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Internet Explorer 9 Review – The first GOOD Microsoft web browser in a long time

Internet Explorer 9 Review – The first GOOD Microsoft web browser in a long time

by Stephan StefanMarch 16, 2011
Internet Explorer 9
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With Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft wants to make us forget the past full of critics and controversy about the previous Internet Explorer versions. For the purpose, the final IE9 version, which is now available for download on the Microsoft website, welcomes us with a minimalist interface, with follows the current trend set by other web browsers ( Firefox, Chrome ).

Regarding performances, it promises not to annoy us with slow loading times, and HTML 5 support and hardware acceleration guarantees that the browser is compatible with the latest web standards. Also, Microsoft says that the new Internet Explorer web browser is very secure and has no vulnerabilities ( let’s take their world on that,  for now ).

Install Process

Installing Internet Explorer 9 took more than any other web browser – approximately 4 minutes, during which we were unable to run other applications. This is a first bad impression, but easily overlooked.

The interface of the new IE9 is very simple: we have the navigation arrows, the search bar, tabs and somewhere on the right we have the Home, Favorites and Tools buttons. On the bottom of the page we notice that the status bar has disappeared. On the search bar we can see the Compatibility Mode, Refresh and Stop buttons.

We can easily personalize the interface with the help of the contextual menu that allows us to display the menu bar, favorite websites and the address bar at the bottom of the page.

The contextual menu inside a website offers us a few useful options, like translating the text or localizing the selected text on Bing ( an address, city, major interest point ).

Regarding tabs, we have to mention the fact that they can transformed into new windows using the drag & drop feature. This is also possible in Chrome and Firefox, but for Internet Explorer this is something new. We also have to mention the fact that the tab home page is very well built. It displays the most accessed websites – nothing different from competing web browsers.

A last aspect regarding the interface is notifications. They appear in the lower side of the page, reason for which many users might not notice them or they might notice them hard at first.


Internet Explorer 9 supports add-ons, however the installation process is not integrated in the browser. They can be installed running a setup wizard, and uninstalling can be done from Control Panel, just like we uninstall regular applications.

Hardware acceleration and HTML 5 support

Hardware acceleration helps us live a better web experience, especially when the websites we visit are loaded with animated elements. Microsoft provides us with a Test drive page and a few games and demos that are hard on the processor and video card. Also on that demo page we can see a few HTML 5 demos.

Web Standards

The previous IE versions were disappointing in Acid3 tests, which are relevant for web standards. We remember the 20/100 score received by Internet Explorer 9.

With a 95/100 result, Internet Explorer 9 does a much better job, but it’s still not perfect. The score indicates the fact that IE9 failed 5 tests.

Speed Test

Speed is not the most important factor, but it surely matters when the differences compared to other browsers are high. Internet Explorer 9 received good results when tested with SunSpider and PeaceKeeper Benchmark.

Sunspider JavaScript Benchmark 0.9.1

Internet Explorer 9….. 430,6 ms +/- 0,5%
Chrome 10……………563,7 ms +/- 1,6%
Firefox 3.6.15…………1726,6 ms +/- 2,8%
Opera 11.01…………..525,2 ms +/- 0,8%
Safari 5………………..665,2 ms +/- 0,6%

Peacekeeper Benchmark

Internet Explorer 9….. 2409
Chrome 10……………5068
Firefox 3.6.15…………1525
Opera 11.01…………..4445
Safari 5……………….2726

PeaceKeeper Web Browser Results

Internet Explorer 9

Chrome 10

Firefox 3.6.15

Opera 11.01

Safari 5

If we look at what results Internet Explorer 8 used to get, we notice extraordinary performance improvements. Further more, Microsoft says that IE9 is a very safe web browsers, without vulnerabilities and with enhanced security options. Only time will tell how true these statements really are.

What’s the bottom line ? Internet Explorer 9 is not the best browser ever created, but it made real progress compared to previous versions and it manages to deal with the competition from all points of view.

Probably IE9 is not going to be impressive regarding market share, no matter how great it turns out to be. The reason is what it is now compatible with Windows XP or older versions, which is a mistake because Windows XP still is one of the most used OS in the world.

Rating: 4.5

About The Author
Stephan Stefan

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