Mozilla Firefox 4 Released

The long anticipated Firefox 4 from Mozilla is finally out of its beta and RC phase. I just installed it a couple hours ago, and here are my first impressions.

Firefox 4Aesthetically, other than the new Tab Group feature, I don’t see anything special. It feels faster browsing from page to page and from site to site; but, this could be a placebo effect. Mozilla states that this new version is 6 times faster than its predecessor. While it may be faster at loading pages, I don’t see much improvement in terms of browser launching time. Firefox was always the slowest to load and it still is.

It scores 97 out of 100 on the Acid3 Test (http://acid3.acidtests.org/). Acid3 Test Firefox4Acid Test measures the performance of web browsers, and Opera and Chrome for example score 100/100.

Overall, I’m satisfied. I prefer the updated look/feel and functionality over version 3.  I’ve waiting a long time for Firefox 4 to be released and it is as expected. Firefox 3 was lagging behind other browsers in terms of aesthetics, performance, and Windows 7 integration (ie. Taskbar Jumplist) to name a few off the top of my head.

Pros: Looks modern, feels faster and snappier. Tab grouping looks like a useful feature, but I personally don’t have too many tabs open anyways. Opera-like menu and buttons mean more viewing space on my tiny netbook screen. Add-on manager is much better now, utilizing the full browser window in its own tab. The so-called “awesome bar” has always been better than Opera’s in my opinion, and it still is. But Opera does make up for it by having the auto-complete, which Firefox does not.

Cons: Pressing F6 – which I use A LOT – no longer changes the focus to the location (aka. address or ‘awesome’) bar so I can type in a new URL quickly. It now focuses on the current tab so that you can switch between tabs with arrow keys. This is my biggest issue with Firefox 4. Now, I have to press an extra key (Tab key) to focus on the address bar. It looks like Opera; there’s nothing ground breaking in terms of the interface design. Still no auto-complete as mentioned above.

Overall, Firefox was in need of an extreme upgrade for a while. It’s finally here. Except for the F6 key disaster, it is what I expected it to be. I use Firefox as my main browser, but Opera was slowing creeping up on Firefox in the amount of time I used each browser on a day-to-day basis. I’m writing this only hours after installing it, so this article is based on my first impressions of the browser. I do highly recommend upgrading your Firefox to version 4.

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3 Comments

  1. mrpoizun says:

    Firefox 4 is a complete disaster due mainly to the fact that it no longer saves tabs and windows on closing the browser. Bookmarking everything every time you close the browser is not an option for me. Too much clutter and I’ve already got too many bookmarks. How they could eliminate this option is completely baffling to me. It’s an idiotic decision. If I can’t figure out a way to restore my tabs and windows there will be no reason for me to use Firefox.

    • Geoffrey says:

      Looks like the “accessibility.tabfocus” setting is broken. I think that’s what controls the tab key behavior you mentioned. Doesn’t matter what I set it to, I can’t get it to behave like Firefox 3 or Chrome. It’s very annoying. I’m staying with 3 until they fix this.

  2. Pete says:

    Bring back F6!!

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