Android Web browser alternative

While it has its pros, Dolphin Browser is also home to cons that may turn some users off.

Dolphin Browser was quite the find when it first broke the surface, pretty much pioneering alternative browsers on the Android platform. Since then, there are more apps to contend with, including a slick-looking Opera Mini browser and a scrappier, charming xScope browser. While it has its pros, Dolphin Browser is also home to cons that may turn some users off. Its design, for instance, may take some getting used to. Its search bar is intuitive enough, but there is a tiny learning curve to navigate the list of options you see when you open a new tab. The gestures area, while a neat option, takes some set up time since you need to define the bulk of gestures used to navigate.

Dolphin's feature set is definitely its strength. In addition to tabbed browsing, bookmarking (that syncs to Google bookmarks), and multitouch zooming, it has the capability to flag sites to read later as well as a tie-in to Delicious. You can also search content within a page, subscribe to RSS feeds through Google Reader, and share links with social networks. The capability to download YouTube videos is another plus, as is swiping to switch between open tabs. It also has voice search in the new tab page, and you can choose if Web sites see you as an Android, iPhone, or Desktop user. There are additional themes you can download for free.

Its performance can be a little laggy, and some actions aren't as intuitive as they should be--such as setting and changing the home page and navigating to a new page from an open tab. The biggest negative so far is that Dolphin takes over as the default Web browser without asking for permission. Overall, Dolphin looks good and there are some slick features, but there are also a few drawbacks that will turn some users off. The ad-supported version of Dolphin is free; but for a $5 fee, you get a version that cuts the ads.

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