Yesterday we set out to find the most pixel-friendly browser on Windows machines. Today, designer and Lifehacker reader Kyle Dreger took it upon himself to determine which OS X browser makes the best use of your precious screen space.
Pixel-Friendly Browser Test (Mac) Platform: Mac OS X 10.5 on a Macbook 1280x800 resolution. Browsers: Chrome 5, Firefox 4 Beta 2, Safari 5, Opera 10.6 (No IE8 here) Constants: All browsers had status bars and tabs turned on.
Regular Browsing Winner: Chrome
Chrome took the regular browsing trophy, barely edging out Safari by only one pixel. However, I took into account Chrome's status bar which only shows up when you're examining links. Without displaying the status bar, about 95 per cent of your browsing experience, Chrome has only 73 pixels of toolbars to Safari's 93 pixels.
Maximised Browsing Winner: Chrome
There is no real "maximised" state for any of these browsers as each one handles the Mac maximise button differently. In Chrome and Safari, it extends the edges of the browser window to the smallest size possible without the need of scroll bars. In Firefox and Opera, the maximise button pushes the window to the edges of your computer screen. The other problem is that the browsers take up the same amount of space because their windows do not change in a maximised mode as they do on their Windows counterparts. Thus, the results are the same as the regular browsing category.
Full-Screen Browsing Winner: TIE Firefox and Opera
Firefox and Opera tie in this category due to the unique ways in which they handle the full-screen mode. If pure screen real estate was the only factor, Opera wins with absolutely zero pixels of anything. Opera gives you the whole website on every pixel of your screen. The downside is that there is no way to click buttons like Back, Reload or even the address bar without exiting full-screen mode. For those comfortable with keyboard commands, this won't be a problem - a quick Command-L and a dialogue pops up asking for your URL.
Firefox cuts the pixel-usage down to 57 pixels while in full-screen mode by cutting out OSX's menu bar, but still retains the toolbar.
As in the Lifehacker article, there are many things that users can do to improve the content size of your browser. Firefox users particularly have been known to push this concept to the extreme. This test however, was focusing on what the average user can expect from a regular browser without any advance plugins or themes. In that regard, I feel pleased to say that the winner, and my browser of choice, is none other than Google Chrome. In almost every aspect of the browsing experience, except full-screen, Chrome used the least amount of pixels mostly in thanks to its unique disappearing status bar.
The full results are as follows:
Chrome 5 top: 73 px status bar: 19 px total: 92 px fullscreen: 95 px (menu bar is present (22 px)
Safari 5 top: 76 px status bar: 17 px total: 93 px fullscreen: n/a (safari has no fullscreen browsing mode)
Firefox 4 beta 2 top: 86px status bar: 19px total: 105 px fullscreen: 57 px (menu bar is not present)
Opera 10.6 top: 85 px status bar: 21 px total: 106 px fullscreen: 0 px (menu bar is not present - neither are the scroll bars)