Review of four free Internet browsers (Reviews part 2)

Here are the final reviews for the last two of four browsers reviewed here.

● Netscape Browser 8. The current version of Netscape, published by AOL, is based on the early versions of Firefox. It also includes the rendering engine used in IE. Thus, Netscape should be able to display most web pages without any trouble. Every so often I have a little bit of trouble getting some pages to display. Similar to Firefox, Netscape banks on being different than IE and contains features not yet incorporated in IE. You can use tabbed browsing and customize the interface. You are limited, however, with how much customization you can easily make with Netscape. After initially downloading and setting up Netscape Browser 8, I spent a little more time that I would have liked trying to set up my tabbing preferences, RSS feeds, and bookmarks. I eventually got the program looking and feeling like I wanted, but almost gave up a couple of times. That said, Netscape is a useful browser if you are tired of IE’s reoccurring security flaws and weary of Firefox’s minimalist approach with the base browser. Netscape also comes with built-in support for AOL instant messenger.

As with IE, security is a concern of Netscape Browser. While using two rendering engines is useful for displaying almost any web page created, it also means two engines that need to be secured. Netscape doesn’t have anywhere near the market share of IE, so security flaws are not exposed as quickly or as often. Again, keep all of your security agents up-to-date and you shouldn’t have to worry too much about having your computer compromised by outsiders.

See the Netscape Browser homepage for a download link and click the “Product Info” tab for screenshots of the program in action.

● Opera 8.5. Opera is another nice web browser maintained by Opera Software from Norway. Previous versions of Opera were supported by users buying licenses and ads there were integrated into the browser. Facing stiff competition, Opera Software made the most current version of their browser free and without ads. Opera uses it’s own rendering engine, and I have had little trouble viewing various type of pages. Key features include a built-in email client and newsreader that are quite capable of handling your email and news needs. The email client can handle POP accounts such as your Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo email accounts as well as your work and home email accounts.

Opera was initially designed for older, low-end computers and as a result can be controlled almost entirely from the keyboard. This is also a handy feature for those with visual or mobility impairments. Of course, if you can, I recommend using the mouse for easy browsing.

See Opera’s homepage for links to screenshots and downloads.

Recommendation. I use both Internet Explorer and Firefox at the same time when I am using the Internet for a serious bit of time. I like the RSS feeds and extensions of Firefox to read news and keep up-to-date with computer product reviews. I use Internet Explorer for my everyday browsing and for downloading programs and updates. I keep all of my bookmarks in IE. I find the IE interface comfortable and easy to use since I used it long before discovering Firefox. It can get a little crazy trying to figure out which browser has what page open, but I seem to manage.

For you, I recommend using an Internet browser that works for best for you. Try all of them if you like, or you use my recommendation of Firefox if you are tired of Internet Explorer. Either way, happy browsing!

Feel free to leave comments with your opinions and experiences with these or other browsers.

(AWest)

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About Adam West

Adam is avid computer and electronics hobbyist. He and his young family call central Texas home. His love of the application of multimedia and electronics has lead him to Families.com, where he writes for the Computers, Internet, and Electronics blog. He understands the importance of providing understandable, relevant information about computers and electronics to Familes.com readers.On another front, Adam holds a Master of Science in Social Work degree and researches reasons for commitment and commitment-related decisions in dating and romantic relationships. He and his colleagues have developed an online educational tool for educating individuals about commitment-related decisions.