IE9 – The Beauty of the Web

Internet Explorer 9On September 15 2010, Microsoft announced a public beta version of their web browser Internet Explorer (IE). Microsoft claims that this new version, IE9, is going to be a more secure, stable and faster browsing experience. Being a little skeptical toward Internet Explorer, I wanted to see this for myself, so I set out to get my copy of IE9 over at The Beauty of the Web.

Quoting The Beauty of the Web;

“As amazing as the web is, its potential is immeasurably greater. Internet Explorer 9 was designed to let that potential shine through. Click below to see how developers and designers are creating a more beautiful web using HTML5 and advancements in Internet Explorer 9.”

I myself am a big fan of Google Chrome. I love the speed it offers and the minimalistic UI it offers, therefore I won’t only be comparing IE9 to IE8, but I will also write about my experience in the difference between the two different browsers. Now I am just hoping that Internet Explorer can live up to the expectations I have as a frequent web user.

Installation

Once downloaded. The installation of IE9 was very straightforward and simple. You couldn’t wish for a more simple installation. Microsoft did a good job on this one. You order the program to install, and so it will. I didn’t have to press “Next” multiple times to achieve what one button can do. IE9 will also replace the older versions of Internet Explorer the moment you reboot your PC, There is no need to remove older versions as the installer will do this task for you.

Interface & Features

Internet Explorer 9 has had a drastic (and much needed) change in the User Interface. Immediately upon booting the program you notice that the Interface uses less space for toolbars and more space for web pages. A very good start!

Let me start off with a feature that I personally love. The Download Manager. It definitely makes managing and finding back your downloads a lot easier, and I am happy that Microsoft decided to add it in IE9.

Another feature that I am excited about is the Pinned Sites feature. As any frequent web user, I have a few sites that I visit regularly. With the Pinned Sites feature I am able to pin Geeks to Go to my taskbar. Now I can directly visit Geeks to Go from my taskbar! A lot more cool features like these can be found at the Product Guide on The Beauty of the Web.

One more I would like to discuss is the much needed boost in HTML5 support. In the Tests section of this review you can see the drastic improvement that IE9 has over IE8 in terms of HTML5 support. Microsoft even dedicated a Test Drive Suite to show how IE9 handles performance tests, graphical demos and the likes.

Tests

You can’t write a review of a browser without doing at least some tests. I ran 2 different tests that should give us an indication of the improvement that Internet Explorer made. The difference between IE8 and IE9 was astonishing!

First off, I ran the HTML5 Test. This test tests the HTML5 compatibility of the browser and will assign points to each element that the browser supports. The test has a maximum score of 300.
Internet Explorer 9; Scored 96 Points and 5 Bonus Points
Internet Explorer 8; Scored 27 Points and 0 Bonus Points
Google Chrome; Scored 217 Points and 10 Bonus Points

And the second test I ran was ACID3. This is a test page from the Web Standards Project that checks how well a web browser follows certain selected elements from web standards, especially relating to the Document Object Model (DOM) and JavaScript. The test has a maximum score of 100.
Internet Explorer 9; Scored 95 Points
Internet Explorer 8; Scored 20 Points
Google Chrome; Scored the full 100 Points

As shown in the tests above, IE9 is a huge improvement over IE8. And this is a noticeable difference. From the moment I started Internet Explorer 9 I could notice it. It felt a lot less clunky than IE8 used to do. And this brings me to my next topic.

Browsing Speed

I didn’t run any benchmarking tests to determine the speed difference between the browsers as I believe the experience is more important than the difference in milliseconds. IE9 definitely convinced me in terms of browsing speed, though. IE8 took a considerable amount of time to load, whereas IE9 loaded within a few seconds.

It’s not as good as Chrome (yet?), but IE9 is on it’s way to becoming a good browser instead of the horrid choice that IE6 & IE7 were in comparison to the alternatives available.

Conclusion

Internet Explorer 9 has had an amazing upgrade compared to what it was before. I can personally see Internet Explorer 9 becoming a good competitor in the market of browsers currently out there. I think that by the time Internet Explorer 9 comes out of beta, people can be proud to say that they use Internet Explorer.

In the end, a browser is a personal choice. And there will always be a couple of ‘camps’ claiming that the browser that they use is ‘the best’. But deep deep down we all know that when it comes to browsers, there is no ‘best’.

Ratings

Finally, I will end off with some ratings;

Appearance; ?????
Quality; ?????
Ease-of-use; ?????
Features; ?????
Performance; ?????

Overall – ????½

  • They call me Tater Salad

    I have several browsers, I still prefer Firefox, though its rising popularity has lead to it being targeted by malware. I haven't used any version of internet explorer since 2002, not for any length of time. In my experience the security issues are rampant, the updates are months behind the problems which arise within days of every patch.So kudos to MS for a better browser, however i will never use it because no matter how you package it, its still Internet Explorer. As a footnote, i agree with the author that Chrome is a great browser and i use it as much as firefox. startup is quick, the system footprint is small, and it just works.highly recommend it on netbooks.

    • Udha

      you should not pre-judge on everything open your mind, you will see a different and better world. It improves you for good.

    • Dark Shroud

      Was IE6 the last version of IE that you used?
      IE7 stopped the problems with ActiveX and was the first browser to have a built in sandbox. IE7 also added anti-phising tools into the browers. IE8 took futher steps with adding Smart Screen filter and & ASLR support. IE8 also devloped their anti-phising tools even more. IE9 has taken the smart screen filter technology even further by not just updating it but adding it to the download manger.

  • Matthew

    HI i have toshiba satellite a500-17x lap to top computer yeasterday i downloaded internet explorer9 yesterday the problem is how do i get explorer9 with out my lap top get blocked. by going on the internet and iam matthew darlington from solihull west midlands birmingham united kingdom.

  • softwareuser

    I have an HP 620 laptop with 2 GB RAM and an Intel Core-2-Duo processor. I briefly tested Firefox 3.6.10 vs IE 9 beta. I noticed something interesting which I hope this site's administrators can explain.

    When using the computer with no browser open my memory usage is 888MB. When using IE9 this goes up to 1.09GB with CPU usage at 50% to max 60%. It then stays like this with the processor making a noise, with the first 4 results from a "reviews of IE9' search using Bing open in 4 tabs. on Firefox 3.6.10 the memory usage is about the same at 990MB, but the CPU usage first spiking to 50% plus but then dropping to 10% to at most 20% . IE9 is fast though and I like the greater web page real estate and website rendering.

    I also prefer Firefox 3.6.10 for:
    personas, a separate search and address bar, and its handling of Javascript and security. I do not use many extensions so this is not an issue for me, though this also allows people to personalize their browser more than any other browser.

    I feel Firefox offers a nice full-featured interface with speed, security and a nice ability to personalize, and strikes the best balance in terms of streamlining for me.

    • Keep in mind that this review was on IE9's Beta. Beta meaning that it is not a fully finished product. I am pretty sure that IE9 will keep improving until it reaches a final release. And even then I am sure that Microsoft will do it's best to keep IE9 in liking to the users. Especially now that got some serious competition from other browsers when Microsoft was forced to offer other browsers with the Operating System.

      Regards,
      Olrik

  • I don't believe in the performance of IE9, Microsoft always cheating in this, Firefox and Chrome are unbeatable leaders of this stuff.

  • I am not sure that Microsoft with IE9 is fully ready to compete with Firefox and Chrome. With IE8 I was totally sure 😉

  • Headwayne

    This WONDERFUL internet explorer has a SmartScreen filter that still works even after one goes to the security area and turns it off. I am unable to download anything without SmartScreen filter deeming it a virus and deleting it. How to get to the root of this challenge ?????

    • Headwayne

      ps I would remove it and go back tot he previous version but my banks and accounting software will not function on the previous version HAD to do the updae to IE9.