Slicker Dolphin | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Slicker Dolphin

It has its pros, but the slicker Dolphin Browser HD--like its older sib--may take some getting used to.

Dolphin Browser was quite the find when it first broke the surface, pretty much pioneering alternative browsers on the Android platform. Since then, alt-browsers have become plentiful and sophisticated, and the Dolphin team has responded with a "high def," redesigned version of its app, meant for version 2.0 and higher of the Android operating system.

Dolphin's feature set is definitely its strength. In addition to tabbed browsing, bookmarking (that syncs to Google bookmarks), and multitouch zooming, it can also flag sites to read later as well as a tie-in to Delicious. You can 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 and add-ons (just one at the time of writing) that you can download for free.

It has its pros, but Dolphin Browser HD--like its older sib--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, though a neat option, isn't for everyone. There is some setup time since you'll likely need to define many of the most-useful gestures.

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 HD takes over as the default Web browser without asking for permission. Overall, Dolphin HD 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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