We compare four recent web browsers

Faster and Higher

Article from Issue 209/2018
Author(s):

Will the Firefox 57 “Quantum” release help Mozilla regain its former glory? We compare the latest Firefox with the Chrome, Opera, and Vivaldi browsers.

The release of Firefox 57 "Quantum" in mid-November caused a stir in the IT community. The Firefox browser was once a state-of-the-art browser, with a huge market share and millions of loyal followers, but over the years, newer and more advanced alternatives have taken away some of the limelight. After years of development and 12 months of re-engineering, the Mozilla developers think they have what they need to get back in the game. The new Firefox is described as twice as fast as the version released a year ago, with a 30 percent savings in memory usage. In addition, Firefox 57 is supposed to be as fast as Google Chrome.

The word on the street is that Firefox is ready for a head-to-head performance comparison. We decided to test Firefox versions 51 and 57 against Chrome 62. We also tested the Opera 49 and Vivaldi 1.12 browsers. Opera, Vivaldi, and Chrome all use the Blink rendering engine – a WebKit fork – so we did not expect any big differences between Blink-based contestants.

We ran the tests on a mid-range Lenovo ThinkPad X220 laptop with 4GB of main memory. The browsers were installed in their default configuration on a newly installed Debian "Sid." We put all test candidates through a series of special browser benchmarks and ran the benchmarks five times on each browser to ensure that no outlier distorted the mean.

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