(Migrated weblog post from LSR)
I know that it has been mentioned how can people possibly compare web browsers like FireFox and Opera when they are both suiting people’s needs in many different ways, yet we seem to have a tendency to try to compare both of them to try to see which one is best at what they do. And like I mentioned earlier on, imho, this comparison is just like comparing oranges with apples. Both browsers help address completely different needs from different end-users and as such saying that one browser is much better than the other would be totally unfair, I would say.
However, there are a couple of web sites that people who may not know which web browser to use as their default browser should check out first before making a final decision as to what may be the choice for them. First one, and although I am not going to stop too much time on it, is the well known Acid2 Test where if you perform the test on Internet Explorer, FireFox and Opera you will be able to see that, although not 100% accurate (there is always some more room for improvement) Opera is the browser that best carries out the test, so you would say that Opera would be following the web standards better than any of the other two web browsers.
The second web site that is really worth while reading in order to help you make a decision as to what may be the best web browser for your needs, if one of those needs is speed, would be this one: Browser speed comparisons. This particular web site provides you with some really good benchmarks notes as to which web browser is the fastest out there. And here is a quote from the final statement after having done all the tests:
“Ok, ok. Firefox and Mozilla are clearly optimised for Linux, and Opera is clearly optimised for Windows. These optimisations are mostly obvious with the loading times, although there is also a little difference in the cache handling on the different operating systems. However, Opera seems to perform admirably well on most tasks, on any platform. When it comes to page rendering (tables, CSS or images), most of the major browsers perform very fast, with very little to distinguish between them. When it comes to scripts, Opera clearly holds its head above the others, nearly twice as fast as the others. The only one that comes close is Safari 2.0, but that is tied to the Tiger release of Mac OS (currently in preview).”
Or this other summarising comment:
“So overall, Opera seems to be the fastest browser for windows. Firefox is not faster than Internet Explorer, except for scripting, but for standards support, security and features, it is a better choice. However, it is still not as fast as Opera, and Opera also offers a high level of standards support, security and features.”
And finally, the third web site that would be worth while considering to take a look and see which one would be the best browser from a Web Browser Standards Support would be the following one: Web Browser Standards Support, where you can see how each of the different web browsers perform against a number of different web standards. Again, Opera comes on top with a pretty good score of 72% of web standards compliance while Internet Explorer is just at a mere 39% and FireFox is at 67%, not too bad.
So if you like to have some comparison benchmarks between each of the different web browsers have a look into all of them and, hopefully, that will help you make a decision as to choose your default web browser. However, if you hate comparisons, specially when they do not match very well you may want to try each of the different browsers for a while and see which one you like the most. I would bet that in most cases you would stick with Opera. But then again that is just my web surfing experience. Others may have a different one based on different needs. And that is the greatness of choice. Your choice!