The EU-mandated browser ballot means that Microsoft has to tell you about other browsers.

Some of the rivals you already know, but others are pretty obscure - and every single one of them claims to be the fastest, the best or the fastestest bestest browser the world has ever seen.

Don't know your Avant Browser from your Greenbrowser? Fear not! We've put together this handy print-out-and-keep guide, and randomised the order so the EU can't accuse us of favouritism.

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Avant Browser

They say: The fastest web browser on Earth!

We say: Oh no it isn't - it's IE with knobs on. While those knobs include online storage, RSS reading, advert and Flash blocking and form autofills, it's still Internet Explorer underneath.

If you've ever wished that Opera ran a different and worse rendering engine with a user interface like the one Safari for Windows used to have before Apple saw sense, then this is the browser for you.

Fascinating fact: It used to be called IEopera, but not for very long.

Avant

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Safari

They say: It's a browser. It's a platform. It's an open invitation to innovate.

We say: It's up there with Chrome in terms of sheer speed, although features such as Cover Flow browsing of bookmarks are desperately slow on low-spec kit. It's definitely one for your shortlist, although watch the installer: it's very keen on shoving Apple Software Update and Bonjour networking onto your PC too.

Fascinating fact: Apple's WebKit engine is one of the web's most popular browsing technologies, and powers smartphone browsers too.

Safari

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Slimbrowser

They say: Best web browser software for Windows.

We say: Internet Explorer With Horrible Blue Interface. Like Avant Browser it's IE with a few extra bells and whistles such as ad blocking, web form filling and the ability to create truly horrible collections of toolbars.

Fascinating fact: According to one satisfied user on the Flashpeak website, Slimbrowser is "The real winner of the web browser wars". Don't tell the EU!

Slim browser

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Opera

They say: The fastest browser on Earth!

We say: No it isn't, but it is faster than Internet Explorer. Opera has a long track record of introducing new features that everyone else nicks, and it's definitely one of the most feature-packed programs you can get. The interface is a bit of a Marmite affair but you can include us in the "love it" camp.

Fascinating fact: Opera Turbo - included - can speed things up on congested Wi-Fi or mobile connections by compressing Web pages for you.

Opera

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K-Meleon

They say: An extremely fast, customizable, lightweight web browser based on the Gecko layout engine developed by Mozilla which is also used by Firefox.

We say: It's Firefox with a more Windows-y interface and the ability to edit the user interface by playing with simple text editing software. One for the tinkerers.

Fascinating fact: The very first version of K-Meleon, K-Meleon 0.1, took just one day to code. This epic speed win was made possible by not really including any features.

KMeleon

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Firefox

They say: The world's best browser

We say: The browser that really rattled Internet Explorer's cage is excellent, if prone to the odd wholesale takeover of your PCs memory. It's all about the add-ons, which make it the Swiss Army Knife of the Internet, and recent versions benefit from greatly improved performance - although it's still not as fast as Safari or Chrome.

Fascinating fact: Firefox's address bar is called the AwesomeBar, although no normal people use the term for fear of sounding silly.

Firefox

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Flock

They say: Flock is a browser… focused on keeping you close and better connected to the people, places and things you love.

We say: It's a thinly disguised Firefox with bits of big-name social networks glued to it, which means sharing things online is even faster than clicking on Twitter phishing scams. Good standards compliance and lots of features, but only social butterflies need apply.

Fascinating fact: One of Flock's key team members is a dog who provides "spunk and attitude".

Flock

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Maxthon

They say: A powerful tabbed browser built for all users. Seize the web!

We say: Maxthon - formerly known as MyIE2 - is yet another browser with Internet Explorer's Trident engine underneath it, and it resembles Firefox with a bunch of carefully chosen extensions including the inevitable feed reading and form filling together with more interesting things such as undo close tab, anti-freeze to isolate crashing browser tabs, and easy switching between proxy servers.

Fascinating fact: Maxthon started life as MyIE, a one-man project designed to customise Internet Explorer.

Maxthon

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Sleipnir

They say: Fully customisable web browser (For Advanced Users)

We say: You know all those times you've thought "man, I wish I could switch between the Trident and Gecko rendering engines without running two separate browser instances"? THIS IS THE BROWSER FOR THOSE TIMES!!!!

Fascinating fact: According to Wikipedia, in Norse mythology a Sleipnir is an eight-legged horse.

Sleipnir

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Chrome

They say: A web browser that runs web pages and applications with lightning speed.

We say: Amazingly fast development - it's been updated seventeen times since you started reading this sentence - and blistering performance makes Chrome a major pain in Microsoft's backside. Crashing tabs don't bring the whole thing down and the initial lack of ad-blockers has been addressed now that Chrome supports extensions. An excellent - and so far, not even slightly sinister - offering.

Fascinating fact: Google calls Chrome's combined search and address bar the Omnibox.

Chrome

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GreenBrowser

They say: GreenBrowser is your best choice of flexible and powerful green web browser.

We say: Essentially Maxthon hacked down to size with a big axe, GreenBrowser is based on the same MyIE codebase and offers a similar IE-with-knobs-on in a tiny 1.1Mb download. We're assuming the "green" bit is due to its low system footprint, or perhaps the colour you'll turn when presented with its truly horrid user interface. Rather appropriately for a Chinese program, it mings.

Fascinating fact: GreenBrowser sticks a big green G in front of anything on screen, like the Bat Signal. Clicking on it doesn't call Batman, though. It launches GreenBrowser.

GreenBrowser

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Internet Explorer

They say: Internet Explorer 8 is designed for what you really do on the web… now you can do all of those things faster, safer, and easier than ever. Really.

We say: A genuinely decent effort from Microsoft, but the ageing Trident browser engine is no match for IE's younger, fitter rivals - especially if you're a heavy user of online applications such as Google Mail. Arguably the least secure browser out there, not so much because of its technology but because it's the favourite target of malware writers and scammers.

Fascinating fact: When Microsoft made IE6, it didn't bother making another browser for five years.

IE8

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Liked this? Then check out Why the browser ballot screen will help Chrome

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