I’ve been experimenting with browsers for the past few days. Ever since Firefox 4b11 blew up (literally couldn’t do anything, even with a re-install) I’ve been playing with other browsers. I’ve been an Opera user since 9.5 and I’ve been very happy – but you can’t help thinking, “is life greener on the other side of the fence? Is Chrome better?” So, I tried to answer that
No, it’s not.
After setting my default browser to Chrome 10 dev channel, I set about finding extensions to match what Opera gives you out of the box. I end up with the speed dial, gesture and colour picker extensions, as well as a funny little flag icon that is supposed to tell me where a server is from, but doesn’t work. Overall, none of these extensions were as good as Opera’s default functionality. The speed dial slowed my computer down more than sped it up and it didn’t have the Ctrl+(num) navigation that I love so much. The gesture plugin was good but not as quick as Opera. The colour picker was fine and matched Dragonfly fine.
Just, in general, browsing seemed slower. Tabs seemed slower to change and page rendering wasn’t as smooth. Font rendering wasn’t as smooth and, although it was GPU accelerated, didn’t feel right.
So, what was better in Chrome? Well, the web inspector has a better UI, but Dragonfly has come on leaps and bounds in terms of performance. Neither of them are as good as Firebug, but web inspector currently trumps Dragonfly. To be honest, that’s about it. The Omni-bar is good but just as good as Opera’s. Weirdly, Chrome works better on my company’s network. I guess software designed for windows just understands NTLM authentication better than browsers designed for Unix.