Sunday, November 7, 2010

What is the best web browser for Notebooks?

Lots of ink (bits?) have been spilled over the question of what web browser is best. I'd hazard that in most cases it's personal taste. For Netbooks, however, with their extremely limited screen size, I think there is an objective case to be made that Chrome is the best. Consider the side-by-size screenshots of FireFox, Opera, and Chrome, below (maximize this window in order to be able to see the full width of the picture).
Assuming you use Tabs, Firefox shows the smallest amount of the page. Opera is a significant step forward, but Chrome is the clear winner. Note at right, I've marked the lines where the other browsers cut off with FF and O, respectively. This is assuming that you do something with the start menu (auto hide, or locate it on the side of your screen) so that all 600 vertical pixels are available for the browser.  If not, Chrome's relative advantage will be even bigger. On the flip side, I've adjusted WinXP's title bars to be smaller than normal, which increases the usable area in FireFox and Opera, but has no influence on Chrome's custom title bar.

Note that I didn't include IE 8. It shows about 4 vertical pixels more than Firefox. That is, it's not a contender. To be fair to Firefox, you can hide the status bar, at the cost of knowing where your links are taking you, and other useful information, and you can always work in non-tabbed mode, thus making it competitive with Opera. Opera and Chrome have no such modes. Chrome, at least, however, puts the tabs where other browsers have the title bar and menus, which are mostly dead space.

It's worth noting that all 3 browsers have a full-screen mode, which is worth using if you are spending a lot of time on  a single web page, but I find myself switching pages too often for that to be very user-friendly.

One other factor to consider is that Opera has a "turbo" mode, which connects to the web via a proxy server that compresses webpages by about half. If you tend to frequent locations with limited or slow connectivity, this feature may well tip the advantage over to Opera.

No comments:

Email me

Name

Email *

Message *