I don’t think anyone was really expecting to see a new release of Apple’s Safari browser today, but it has dropped down the tubes for all to enjoy. Apple is once again boasting the performance of the browser when stacked up against the other mainstream alternatives, and according to them Safari comes out well on top in terms of HTML performance and JavaScript performance.

As you may recall we recently put many of the different browser up against Apple’s SunSpider JavaScript test, and Firefox 3 pre-release builds topped the charts. At the time though we didn’t test it against pre-release versions of Safari 3.1, and so we thought that we would do that now. Here are some of our past results intermingled with the newest versions of the browsers (the lower amount of time is better):

  1. Firefox 3 Beta 4: 6972.2ms
  2. Safari 3.1: 7411.8ms
  3. Opera 9.5.9807 Beta: 10824.0ms
  4. Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1: 14302.0ms
  5. Safari 3.0.4 Beta: 18012.6ms
  6. Firefox 29376.4ms
  7. Internet Explorer 7: 72375.0ms

Note: All tests were performed on the same Windows machine.

Apple definitely holds the performance crown when comparing it to other released browsers, but once Firefox 3 makes its way out there will be a new king of the hill. So if you were developing a lengthy diabolical plan as to how you were going to switch from Firefox to Safari you might want to hold off if performance was the sole deciding factor.

As far as the Acid 3 test goes Safari 3.1 scores a 75/100, which isn’t quite as good as the nightly builds demonstrated when we last tested it. It’s still the closest a browser comes to passing the test though.

I haven’t noticed any new features in Safari 3.1, and so if you find something I would love to know about it. I do have to say it does feel pretty snappy though when it comes to loading pages. I might have to whip up some more comparisons between the browsers available.

Download Safari 3.1 (Mac or Windows)