PC.Can I download Google Chrome on Windows Vista? ›
Chrome and Windows Vista
Chrome support has ended for Vista users, so you'll need to install a different web browser to continue using the internet.
Which browser is best for old computer? ›
- K-Meleon. According to the developers, K-Meleon can run on as little as 20 MB of RAM. ...
- Falkon. Falkon is another lightweight web browser available on both Windows and Linux platforms. ...
- Pale Moon. ...
- Lunascape Orion. ...
- UR Browser. ...
- SeaMonkey. ...
- Slim Browser.
Yes, you can run both Firefox and Chrome. However, one will need to be the default browser. For example, Windows will need to know what browser to use when opening links in programs. Certain programs may be coded to only use Internet Explorer, so it is a good idea to leave that installed.What is the best browser for Windows XP 2021? ›
Opera/Opera 36 is the best browser you can use on Windows XP by a fine margin. This is because the browser version available on the operating system packs some top-level security features. Opera is known for its lightweight.Is Safari or Chrome better? ›
In fact, Safari beats Chrome on the Mac because it's more energy-efficient, better at protecting your privacy, and it seamlessly works with the Apple ecosystem. Here are all the reasons why you should avoid using Google Chrome on your Mac.Why did Apple stop making Windows Safari? ›
Specifically, the final version of Safari available for Windows users is Safari 5.1. 7. Apple may have its reasons for discontinuing Safari on Windows. One possible explanation it the browser's low market share on Windows which may not justify the costs of maintaining and supporting a version of Safari for Windows.Can I install Safari on Windows? ›
No, Apple has now limited the Safari Browser only up to iOS and macOS so you cannot download it for Windows OS.What is the latest version of Safari for Windows? ›
Apple no longer offers Safari updates for Windows. Safari 5.1. 7 for Windows was the last version made for Windows, and it is now outdated.What is the latest version of Safari? ›
|Operating system version||macOS 10.14 Mojave|
|Latest Safari version||14.1.2 (September 13, 2021)|
Yes, Safari is a free browser made by Apple, but the last release to be supported on Windows is the 5.1. 7 version.What is the latest version of Chrome? ›
Chrome Dev for Android Update
We've just released Chrome Dev 107 (107.0. 5304.8) for Android. It's now available on Google Play.
Can Windows XP run Google Chrome? ›
While Chrome supported Windows XP past April 2014, the popular browser's time on the aged OS is up as well. Google dropped Chrome support for Windows XP in April 2016. The latest version of Google Chrome that runs on Windows XP is 49. For comparison, the current version for Windows 10 at the time of writing is 90.What is the latest version of Google Chrome for Windows Vista? ›
|App Version||Released||OS Compatibility|
|Google Chrome 44.0.2403||2015-07-21||Windows XP, Windows XP x64, Windows Vista, Windows Vista x64, Windows 7, Windows 7 x64, Windows 8, Windows 8 x64, Windows 8.1|