Applications that divide the desktop into separate windows are nothing new, nor is the habit of keeping multiple windows open simultaneously, especially when surfing the Web. Small, low-resolution screens and a lack of graphics power have kept such tools from catching on. Slickscreen is a new variation on the theme that capitalizes on the increasing use of widescreen monitors and gaming-quality video cards to present a clearer, more useful multiwindow view when you're browsing. It divides your screen into non-overlapping, high-resolution browser windows that let you surf multiple sites simultaneously without obscuring any content.
We installed Slickscreen on a new PC with a midrange video card driving a wide-screen LCD monitor. It opened in a three-pane view with the Slickscreen welcome screen displayed in the larger window and our open Web pages in the other two. Each window has its own address bar, navigation buttons, and control icons, including zoom, drag and drop, and swap controls for manipulating panels. Along the top edge of its interface, Slickscreen sports a series of layout icons that let us quickly toggle between a single pane window and various combinations of two, three, four, and more panes. We clicked the four-pane view and browsed to a new site in the blank window. We could refresh, print, and bookmark pages, open pages in our default browser, and open new tabs within the individual panels from their toolbars. The program's configuration options included sliders to set auto refresh and rotation rates; customizable skin colors; and an Advanced tab that let us disable auto zooming and embed Windows Media Player in Slickscreen when opened locally.
Slickscreen is also available as Slickscreen Professional, with more startup and customization options and more automatic features. We look at it this way: 1) The freeware version is plenty capable; and 2) the Pro version costs about as much as a mediocre club sandwich. If you like Slickscreen, you have a choice that won't go wrong in either case. It's the first program of its kind we've actually liked enough to keep around.