Browser+ HD iPad app offers a unique web browsing experience

Jan 31, 2011
Tech

Browser+ HD (99 cents) is a sleek web browser for the iPad that takes advantage of as much screen real estate as possible by offering some unique features. You can browse full screen and open links in an overlay view so you don’t lose your current position on a page. While it lacks some of […]

Browser+ HD (99 cents) is a sleek web browser for the iPad that takes advantage of as much screen real estate as possible by offering some unique features. You can browse full screen and open links in an overlay view so you don’t lose your current position on a page. While it lacks some of the bells and whistles of competing browsers, it has some hidden secrets that make it a pleasure to use.

The first thing to note is that your browsing experience is always full-screen. There are no navigation buttons on the screen, and the address/search bar is tucked away. I definitely prefer full-screen browsing to having a bunch of toolbars and buttons in my way. It’s a much cleaner way to browse the web.

To type in a web address, or perform a Google search, you need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen. This brings up the address/search bar and the keyboard. Once you’re at your page, the keyboard goes away, and you’re in full-screen mode again. You can browse your history and most-visited pages by swiping from either side of the screen to the center. Here, you’ll see thumbnails of your most-visited sites and a scrollable bar of your browsing history. These are, essentially, your bookmarks. Even though you can’t actually bookmark any sites, your favorites probably will be your most visited. While I agree that a bookmarking feature is a necessary component, I didn’t miss it much while I was simply browsing the web. Bookmarks are more of a work tool than a casual browsing feature.

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In an attempt to do away with the “Back” button, Browser+ HD has incorporated overlay view. Instead of tapping on a link and having your entire screen change to that new page, you can tap and hold to open it up in an overlay view, on top of your current page. Here, you can read the article, then tap the “X” to get right back to where you were. There’s no need to hit the “Back” button when you open your links in this manner. If, for some reason, you need it, you can easily swipe to the center of the screen to bring up a thin forward/backward/refresh toolbar.

I didn’t notice any significant speed differences between this browser and Safari. It functions very well, and is definitely a pleasure to use. At the time of this review, it is in its 1.0 version, and will undoubtedly get better with more updates. I could see the need for more slots for most-visited sites. I would also love to see the addition of bookmarks. Other than that, I see no reason not to try this browser out. It’s a great way to browse the web, full-screen.

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