PCGH Hands-on: Firefox 3
Today Mozilla wants to make the final version of the Firefox 3 web browser available for download. PCGH took a look at the current version.
The first test a web browser has to deal with should be the [url=acid2.acidtests.org/]Acid 2[/url], which the new Firefox passes without problems. The older version 126.96.36.199 had real problems here. Even the more recent Acid 3 test, which emphasizes interactive elements, is passed with 71 out of 100 positive single tests. The competitors Safari 3.1 and Opera 9.50 are even better though, but for example the beta 8.0 version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer only passes 18 of the 100 tests.
To check the compatibility with the predecessor we intentionally crash our Firefox 188.8.131.52 with ten tabs opened. After installing Firefox 3 we were able to restart the session without any problems. All bookmarks and favorites were ported correctly.
The design didn't change much, compared to the predecessor, for example the arrows for the page navigation were overhauled. Up to now each arrow had its own drop down menu, which now were reduced to a single one, positioned next to the navigation buttons. The design of the remaining buttons was adjusted, too, so they look even more different from those of the Internet Explorer.
Another noticeable innovation is the optimized management of the bookmarks, which had new features added. Because of this the folder management is handier. A very useful feature is the integrated zoom, which you can use to view pictures more detailed.
The new Download Manager makes it easier to find saved files, if you forgot where you downloaded them to. Additionally the URL of the source is saved, which enables you to trace where a file is originally from.
The biggest innovations aren't visible at all. The Firefox got new security features. A new Java based password manager is one of them, just like an improved malware protection. From now on updates can only be made with a digital signature. The most obvious security feature is the One-click-site-info. It reveals if a website uses the Extended-Validation-SSL-Certificate. If this is the case, the button gets green and the user can see who is responsible for the website, if you saved your password and if the website places Cookies on your computer.
Our Hands-on-review showed the Firefox 3 to be a well-developed and fast web browser. The improvements aren't revolutionary but nevertheless very useful and improve the security and handling. Who is using the old version 184.108.40.206, doesn't have to think twice before switching to Firefox 3.