View online videos in Visual Explorer Ultimate | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

View online videos in Visual Explorer Ultimate

This video-specialized browser has a lot going for it but needs some debugging.

It's tough to get noticed in the Browser Wars, let alone get ahead, but it helps to have an angle. Visual Explorer Ultimate is a free Web browser optimized for viewing and downloading video online. It offers a lot of security features, too, such as privacy, antiphishing, and ad-blocking capabilities, and it works with your Internet Explorer favorites. It requires IE5 or better installed in your system, too.

Visual Explorer's up-to-date interface includes a unified address-search bar called the Navigation Bar, built-in Google search field, and tabs. The default light blue color scheme and toolbar style give Visual Explorer a look that slightly recalls an old favorite, Netscape, but we could easily change the color and other elements using the Theme tool. Visual Explorer also handles add-ons, and it has a download manager. But video is Visual Explorer Ultimate's forte, so we browsed right over to YouTube, searched up an old favorite, and started the video inside the browser's interface. The first different thing we saw was a pop-up explaining Visual Explorer's Remove Noise feature, which is enabled by default but can be easily toggled off. When it's active, pressing F8 opens videos inside a special interface designed to reduce video "noise" and other distortion and display the highest possible video quality. We couldn't get the feature to work in 64-bit Windows 7, though. The program also crashed when we tried to play videos and even when we checked for updates.

Visual Explorer Ultimate has a lot to recommend, such as its Cloaking Device for private browsing and the PhishTank antiphishing tool. Its Help file and PDF-based manual offer lots of information, and it's one of the more attractive browser alternatives we've tried, too. But even after we'd disabled all add-ons, closed all other programs, and checked every setting we could think of, the browser still crashed when we ran it in 64-bit Windows. While 32-bit Windows users might have an easier time, Visual Explorer Ultimate needs more work before we can recommend it to all users.

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