Till now I have only been using the built in safari browser on my iPad. It is fast and smooth and works well enough. However, as we all know, it lacks important features that we are all very used to on our desktop browsers. Most importantly, tabs. Until the fall when the iOS5 update comes to us, we have to either make do with the built in Safari browser, or you can do what I did and try and find a replacement browser that fits your needs. I spent a little time and went through the App Store to see what other browsers were on offer for free as I didn’t want to spend money on a feature that is known to be coming to Safari anyway. I had done this once before on the recommendation of some friends, but was left more or less unsatisfied with what I had found. This time I was able to find some better alternatives to Safari that I actually liked using. This is a round-up of the three alternative browsers that I recommend for the iPad, all of them available in the App Store.
The Mango browser is good for people who really don’t want too much of a change but would like an alternative anyway. With Mango you can expect a dash of yellow in the interface and some eye candy when you go back and forward. Apart from that there is not much different from your standard browsing experience. The Mango browser also has a different of way of displaying your open tab or pages. It does this through a small floating window from where you can manage all the open pages or open new ones. The screen shots below will give you a fair idea of what to expect.
You can switch to this browser if you are tired of all the grey that is prevalent in most apple software.
iLunascape works slightly differently from the rest of the browsers. iLunascape moves all the controls to the bottom of the screen. This make some sense since that’s where you will find your hands to be present most of the times. Basically, except the address box and the search query box, everything else moves to the bottom of the screen. On the bottom you will find the controls for navigation, tabs, bookmarks, history, settings and a few others. All of these popup to show their actions. There is one restriction that I found in iLunascape though. You can only open six tabs/pages at any point of time. That’s not a whole lot. On an average, if I am not careful, I generally have about ten tabs open in my other browsers. However, I have to say that on the iPad, six maybe more than enough.
Sleipnir Mobile Browser
We finally come to Sleipnir (pronounce it however you are able) from Fenrir sofware. This is what I feel that I am going to be using most going forward. Sleipnir is a browser that excels at managing your information. More specifically your tabs / pages and your bookmarks. This browser comes equipped with a really advanced and well though out page manager (I will call it that, since there are no tabs in the interface). Sleipnir allows you to open any number of pages and arrange them in groups for easy reference. There are a total of six groups that you can put any of your open pages into and you can drag and drop these pages between groups with ease. Other interesting functions that Sleipnir offers are closing all the open pages, protecting pages from being closed by mistake, switching between pages in a group by swiping on the screen and gestures for a few other page related functions. All in all, I don’t think they have missed out on any tab management function in this browser. The open tabs of the current group you are in are always displayed on the bottom of the screen.
Secondly, bookmarks. Yes you can create bookmarks from any of the pages that you visit. However, Sleipnir’s trick likes in the management of the bookmarks that you have. you can again group these bookmarks into folders and have them displayed on the bookmarks bar for easy access. You can also attach tags to your bookmarks and have those displayed on your bookmarks bar instead of the folders.
Have you figured out how you want to pronounce the name yet. Let me know in the comments in case there are some other alternate browsers that you use.