You really can’t go wrong with any Web browser choice these days. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari, all are fast, standards compliant, and feature rich. A lot boils down to what you’re comfortable with and which features are most important to you. For many people, the choice is moving to the product offered their favorite search site. The last time we compared all five major Web browsers Google Chrome had just over 12 percent of the market. That’s now doubled, and it looks like Chrome’s market share will pass Firefox’s soon.

I’d like to think the reason for this was my awarding Chrome the PCMag Editors’ Choice, but there are other possible good reasons for Chrome’s rise. Foremost among them is speed. Links to download the browser on the leading search site, and bundles with PC makers doesn’t hurt either. But Chrome adds a few compelling features all its own: Chrome Instant means you’ll often see your page before you’ve even finished typing its address or title. And it’s the only browser with a built-in Flash player and PDF reader.

But Chrome doesn’t have a monopoly on unique features or speed. Internet Explorer 9 brought Microsoft’s fading browser a need boost, with JavaScript speed comparable to Chrome, and even started its own performance improving trend—graphics hardware acceleration. Now Firefox and Chrome come along with their own graphics hardware acceleration, and other browsers will surely follow. But IE still offers some distinguishing points, most of which come from its close integration with Windows 7. (IE 9 and up will only run on Windows 7 or Vista.) Pinned sites is a big one. This lets users keep a permanent button for a site in the taskbar, which opens a browser with the site’s own branding, rather than IEs.

While many browsers offer ability to sync your bookmarks, settings, and history Firefox offers perhaps the strongest, even syncing with its mobile Android version. I’ve often been shocked to come home to a PC, fire up the browser, and see the exact same group of tabs I’d left at work. Speaking of Tabs, Firefox offers one of the most innovative way to organize lots of tabs, with its Panorama tab-grouping feature. Lately, Firefox has made progress in startup time and memory usage, longstanding complaints.

Perhaps the most innovative browser of all over the years has been the Norwegian-made Opera. Opera introduce a good many of the standard features we take for granted—built-in search, popup blocking, and even tabs themselves. Recently, Amazon has taken a page from Opera by emulating Opera Mini and Opera Turbo’s Web caching speedup. Opera’s bag of tricks include Unite—which actually turns your browser into a Web server, so that you can host your photos, or even a chat. Lately, the Nordic company has added live tiles on its Speed Dial new-tab page, not unlike those to be featured in Windows 8.

And don’t rule out Apple’s Safari in your browser shopping. Though this browser is mostly associated with Mac OS, the stylish tech company makes a Windows version, too. Only Safari offers a Reader view, which lets you focus on the text of publication styles sites. More recently, Apple’s added a Reading List feature, which saves sites you want to peruse later. Safari also sports Apple’s trademark design prowess, particularly in its Top Sites gallery new-tab page and its Cover Flow view of your history and bookmarks.

Other things you’ll want to take into consideration when choosing a browser include support for HTML5 and Privacy. Both of these are moving targets, with Chrome leading the pack on the first and Internet Explorer on the latter, with its Tracking Protection. In the reviews below, you’ll see appraisals of how each player performs in these areas, along with several different types of speed tests and detailed feature analyses. But remember, don’t be afraid to try the browsers out for yourself—they’re all a free download away!

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