Review: Tor Browser utilizes proxy servers effectively, but lags in performance

While seemingly more secure, this iOS Web browser is often slower than other apps.

Tor Browser is designed to provide an added layer of security when browsing the Internet on your mobile device. Using proxy technology to keep your IP address and location secure, the app taps into the Tor browsing interface that many journalists, hackers, and academics use to protect their privacy online. From our tests, the proxies appear to work well, but the actual browser has issues of its own.

While the browsing experience with Tor did protect privacy and ensure an anonymous browsing experience, the actual Web surfing experience was hurt because of it. The setup time is long, requiring about 30 seconds or so to connect and ready itself for use. After this, the browser will often take a bit longer than other browsers to load Web pages, sometimes as much as twice the time needed by Safari. Combined with the often overseas IP addresses opening non-U.S. versions of sites, it can be a bit frustrating to get to your favorite sites and access content.

The core component of Tor Browser works as advertised and offers a secure, private browsing experience, but the browser built around that technology is not quite good enough to replace the other browsers on your device, at least not for quick reads of articles, e-mail checking, and other basic activities. It's an OK free app that could use some work on the usability side.

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