Competition among browsers is more fierce than ever. Chrome and Firefox release 72 new versions every week, Microsoft has redesigned Internet Explorer to make it finger-friendly, and as we all race to tablets and smartphones we're being tempted with all kinds of alternatives to systems' stock browsers.
But which is the best browser for you and your hardware? Let's find out.
We tested the latest official releases of the big browsers - Internet Explorer 10, Firefox 19, Safari 5, Chrome 25 and Opera 12 - on a Core i5 PC running Windows 8 Pro. It's worth noting that Safari on Macs running OS X Mountain Lion is at version 6, but the PC version and older Mac versions are one behind.
Whether you've got a Windows PC, Mac OS X laptop, an Android tablet or something in between, we've got it covered.
The best browser for speed
Every browser we tested felt perfectly snappy in everyday browsing, but as ever we put them through the Sunspider benchmark tests to see how well they fared. IE raced through the tests in 97ms in desktop mode, while the touch-based IE took 113.7 milliseconds. Those numbers are amazing: it wasn't that long ago that IE benchmarks were measured in millennia.
Chrome was next, at 147.2ms, Firefox was narrowly behind with 176.6ms, Opera scored 180.5ms and Safari was narrowly beaten into last place with 182.7ms.
The best browser for add-ons
Firefox has always been the king here, its combination of add-ons, App Tabs for web apps and Greasemonkey scripts making it the power user's friend. That's still the case, but Chrome is catching up fast, its Web Store positively packed. Apple and Microsoft's selections are fairly thin, but Opera's selection includes commonly used add-ons such as ad blockers, password managers and so on.
Opera deserves a special mention here because it's more than just a browser. It has integrated email, newsgroups and IRC chat, the Opera Unite file server, Opera Turbo to improve performance on crappy mobile connections, and Sidebar-style widgets for games, web applications and utilities.
The best browser for Windows 7
Safari simply doesn't cut it in this company: it's last year's browser, the slowest here, and we don't like the user interface very much. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but there's nothing particularly right with it either.
Long-term browser battle fans will be highly amused by IE's performance these days: it's really, really quick, comfortably ahead of its rivals, and now everyone's making their browsers as minimalist as possible there's no horrible UI to get angry at unless you start going crazy with third-party toolbars. Please don't. For sheer speed on Windows 7 PCs, IE is the browser to go for.
The best browser for Windows 8
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If you're sold on the new touchy-feely direction of Windows 8 then Internet Explorer is the star, at least in Metro/Modern mode: it's a very nice touch-based browser, although it doesn't support Flash. Firefox has a Metro version in development, but it's not quite ready for prime time just yet.
In desktop mode it's the same story as with Windows 7: Safari knocked out first, IE winning on sheer speed and Chrome and Firefox competing on syncing and extensions support.
The best browser for Windows XP
Internet Explorer takes an early bath here, because it no longer supports Windows XP or Windows Vista. Our pick here would be Chrome: its system requirements are tiny (Pentium 4, 100MB of disk space, 128MB of free RAM), making it particularly good on even very modest hardware.