Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal has published a lengthy review of Internet Explorer 8 that says the final version of Microsoft’s new browser will be available for downloading on Thursday at noon ET. Walt likes it quite a bit, except for the fact that he found it slow in some instances. (He did some speed tests which didn’t agree with the ones that Microsoft itself recently published.)
Back in January, I reviewed the RC1 version of IE 8 that’s still the current version of the new browser as of the time I write this, and found it to be..well, a significant improvement over IE 7 and a good browser overall, but one that still feels a tad cluttered, interface-wise. Unlike most of its rivals, it feels like a browser that’s been around for a decade and a half and built up some cruft. And its marquee features, Web Slices and Accelerators, still need to be widely embraced by developers to live up to their potential. Still, any user of any earlier version of IE who doesn’t want to jump ship to Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, or (whew!) Flock should move to IE 8 for its improved security, compatibility, and–at least compared to earlier versions of IE–speed.
Me, I’m basking in the riches of the most competitive browser race ever–it’s not uncommon for me to use Firefox, IE, Safari, and Chrome in the course of one day. (I’m taking a break from Flock, which was my default browser for quite awhile, but I could be back.) I don’t think any browser is a runaway winner at the moment, and every browser has something to recommend it. Like I said in my IE 8 RC1 review, that’s good news for consumers and a challenge for browser developers.
More thoughts on IE 8 once I get my hands on the final version.