I am not too privacy conscious, nor do I hate Google’s ecosystem. Therefore, Firefox has never been able to win me over. However, with the introduction of Firefox Quantum, I was one of the keenest users to try it out. It promised amazing speed, new minimal design, and a bunch of changes that will make Firefox go head to head against the other browsers (or Chrome, particularly).
So did Mozilla manage to fulfill the promise? Well, I’ve been using Firefox Quantum since its release, and I am pleasantly surprised by its performance, design and stability. Today, let’s see where the new Firefox stands and whether it’s worth a look or not.
Firefox Quantum’s speed
In my experience, I would say it is much faster than the previous Firefox. Not just page loading speed, but the navigation, tab opening/closing, menu, and pretty much everything is faster. However, comparing Firefox Quantum with any of the browsers available is very difficult, if not impossible. The new Firefox knows how to take full advantage of your device hardware, but other browsers only partially take advantage.
I know it’s confusing, which is why it’s important to know how Firefox Quantum handles the processes. Let me help you understand further.
How Firefox Quantum utilizes resources
To make it easier for you, I’ll compare Chrome and Firefox process handling. When you open a new tab in Chrome, it will take a separate block of RAM to store the process and tell one of the CPU cores to handle that process. Whenever you open a new tab, it will repeat the same process, basically opening a completely new process for each tab.
In the below screenshot you can see that Chrome has opened seven processes for the seven tabs I opened.
There are two flaws in this process. As a new block of RAM is used for each process, Chrome uses considerably higher RAM (the reason why it has memory issues). Additionally, only a single CPU processor is dedicated to the process, so the most power it can ever get is limited to the power of a single core.
When you open a tab in Firefox Quantum, it takes a block of RAM to store the tab processes, and then the process is divided in parts, and each available core of the CPU is told to process those parts simultaneously. However, it will only open up to four processes by default, and afterwards it will save other tabs in the same memory blocks.
The below screenshot shows that Firefox has opened four processes apart from its two main processes even though I have six tabs opened up.
As limited processes are opened at one time, Firefox Quantum uses much less memory. As said by Mozilla, it uses 30% less memory than Chrome. Additionally, all the available CPU processors are used to run a process; therefore, Firefox gets more power to speed up page loading and keep things stable.
In short, whether you have a two core CPU or eight cores, Chrome will only be able to take advantage of a single core to power up a single process. On the other hand, Firefox Quantum will always work faster the more powerful your PC is. In the future, even if you get a twenty core CPU, Firefox will be able to take full advantage of it unlike other browsers. This is why it is the browser for the future.
Firefox Quantum’s user interface
Firefox Quantum interface is definitely modern the way a new browser should look. It’s sleek, minimal, and yet offers amazing customizability that we have always loved about Firefox. In my opinion, it’s more of a mixture of Chrome and Microsoft Edge UI, yet more functional. The transitions are smooth, there is no stuttering, and everything you need is right in front of you.
It seems Mozilla has put strict focus on ensuring you don’t have to learn a new interface. Everything magically seems to be in the perfect place where it is predicted to be. Although, I did find the main menu to be a little cluttered, but it is much more functional than the previous one with big buttons.
Not to mention those utterly cute monsters that pop up to guide you with different aspects of the browser. Who doesn’t like some cuteness while browsing the Web, right?
New features in Firefox Quantum
Amazing speed and the new user interface should be enough to entice you to try Firefox Quantum, although there are also a few new features that make Firefox more interesting.
Screenshot tool: There is a surprisingly intuitive screenshot tool that lets you take different types of screenshots and easily download or share them.
Block most types of trackers: Firefox automatically blocks most types of known trackers in private browsing, and even in normal browsing if configured.
Show interesting content in the new tab: Apart from your visited websites, Firefox also shows popular articles, memes and more information about Mozilla.
Control processes limit: If you have higher RAM, you can also increase the total processes limit for even faster browsing. Just go to “Main menu -> Options -> General,” and you’ll find the option under the “Performance” heading.
Copy URL: There is a button next to the address bar that lets you quickly copy the URL.
Mozilla took a bold step creating Firefox from scratch, and I am sure it will pay off in the near future. Currently, it’s the only browser that can take full advantage of your hardware resources and use them optimally. If speed and minimal interface matter to you, then Firefox Quantum is definitely worth trying. Not to mention, Firefox still has strict focus on privacy and customization.
Unfortunately, Firefox had to drop support for some of the old extensions to make this leap. If your required extension isn’t supported by Firefox Quantum, you may wait a bit until an alternative is available.