I’ve been using Safari 3.0 for awhile, and it’s actually pretty good. Better than I expected. I can’t help but remember the buggy catastrophe the first time Safari was available for Windows users, but the latest one isn’t that bad.
I did has some issues the first time with downloading it. So I gave up for 3 weeks, and tried it again. It finally worked. So I’m going to point out what I like, and what I don’t like. Here’s what I like:
- Simple and clean UI – I’ve commended IE7 for keeping a nice streamlined interface, but Safari is just as good. You have the menu bar, then the address and search bar with the back/forward-refresh-add buttons right under it, and then a bookmark bar. The bars fit in tightly with each other, to maximize website screen size. There’s also no bottom bar at the very bottom. Pretty good.
- Extendable search/address box – Pretty handy. You can either stretch the search box to be bigger, or the address bar to be bigger.
- SnapBack – There’s this neat orange button at the end of the address bar ( ). This button takes you back to the previous website, without having to rummage around the list of pages in the back button. Like say you’re on a cooking website, and a link takes you to Amazon.com. Well you search for some more stuff on Amazon, and realize you want to go back to the cooking site. Instead of scanning the last viewed pages on the back button, you can just press the handy orange SnapBack button. Pretty neat, eh?
- Bookmarks Manager – One of my favorite features. Pressing on the bookmarks icon ( ), it takes you to a nice clean page, listing everything from items on the Bookmarks Bar, All Bookmarks, History, and RSS feeds. As well as imported IE favorites. It’s much easier to organize and manage saved items, and a nice RSS feeder. I love how there’s a slider bar to show how much of each feed you want to see, and you can select what timeframe you want to see the posts from.
- History – You can search pages that you viewed, and deleting history is as easy as 2 clicks. On IE, the minimum is 4 clicks. You also can dynamically search through history, where as in IE, you have to click search, to actually search it (though it’s quick too).
- Loading bar – The loading bar on Safari, is simply just the address bar. It shines blue from the left of the address bar, all the way towards the right of the bar as soon as it’s done loading. Another streamlined feature I like. Though the Origami Central browser (IE7 in Origami) does it that way too.
- Window sizing is smoother – I notice that window resizing in Safari has a more smoother look, in comparison to IE7.
- Better scrollbars – One characteristic about XP that I never liked was the ugly scrollbars. They’re so grayed out, that a person with quick eyes can have trouble pinpointing where the scroll bar is, when the slider bar is whitish-gray, and sometime the page is white or close to gray. It annoys the heck out of me, especially in IE7. I don’t much like Safari’s bright, glossy blue scroolbars that much better, but it’s definitely easier on the eyes.
- Download Manager – what every modern browser should have. Though I personally don’t use it, since I’m not a heavy downloader.
- Slim Bookmarks bar – Safari just simply gives the name of one of you bookmarks and that’s it. The bar doesn’t take up much space, as in comparison to IE8’s humongous favorites bar.
- Less crashes – I’ll be honest. I use IE7 everyday, and I can probably expect at the minimum ONE crash per day. That’s just cruddy, and Safari has probably only crashed once or twice in the time I used it.
- Better options menu – The options menu in IE7 is VERY cluttered. I don’t think I need to view most of them, and it’s horrendous to rummage through.
- Appearance – Apple’s always known for making thing at least look better. Safari is no different. I love Safari’s font smoothing. Makes webpages look much better. I also love how when you highlight, the color is blue, rather than IE’s tradition of complete contrast highlighting. Blue is more easier on the eyes, and stands out pretty well.
- Input box edges highlighted – When you type into any input box (whether to fill in your username & password, a comment, or whatever), the box’s edges are highlighted to it’s easy to draw your eyes to that portion of your screen. Nice touch. Safari is a great browser if your eyes are kinda poor.
- Great webpage search box – It is hard to find, but it functions pretty well. Go to Edit > Find > Find… and there’s a nice webpage search box that shows up. Start typing in a few words, and the screen darkens and highlights possible matches. When it narrows it down to one, it highlights the text in bright yellow with the text in black. Very nice touch!
What I don’t like :
- Only 2 web search options – You can only search Google or Yahoo!. There’s no other official way to get Live, Ask, or any other custom search engine. That’s my main reason why I don’t use Safari as much, I want choices. I search a variety of search engines, and no other options is really sucky.
- Bookmarks folder option is hidden – I didn’t notice that puny "+" button at the bottom of the Bookmarks Manager. Pretty sneaky
- Hidden zooming options – I like how on other browser, it’s easy to find the page zoom controls, and make the page bigger or smaller. You have to go into the menu bar to to View, and select either bigger or smaller. Whatever.
- No easy access to tabs – Despite Safari’s choice of keeping the browser’s interface super streamlined, I don’t like going through a bunch of menus to find a function I want. Maybe OS X users love to do that (OS X has a default system wide menu bar), but I hate it. I like to see my options all out in front of me, or at least some of the least used things hidden away for later. I have to go to File and New Tab to get a new tab. Same issue with finding the darn zoom controls.
- No quick way to view all tabs or preview – I love how IE7 has QuickTabs to view all tabs at once with a mini-screenshot of all tabs, and Opera lets you hover over tabs to get a preview image. Safari has no such thing. It’s all text.
- Lack of add-ons – Apple has no official place to find Safari add-ons (not surprising considering Apple’s stance on 3rd parties and developers). Too bad. That’s another downer.
- Some sites don’t work well – Not a surprise, considering Safari is still new. Though Safari does support a lot of standards, I guess.
- Backward buttons and not being consistent with Windows – Hey Apple, this isn’t OS X. OK? So please be consistent with the Windows UI for Safari. Like for instance when I try to close Safari with a couple of tabs being used, and Safari wants to check if I’m OK with this, the cancel button is first, and the close button is second. For a normal Windows user, the selection you’re most likely to pick first, actually comes first, and cancel or quit is the last option. I don’t know how many times I made this mistake with Safari.
- Lack of skins – I’m no big fan of Safari’s default gray look. It’s just so cold. It’s suppose to have that brushed metal look like Safari for OS X, but it’s just all gray. Kinda ugly in a sense.
Overall, Safari is nice. Much better than expected. Here’s some screenshots of interesting stuff: