At a Glance
Netscape 9 borrows many of the cutting-edge features from its competitors and adds some nice touches of its own. The default interface is clean, clear, and functional, a marked contrast to the jumble of buttons and text bars which mar Explorer 7. It has a multi-functional sidebar which can show, as you desire, bookmarks, history, a mini-browser (allowing you to view two pages on the same tab), or Netscape's Linkpad. This clever innovation lets you store links for later review without cluttering your bookmarks with one-time URLs. Although the mini-browser would be more useful if it could be positioned horizontally, the other functions are very handy, and the ctrl-key switching between them is fast and smooth.
Response was generally snappy for normal use, with about a half-dozen tabs open. Even picture-heavy pages loaded quickly and smoothly. The download tool manages multiple files simultaneously. It shows them all in a single window, instead of cluttering your taskbar with multiple processes. It also gives you the option to restart a failed or interrupted download
In addition to the convenience of remembering your passwords, Netscape also allows you to enter a master password which unlocks all the others. This makes the save-password feature useful in an office or shared computing environment, where co-workers or family members might be using your computer.
The most distinctive feature of Netscape 9 is its emphasis on community. Netscape users can rate sites as interesting (or dull), so that other users can see what's hot--- or at least they are supposed to be able to do so. This feature would be very nice--making the browser a social networking application as well as a Web viewer--but I was unable to activate the feature on my computer. Despite becoming a Netscape.com member, making sure the option to disable this functionality was not checked, and restarting the browser, this function did not work on my PC. This was the only serious issue I noticed; a lesser issue was the curious inability to import settings from separated-at-birth twin browser Firefox (on the up side, Opera and Explorer imported easily).