The ongoing battle for Web browser supremacy leaves many Internet users confused about which one to use: Internet Explorer? Mozilla Firefox? Or Google Chrome, the current top browser? You can have all three with Avant Browser, a feature-packed free browser that incorporates the latest rendering engines of IE, Firefox, and Chrome, and lets you switch among them. Avant uses multiprocessing to keep one crashed or frozen tab from crashing the whole browser, and it's frugal with memory. It also offers optional free online storage for your bookmarks and other browser data. It offers tons of options, including the ability to enable AdBlocker and disable scripts, Java, ActiveX, and more with single clicks. Avant also boasts a Split View feature; customizable Mouse Gestures; a detached, always-on-top tab; and sidebars for bookmarks, history, feeds, and more.
Avant's attractive interface has just enough differences to stand out without being radically different from other browsers. The new Aero Glass theme supports all Windows 7 display advances and adds a few of its own, such as a hotkey-capable full-screen view that shows the browser toolbars when you mouse over them. The File, View, Tools, and other menus each offered some of the most extensive selections we've seen, such as a Clear Records submenu that let us clear 11 different browser caches or clear them all at once. When you first launch Avant, a pop-up lets you sign up for the optional Web-based data storage feature, a process that involves entering an email address and password. This feature lets you access your bookmarks and personal data from other locations. The browser lets users block Web site features that can cause sites to load slowly or crash, such as Flash animations.
Clicking Default Rendering on the Tools menu shows four options: IE Standard, IE Compatible, Firefox, and Chrome. We started by comparing Avant's Chrome engine with standalone Chrome, our default, and then to Firefox and both IE versions. Avant ran as fast as the standard browsers. Chrome still rules in either version, but the latest IE and Firefox engines are catching up. We could also set each browser engine's options separately.