Microsoft's overnight posting of the final Internet Explorer 8 pre-release build prompted ZDNet Australia to run it through some benchmark tests against its counterparts.
Sunspider test results (shorter bars are better) and Google V8 v2 test results (longer bars are better).
Although its appearance is mostly unchanged from IE7, IE8 has received some new features, including a private browsing mode Microsoft calls InPrivate, joining long-present similar features in Safari, Opera, and Chrome.
The new Internet Explorer also has automatic crash recovery, domain highlighting for spotting phishers, and a safety filter. New plug-ins called Accelerators are designed to speed access to information. Users can choose from about 80 currently available for download, while pre-installed Accelerators include Windows Live functions like blogging, e-mail, mapping, and translating.
Microsoft's IE8 webpage explains the new features | Photo Courtesy Microsoft.
The browser, according to Microsoft, is virtually feature-complete, and users should expect little change between the release candidate and the upcoming final version.
"The ecosystem should expect the final candidate to behave like the release candidate," said IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch.
IE8 is compatible with Windows XP SP2 and Vista, but not the Windows 7 beta. Microsoft says it will build a version of IE8 into the final release of Windows 7 with "unique features and functionality" exclusive to the company's new operating system that will eventually succeed Vista.