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Firefox 4; My Review

Posted by on Apr 9, 2011

Yes, it was time for me to download Firefox 4 to see what it had to offer. I thought about waiting up until late last week, when 3.6.whatever started freezing up on me again. No idea why it kept doing that, but I can honestly say that version 3 never lived up to expectation and almost drove me away from what had become my favorite browser.

Actually, I’d thought Firefox 4 was still in beta, but it seems to be the real deal, and it’s about time. It’s promised faster speed and better functionality; let’s see what it’s all about.

The download, of course, was simple, one of the gripes that I had against Chrome. It automatically updated all my bookmarks and all my add-ons and the like, with a few exceptions. I don’t have weather anymore, and I lost this neat little add-on from AVG that tested links before I went to them and gave warnings to those that were dangerous. It looked like I was going to lose my Multirow Toolbar add-on as well, but I searched beforehand and saw that its creators had a beta going for FF4 and, once I updated to the new Firefox version, went and grabbed it and things are working great once more. I was also able to get an old favorite of mine back, Colorful Tabs, which helps me see all the different tabs easier than having them all be the same color.

One of the first things I noticed was how much it seemed to look like Chrome. It took away the toolbars and put the tabs at the top of the browser, with the address bar underneath it. The idea was to open up the browser so we could see more of our content. Me being me, I like change but not that much, so I went into the options setting, which is at the top left, and put things back where they used to be; very easy to do. The one thing they finally added that both Chrome and Opera had was where you can choose the option to Paste and Go if you copy a link into the address bar; that’s sweet.

Firefox 4 is supposed to be up to 6 times faster than its previous version, so of course I had to test that. I’ll say that normal websites seem to load pretty fast, but I had to do the test of YouTube. The videos did load faster but they didn’t play much better than previous. For whatever reason everything was shaky; not sure what that was about, but it’s somewhat irritating.

It’s also supposed to handle resources better, but I just checked and it’s using 430K of my resources, which is pretty much the same as the other version. I had read where the more tabs you have open the more resources it uses but come on. I turned off prefetching webpages to help speed things up and reduce resources, as well as altering about:config to tell it to reduce resources if I minimize the browser to the toolbar, but that seems to be being ignored as well.

The final test I can’t do yet, and that’s to see if the browser will lock up any time soon. That one I’ll just have to wait for, but I’m a patient guy. Overall Firefox 4, at least for the casual user, has some things that are changed around that some people might find fascinating, but since I have no need for synching my browser to anything the only thing that’s different to me might be the speed. I hope the YouTube thing clears up eventually as well.

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I am using Firefox since long and love it for its great availability of miraculous addons. But I often use Chrome when I am browsing and reading blog.

BTW, I liked that ReadSpeaker. It helped me go through the post more comfortably.

April 9th, 2011 | 10:29 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

I’m glad that worked out for you, Suresh; that’s why I have it on the blog. I only pull up Chrome when I’m having issues with Firefox, which I hope I don’t have with this version.

April 9th, 2011 | 10:38 AM

I think the last version is quite good, however I found instability with some of add-ons and plugins. For example one of the add-ons that is quite useful for me disappeared. As well Divx plugin and Skype plugins are crushing. From the positive side, I will disagree and I think it is not like Chrome. It is a myth that Chrome is faster. I am deleting history on daily basis as Chrome is collecting everything in the cache file, so everyday I clean more than 200MB and Chrome is not my default browser. I think the Firefox will continue to be the best web browser.

April 10th, 2011 | 5:19 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, to me Chrome is the closest comparison to FF4 right now. Opera & IE9 (my computer wants me to update to IE9 but I’m not in the mood yet) still seem drastically different.

April 10th, 2011 | 11:35 AM

I also haven’t updated to IE9, but I also downloaded latest opera which works very fast when turbo option is on. When I am working outside on Wifi connection, I definitely prefer Opera.

April 11th, 2011 | 4:47 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I have all the big time browsers on my computer, and I’ve just never become a full fan of Opera; couldn’t begin to tell you why, but I will acknowledge it’s speedy.

April 11th, 2011 | 11:28 AM

I’ve noticed that uninstalling a few add-ons decreased loading times like my SEO toolbar. It also freed up some RAM but I didn’t realize it was 10%. I like the idea that they provide a warning for add-on toolbars. I usually never download these and always pay careful attention to any SUN install that I do(you know they have to make money some how). We also wrote a post about some add-ons that improve the Firefox experience. You can check it out here:

April 10th, 2011 | 10:47 PM

I’m just sorry fr IE 9, no one is interested in IE now that Firefox 4 is here.

April 11th, 2011 | 4:32 AM

Hello Mitch, I am using firefox 3.6 or something like that, I thought about changing to version 4.0, but some of the addons I love still don’t have a 4.0 compatible version and also a bad experience with the beta, keeps away. I am pretty sure that I will soon be forced to switch, due to the 3.6 becoming obsolete, but until then I like the ‘ol firefox :).

April 11th, 2011 | 4:55 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Alex, I never fully warmed up to version 3.anything. I loved version 2, and so far 4.0 is treating me much better.

April 11th, 2011 | 11:29 AM

I love the new Firefox. My favorite part so far are the app tabs, where you can make permanent tabs for pages you go to often. Once you make a page an app tab, the tab gets smaller. I use it for Gmail, and now whenever I get a new email the tab lights up so I know when something new comes in.

I haven’t really played around yet with the tab groups feature yet, but that seems pretty cool too.

April 11th, 2011 | 5:14 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Keith, I haven’t messed with the tabs except to add my Colorful Tabs back; love that one.

April 11th, 2011 | 8:40 PM

Yeah, I also had to change some things regarding the view and the bars. I got back my menu bar and also the status bar :).
About the Paste and Go I can only say: FINALLY!
The speed is improved, it is like 30% faster, according to the futuremark peacekeeper browser benchmark. IE 9 is way faster though :).

April 12th, 2011 | 2:12 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Hey Jim, how’s you get that status bar back? I’ve gotten used to the new way, but I have to admit that I miss having some of my plugins down there instead of up at the top as they are now. And I’m really missing Weather Bug.

April 12th, 2011 | 5:58 PM

You can use ctrl + / to turn on/off the status bar :). There is also in the menus somewhere, but this is quicker.
I have actually put my bookmark little icons in the status bar, also the seo plugins. And this saves me one line, so there is more room. And in the top I have the address bar and the menu on the same line, and below them I have the seomoz toolbar :). I am pretty happy with this.

April 26th, 2011 | 2:02 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Jim; didn’t know about that little shortcut and it works great. I had lots more room until I put back my multirow toolbar plugin, but heck, that one is the one I value most. lol

By the way, are you in Russia, since your link is Russian (or eastern European; I’m not quite sure which)?

April 26th, 2011 | 2:15 PM

Bulgaria 🙂

May 3rd, 2011 | 3:20 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Then you’re the first Bulgarian I’ve ever talked to; nice to meet you.

May 3rd, 2011 | 2:49 PM