This year has been a busy year for web browser developers. The five most popular web browsers - Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Opera - have all released significant new versions.

Although Internet Explorer retains the lion's share of browser use, its competitors are gradually gaining favour. It's been a very long time since the browser market has been this unsettled and open to competition.

The good news for users is that every one of these top five browsers is exceedingly feature-rich, increasingly fast and easier than ever to use. The bad news is that it's become very hard to decide which to use.

That's why we decided to put the newest versions of the top browsers through their paces.

Although Safari is available for Windows, and Opera and a beta version of Chrome are available for the Mac, we focused on the most popular configurations: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera for Windows, and Safari and Firefox for the Mac.

We delved deep into their features, considered their speed and ease of use, and recommended what type of user each browser is most suited for. Finally, we chose overall winners for the Mac and Windows platforms.

What we've concluded has nothing to do with market share, and everything to do with which are the flat-out best, and why.

Broadband speed test

NEXT PAGE: Firefox 3.5

  1. How new versions of popular browser stack up against each other
  2. Firefox 3.5
  3. Interface and extras
  4. Google Chrome 3
  5. Chrome's interface and extras
  6. Internet Explorer 8
  7. The interface and extras of IE8
  8. Opera 10
  9. Opera 10's interface and extras
  10. Firefox 3.5 for the Mac
  11. The interface and extras of Firefox 3.5 on the Mac
  12. Safari 4 for the Mac
  13. Safari 4's interface and extras
  14. Conclusion