This morning I downloaded the latest version of Microsoft’s browser – IE 9. The browser is still in beta version, however we usually download beta versions of browsers to ensure our client sites are ready for the new browsers. (It’s like a moving target though, because the browser subtly changes between minor beta versions and you rarely get to hear about a firm date for a consumer launch).
After using IE 9 for the day, and making sure I wasn’t swayed by any other reviews, here’s my outcome.
It’s like a really slow version of Chrome.
When IE 9 loads, it still takes that trademark-long-time. I don’t know how Google get Chrome to load so quickly, but that to me is the best feature of the browser. Why do you want to have to wait longer than the fastest browser?
When IE 9 does eventually load (and I’m exaggerating about the length of the load time – it is much quicker than IE 8, but still the slowest out of Firefox and Chrome), it looks startlingly similar to Chrome. The favourite ‘star’ has moved to the left. The whole top area has moved to one horizontal area, making the actually web page a much larger area. The menus are now three small icons on the right hand side. Even the developer tools look the same as Chrome.
Microsoft will be marketing very hard that IE 9 is much faster at rendering web pages than the other browsers. They have a performance test page set up which I can only assume (but frankly can’t be bothered to do) is weighted against it’s competitors because Chrome and Firefox are so incredibly slow to IE 9 – more than you would expect from the hardware acceleration.
The sneakiest thing about the new browser though, is that Flash no longer works out-of-the-box. You have to reinstall it at Adobe.com. With Microsoft seeking domination for it’s slow-to-get-market-share Silverlight, in effect uninstalling Flash is near brilliance. Or it would be, if IE 9 came with Silverlight working out of the box. I was amazed that it didn’t work with IE 9. What an incredible own goal.