Drop the Default: 6 Alternative Web Browsers

Weekly Smartphone App Roundup

We all have our personal desktop browser preference, like Firefox or Chrome, because they fit us best, whether it's because of aesthetics, speed or the features they offer. There are similar reasons to exercise the power of choice when it comes to smartphone browsers. Some maximize screen size to get the most out of every pixel, while others chew on web code with the greatest appetite to deliver content faster. Alternate browsers for smartphones can reap many benefits and can make mobile surfing enjoyable rather than a last resort.

iOS

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Left: Atomic Web Browser - Right: iCab Mobile
Atomic Web Browser
The best apps are the ones that utilizes the hardware. Instead of fumbling for the small back/forward buttons, use a two finger swipe gesture. Atomic Web Browser hosts a wide range of features beyond gestures, such as fullscreen browsing, a download manager, autofill text, bookmarks that are easy to import and export, passcode lock, and private mode to keep your interests secure. $1

iCab Mobile
For a more customized browsing experience that offers a myriad of options, look no further than iCab Mobile. On top of full screen mode, a download manager connected to Dropbox and gestures, there is a guest mode to easily let a friend use the internet without any security risks. What really sells iCab Mobile for us is the built-in RSS reader, AirPrint and AirPlay extensions. $2

Android

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Left: Dolphin HD - Right: Maxthon
Dolphin HD
Dolphin HD takes the conventions of mobile browsing to a new level by integrating both gestures and voice control. Create symbols for favorite websites (like the Apartment Therapy logo for example) to avoid tedious typing, or use Sonar to tell Dolphin what you're looking for. On top of being quick and one of the better looking browsers, there are also add-ons like an RSS reader and password manager. Free
Also available for iOS

Maxthon
If there exists a need for speed in your surfing, then Maxthon is one that would serve you well. Maxthon manages to deliver the web asap and uses a stored cache to load previously viewed webpages double quick. Advanced custom gestures, full screen mode and a download manager keep it competitive with the best of them. Free

Windows Phone 7

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Left: SurfCube 3D Browser - Right: Surfy
SurfCube 3D Browser
Swipe controls with an interface smooth as silk describes SurfCube 3D Browser to a tee. Imagine your webpage being one side of a cube — swipe down to access the top, which houses the web address. Swiping right shows all your tabs, while swiping left has all your settings. Not only is it easy to use, but it loads webpages that the default Internet Explorer just can't handle (Facebook Mobile, we're looking at you). $2

Surfy
A lot of these apps have a lot of bells and whistles, but the main objective is to deliver the web. Surfy offers speed within a simple interface that streamlines webpages in full screen. We love how easy it is to jump between tabs with a simple flick. The auto-complete text feature also helps with google searching and inputing website addresses. Free