Featured Freeware: Maxthon

Maxthon and Maxthon Classic are Earth-2, alternate-reality versions of the Internet Explorer engine, topped with customization features that more closely resemble Firefox.

Maxthon and Maxthon Classic are Earth-2, alternate-reality versions of the Internet Explorer engine, topped with customization features that more closely resemble Firefox. Especially popular in China, it's one of the most popular browsers around. It renders pages fast and comes loaded with features--as if Firefox came with 90 percent of its most popular plug-ins.

The differences between the two versions are not readily apparent. Maxthon 2 features loads more customization ability, but sacrifices a bit of stability for the privilege. Its design is stylish compared to the old version, and its new approach to accessing functions makes it more competitive.

As far as features go, it's a fully modern browser. Tabs, skins, add-ons, auto-form filling, auto-scrolling, bookmark groups that open on startup, and security options are all present and accounted for. Other rolled-in features include customizable hot-key commands for such nifty features as auto-completing URLs, so that if you type "download" and hold down the Ctrl key, it will auto-fill the "http://" and the ".com". The online favorites service is similar to that offered by other browsers, and works well. If you're a browser junkie, don't give this alternative to the alternatives a pass.

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