Current releases of Mozilla Gecko-based browsers for the Mac include:
Firefox 3.5.1: Once the geeky alternative, now almost mainstream, known for its customizability
Flock 2.5: A browser for the socially-minded Mac user
Camino 1.6.8: Firefox, basically, but tweaked for Macs
Current Webkit-based browsers include:
Safari 4.0.2: Apple’s very own browser.
Stainless 0.6.5: Cool features for the technically inclined (under development).
Cruz 0.2: For the social networker who likes to multi-task (under development).
Bottom line: Benchmarks are not the Voice of God. There are too many variables that come into play, such as network latency when testing browsers. And while a sluggish but feature-rich application is not a good application, features and functionality matter far more to most of us than whether a browser can load 15 tabs a few fractions of a second faster than another browser.
Overall, Safari was the fastest of all the browsers we tested, with Camino a hair behind Safari.
Opera was a bit faster than Firefox on start-up times but really shone in the tab-tests -- opening up eight, and then 15 tabs faster (but we’re talking percents of seconds here) than the other browsers. Safari was the next fastest on the tab test, with Firefox and Camino neck in neck near the back of the pack.
Flock didn’t score well at all, coming in dead last in all tests but its capabilities not its performance are what makes this browser attractive to some.
Resource Usage We tested each browser by opening 15 tabs -- nine of them flash-heavy -- and checked CPU and memory usage in iStat pro after 10, 20, and 30 minutes.
Firefox, Safari and Opera did the best on this test; Firefox showed 9% CPU utilization at 30 minutes, Safari and Opera had consumed 11%. Camino was in second-to-last place, with a 13% CPU utilization score. Flock ate up the most resources, spiking to 15% on occasion.