Shootouts

Internet browser shootout: Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Opera vs. Safari vs. Vivaldi

By Kenny Yeo - 6 Jul 2019

Performance & Conclusion

CPU utilization

The CPU utilization results are interesting. Unsurprisingly, Vivaldi was the most demanding browser. Even scrolling through pages you could tell it wasn’t as smooth and as fluid. In this test, it worked the hardest and for the longest. Opera and Chrome both worked hard when the tabs were launched but settled down more quickly than Vivaldi. As for Firefox, although its CPU utilization rate wasn’t as high as its Chromium-based rivals, it took more time to settle down. Safari was the most efficient browser by a long shot. It maintained low CPU utilization rates and settled down almost as quickly as the rest.

 

Memory usage

Memory usage is one of the most important considerations because web browsers typically consume a lot of memory — especially when you have a lot of opened tabs and if you visit media-rich sites. With 20 of the most popular websites opened in tabs, we can see that Firefox's and Vivaldi's memory use were the highest. Chrome, despite its reputation of a resource hog, was actually the most frugal, taking up 2.82GB, which is nearly half a GB less than Firefox. Opera and Safari fared well too and weren't too far off from Chrome.

 

Synthetic benchmarks

On JetStream 2, Safari and the rest of the Chromium-based browsers recorded quite comparable scores. Firefox, however, trailed significantly with just 62.32 points, which is over 30% less than its rivals.

As for HTML 5 compatibility, the Chromium-based trio (Chrome, Opera, and Vivaldi) managed nearly identical scores. Firefox was lagging a tad but Safari managed just 476 points out of a possible of 555. It's lack of support for VP9 played a role in that score.

 

Conclusion

Chrome is the most popular browser in the world for good reasons.

It’s hard to argue against Google Chrome. Insofar as performance and features are concerned, it’s not difficult to see why Chrome enjoys the popularity that it does. It’s fast (even on a not-so-powerful MacBook Air), adheres to the HTML 5 standard, and is highly customizable. Whether you are just a casual web browser or a power user, Chrome has something to make it work for you. In short, it’s a solid browser that will meet most people’s needs and requirements, even if Google's attitude toward privacy and data collection is questionable.

Opera is a decent alternative too and I really like some of its features like the quick access to instant messengers and built-in converter. Its overall aesthetic is also pleasant and attractive. But if you are really concerned about being tracked and monitored, it’s worth mentioning that Opera is owned by a Chinese consortium and some of its features, like the built-in VPN, have dubious functions and motives.

If you are adamant about avoiding Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari are your next best options.

Vivaldi has tons of features — especially in the realm of tab management — but it is extremely resource-intensive and it ran poorly on the MacBook Air. Even on more powerful machines, slowdowns are a frequent annoyance on Vivaldi. I would recommend only using Vivaldi only if you find its features indispensable.

If you are not on Mac, Firefox is arguably the next best thing.

In the end, if you are concerned about privacy and security, Firefox is arguably the next best thing. Performance may not be its strongest suit, but in the real world, it works well enough. For Mac users and those heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem of hardware and services, Safari is a no-brainer. It offers class-leading performance and good security features. The only thing it lacks is the customizability of its rivals.