First impression of Safari 5: meh.
My first stop with any new browser is Futuremark's Peacekeeper. On my home system running Windows 7 and an AMD Phenom 9550, Google Chrome 6 posts a 5236 (I'm not running quite the insane rig that Sebastian is). Safari 5 came in well behind at 3360 points -- about 35% slower. Apart from the concrete Peacekeeper numbers, many of the sites loaded noticeably slower -- ours, for example -- than they do in Google Chrome (5 or 6).
Enough of the stale benchmarking and performance talk... Let's move along and take a look at what's new and shiny under the hood in Safari 5.
There are a number of evolutionary changes, like the fact that you can now choose to have links that want to open in new windows open in new tabs instead, a smarter address bar which borrows some search tricks from Chrome's Omnibar, and the option of using Bing for searches. Help me out here -- am I missing something, or can I really not add additional search engines?
Developers, fans -- feel free to tell me something different, but I just don't find Safari 5 all that exciting on my Windows of OS X systems. Safari 5 just seems like it falls short of the mark being set by next-gen browsers like Chrome 6, Opera 10.60, Firefox 4.0 -- and even Internet Explorer 9.
Better HTML5 support, extensions, and all the other updates to v5 are indeed good additions, but I don't think they're enough to make Safari a compelling option for choosy users. Like Internet Explorer, however, Safari will no doubt continue to win by default -- because it's there on Macs and because Apple will probably keep piggybacking it on iTunes.