Firefox Quantum is a Really Great Browser

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Firefox Quantum is a Really Great Browser

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A few weeks back, we covered the launch of Firefox Quantum (Firefox 57). On paper, it looked pretty good — faster start times, faster UI, better multi-threading, claimed performance improvements even against Chrome. But in all honesty, I was skeptical.

I’ve used Firefox for well over a decade, but it’s been a long time since I would’ve described it as a great browser. Its UI was never as fast as Chrome or Chromium-derived browsers, and it had an irritating habit of sending RAM usage and single-thread CPU use through the roof, often bogging down my entire system until I killed it. A full reinstall + Firefox profile deletion earlier this year fixed some of these issues, but not all of them. Similarly, activating Firefox’s new multithreading mode did improve things a bit, but it didn’t completely resolve my performance or system resource problems.

Firefox 57 (Firefox Quantum) has solved these problems, at least for me. While this article isn’t a formal review, I’m not the only person to spend time with the browser and come away thinking Mozilla has knocked one out of the park. Wired has an extensive write-up on the new features of Quantum, its customizability, and speed. HowToGeek echoes these claims and praises the browser’s ability to parallelize CSS sheets across all CPU cores and its still-powerful about:config tool for low-level access to various tools and abilities.

Mozilla isn’t resting on its laurels, either. A security expert who created the “Have I Been Pwned” tool to check and see whether your login credentials have been stolen has confirmed the site will be working with Mozilla to fold this functionality directly into the browser.

My own use-cases for Firefox are more mundane. I don’t use many add-ons and I don’t do much personalization. What I do need, from any browser, is the ability to juggle tons of tabs and enough long-term stability to avoid the kinds of memory-hogging, CPU cycle-eating issues that used to leave me restarting FF 2-4x per day. Quantum doesn’t just deliver — it delivers perfectly. I haven’t had to restart Firefox due to stability or system-wide performance issues once since upgrading. The browser handles the extensions I use (which, again, isn’t exactly tons) with ease. I can’t speak for whether it uses memory more efficiently than Chrome, but given that Chrome is known to use more RAM than other browsers, I don’t find that claim difficult to believe.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that a good browser will win commensurate market share, and I can’t say whether Chrome will see any loss. But if you migrated away from Firefox in the past, or have simply stuck with Google Chrome because conventional wisdom said Chrome was faster, I’d recommend giving Quantum a try. It’s easily the fastest, most-stable version of FF that I’ve used in recent and not-so-recent memory.

Published at Mon, 27 Nov 2017 12:30:55 +0000

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