On 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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’.
Finally, I will end off with some ratings;