A few weeks ago I wrote about Atomic Web as the best web browser for iOS devices, and while I believe it is a superior option, Atomic Web is not the only alternative web browser you can use on your iOS device. There are three more—Dual Browser, iCabMobile, and iSwifter—that are all great options because of their unique features. Let's check them out.
The aptly named Dual Bowser ($1.99) allows you to view two different web pages side-by-side. Say you're browsing WonderHowTo on your iPad and you want to open a link without navigating away from your current page. Well, of course you could open the link in a new tab, but with Dual Browser you can open the link in the other browsing window!
There are several dual browsers in the iTunes App Store, but Dual Bowser is the only one I know of that provides the option for opening links in the other window. All you have to do is press down and hold on a link, and a contextual menu will appear in which you can choose to open the link in the other browser.
Dual Browser has traditional web browser features for saving and managing bookmarks, downloading images, and setting a web page or site as your home page. Overall, the app works, but sometimes it crashes and it doesn't include password protection like other alternative web browsers for iOS devices. Nevertheless, it's an app that remains on the home page of my iPad.
I just discovered iCabMobile ($1.99), and I would say that it runs almost neck to neck with Atomic Web for its abundance of features. You will spend at least an hour customizing all the features that iCabMobile has to offer.
iCabMobile includes password protection, hand gesture navigation (all customizable), automatic tabs, full screen mode, guest mode, Dropbox support, QuickStarter feature, AirPrint support (iOS 4.2 required), simple built-in RSS reader, and so much more.
Like Atomic Web, the hand gesture navigation means that you can, for example, go back and forth between opened tabs and pages with the tap or swipe of your fingers. With assigned finger gestures, you can close pages, create a new tab, increase and decrease the font size of a page, quickly jump to the bottom or top of a page, etc. All you need to decide is what you do most when web browsing, and then assign gestures to your favorite actions.
iCabMobile also has tons of modules, including a built-in Calculator and a ClipConverter that converts embedded videos that are not normally supported by iOS. I tried using that particular feature on a few videos, but I kept getting error messages, plus the process was slow.
Though more and more sites are providing iOS support for their videos, you do still come across sites that only exist in Flash format. If and when you need to download and watch Flash videos on your iOS device, iSwifter is probably your best solution.
iSwifter will play Flash games and movies. It supports sites like Facebook, Evony, VEVO, Adventure Quest, Wired News, and Yahoo Movies.
However, I have to warn you that the playback quality is not top notch. While the last update of iSwifter improved the jerky web page scrolling, it still doesn't play videos in full resolution. I haven't tested it out on games.
Nevertheless, it's great to have on your iPad or iPhone for those occasions when you need it. iSwifter is a free download, but the developers are adding a subscription price of $2.99. You can try it for 7 days and then decide to upgrade to the paid subscription. It's worth checking out.
Let me know what you think of these or other alternative iOS web browsers in the comment section below.
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