On 14 November, a new version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser (v. 57.0), called Quantum, was finally released to the public. Mozilla had been teasing this revamped browser since September, stating major performance improvements and tweaked user interface. Mozilla claimed that the new browser can have up to 2 times faster than older version was. But, is the Firefox 57 Quantum the fastest browser in the industry?
New Changes and Features
In Firefox 57 Quantum, the overall appearance of the user interface is completely reworked. The Photon UI becomes more modern and flat, following current trend of simpler designs in most of the mainstream operating systems. All the corners are more boxy and square, instead of rounded edges. Animations in the browser feel extremely smooth and responsive. A new start page provides users “Top Sites”, as well as “Highlights” recommended by Pocket.
The main reason for the aforementioned speed boost is because of the new Firefox browser is powered by a reinvented engine. It can now take advantages of more than one CPU core to run the required processes at the same time. This should allow the browser to operate more efficiently and quickly using the existing hardware (multi-core processor).
To test out how the Firefox 57 Quantum browser perform, multiples web browser benchmarks, as well as websites loading speed, are used and measured. The results are compared among the other two common web browsers in their latest version (Google Chrome (62.0) and Microsoft Edge (41)), and the previous version of Firefox (v. 56.0.2).
- SunSpider 1.0.2
- JetStream 1.1
- Speedometer 1.0
- Speedometer 2.0 (in development)
- MotionMark 1.0
- ARES-6 1.0.1
- Intel Xeon E3-1230 v3 @ 3.3 GHz
- 16GB Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3-1600
In SunSpider, Edge left a really big margin between itself and the other three browsers, at only 73.8 ms. Firefox 57 Quantum did improve slightly from its older Firefox 56.0.2 by about 6.8%, while Chrome took 231.6 ms to complete.
Interestingly, Chrome came out at the top in ARES-6 at 26.45 ms. Edge and Firefox were neck and neck, while Firefox 57 leading by a couple milliseconds.
Edge lead again in JetStream at 256.42. Others were getting very close marks, with Firefox 57 having a slight edge at 203.75. This is the same story in Speedometer 1.0, with Edge at top (114) and Firefox 57 (104) in second. However, in Speedometer 2.0, Firefox 57 scored 69.3, outperforming every other browsers (Chrome by 61.9% and Edge by 20%). Although Firefox 57 did better than Firefox 56.0.2 in MotionMark, it lost by 33.5% and 61.2% to Edge and Chrome respectively.
Firefox 57 had the most consistent performance in loading websites, averaging around 2.7 seconds per website. It competed the test in a total time of only 16.63 seconds, about 10% better than the next fastest time by the Edge at 18.47 seconds. Firefox 56.0.2 finished in 18.5 seconds, and Chrome in 18.67 seconds.
Firefox 57 and 56.0.2 both have similar RAM usage at around 750 MB. Firefox 57 use about 7% less RAM than the famous memory-hungry Chrome. But Edge is in fact using the most RAM at 941 MB.
Overall, the new Firefox 57 Quantum is a major leap forward from its previous versions in both looks and performance. The change in the user interface alone is enough for me to immediately upgrade the browser. Firefox 57 almost outperforms the old version in every area, and is able to compete with other common web browsers in the market. It feels quick and responsive in most of the time. It may not be the fastest browser for now, but it is definitely one of the best you can get today.
Download Firefox 57 Quantum from Mozilla if you want to have a try.
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