Firefox Review

Bottom Line

Firefox is the best customizable browser thanks to its stellar options (with a dizzying array of features), speed, privacy and security. Firefox offers multiple search engines that are easy to use, great ways to organize tabs and a simple, easy-to-use interface. It isn't the fastest browser on the market, but is a solid choice for consumers whether they're using default settings or creating their own personalized browsing experience.

Performance

Pros

  • Highly customizable
  • Simple design
  • Strong privacy settings

Cons

  • Slower than leading competitors
  • Incompatible with Windows 8 touch-screen OS
Our Analysis
Specs

Features

Thousands of add-ons create a personalized browser. Firefox continues to excel at offering add-ons that help users manage everything from tabs to security to privacy, making it the leader in creating a customized browser. (Among Firefox's most popular add-ons is the ad-blocker app.) Newer features include a built-in PDF viewer (but no built-in Flash) and the ability to get easy notifications from social networks in the browser via its Social API tool (the downside: Facebook is no longer supporting it.) Firefox has auto updates, including for its browser extensions, syncing between devices (Chrome's is easier, but requires a Google sign-in) and Firefox's mobile app is fast and laden with features, according to a CNET test review. Windows RT (for tablets) and "Metro" touch-screen Windows 8 users can't use it, however; not surprisingly, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the best bet for compatibility with Windows 8 desktop.

Privacy and Security

Your privacy is a priority. Mozilla's Firefox has long been at the forefront of privacy settings and continues to offer separate address and search bars -- a must for privacy mavens who don't want the address bar making predictions based on previous searches. Firefox's address bar can work as a search bar (if you so choose) but it offers multiple, tailored search providers (like Amazon or eBay, making shopping easier.) Its privacy settings are easy to find (unlike its main competitor, Chrome) and its Lightbeam tool lets you see who is tracking your browsing. In one informal poll by Naked Security, Firefox ranked as the top browser for trustworthiness, but it performed very poorly in anti-malware lab tests, catching just 4 percent of threats.

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