As always, remember that speed is not the only thing your browser has to offer. Each browser has a number of unique features and characteristics, all of which you should factor into making your choice of which to use. However, while you can easily peruse a list of features for any browser, you can't easily compare their speed, and that's why we've put this together. It's just one more way to compare browsers as you make your decision. Also keep in mind that everyone's computer is different; your numbers may differ from ours, but the differences between the numbers should be the same.
Cold Boot-Up Winner: Chrome!
Chrome had a shockingly fast boot-up time this time around, popping up just over two seconds after we clicked its icon, ready to go. Explorer was pretty fast as well, with Firefox close behind and Opera slowing down quite a bit to take last place.
Tab Loading Winner: TIE Between Chrome and Internet Explorer!
Our test of loading nine tabs, from Lifehacker to Facebook to Hulu and Amazon, showed some interesting results. Chrome and Internet Explorer both dropped some time in this area, tying each other for first place, while Firefox absolutely crumbled under the weight of the tabs. Firefox's UI had so much trouble loading all nine tabs at once that its UI animations would completely stop while it caught up, finally loading them all after nearly 20 seconds. Whatever the Mozilla team has done, it makes the browser feel like its old, slow self again.
URL Loading Winner: Chrome!
As usual, Chrome took home the prize for visiting sites from the address bar, thanks to its awesome prerendering feature. However, Firefox and IE have definitely sped up as well, meaning most browsers should give you a quick page load as long as you've been to that page during this session. The exception is Opera, which still took over a second to load the page.
Cold Restore Winner: Chrome!
Even though this test was originally designed to test Firefox's new on demand tab loading, it seems this feature no longer works during a cold boot -- only during a warm boot. However, whether we tested cold or warm starts, Firefox still didn't seem to benefit from this feature at all. The Chrome team has really upped its game, making Chrome boot up super-fast whether it has nine tabs in tow or not. While Chrome still had to load those tabs, it became usable nearly immediately after the window showed up, while Firefox took a little longer to boot and Opera kept us waiting quite a while.
Memory Usage (With Nine Tabs Open) Winner: Firefox!
Firefox's memory management has improved greatly in the recent past, while Chrome's performance continues to shoot up to astronomical levels.
Memory Usage (With Nine Tabs and Five Extensions) Winner: Firefox!
Everyone's memory usage went up when we added five extensions, though Firefox's increased significantly less than Chrome and Opera's. As usual, Firefox took first place.