App Review: Dolphin Browser
As a rooted Android userUnlike Jailbreaking for the iPhone, rooting on Android allows you to change everything about your phone. From versions of android to boot animations you can do it all. I frequently jump from one Android operating system to another for various reasons but the main reason being performance. I’ve often found that through the various iterations of Android that the default browser is straight garbage. The other day I was playing around with Google Chrome on my iPad and that has replaced Safari as my default browser. It’s just great but I can’t have it on my phone that runs Google’s OS – go figure. It’s not hard to replace the default of anything on your phone because someone usually creates something cooler or more useful. This little light bulb prompted me to fiddle around with the only other browser I’ve ever kept from one Android ROM/OS to another.
Dolphin Browser is what the default browser should be. The default browser just sucks no matter what version you’re using and since I don’t have ICS, I can’t use Chrome. Dolphin has one giant plus over the rest of the stock Android browsers. It has tabs. When you use your browser as often as I do it gets to be quite annoying to have to hit menu, windows and then select the open tab you want. With Dolphin all of that frustration goes away with the simple addition of top tabs just like the web browser on your PC. You automatically start at a home tab that has quick tabs aligned neatly so that you can get to your favorite sites without leaving the browsers first tab. It’s handy and it shows that they put some thought into user efficiency which is a huge plus especially when they’re competing against the likes of Opera and Chrome for the best mobile browser.
I recently got an update for Dolphin and what was already a great browser got even better with the addition of an awesome feature. Simply shake your phone and speak to get what you want. If you want to go search for places to go in Timbuktu then all you have to say is exactly that and it will promptly and accurately bring up Google results. You can also use it to close tabs, open a tab, and open YouTube videos and a host of other things that I haven’t been able to try out yet. They still let you draw gestures to get to places as well if you’ve gotten used to that.
What don’t I like about it?
Well the main thing that I don’t enjoy is that it doesn’t come standard with Android so it doesn’t have that deep integration that makes it a seamless experience however here are a few complaints.
- The new voice service has a ways to go. For example it can’t really search for things that are not words so when saying “go to my bloggity blog” it will search “my blog blog”.
- I honestly don’t like their app logo. I know that sounds petty but it just doesn’t look cool.
- Sometimes it seems to reset my default setting so I have to select it as my main browser again which they provide a popup for but that also fails sometimes and I must clear the default settings in Android.
What else do I like?
- I love the ability to switch how my device registers to the site so that I can load the desktop version if necessary or the iPad version. Very handy for a website owner like me to see how things look on multiple versions without leaving my phone.
- I really enjoy the add-ons. I use Morning Coffee when I’m having my morning coffee. You just click it and it opens up your 4 most used sites so that you can just slide between them.
- I like that you can change the theme of the browser and have it be multiple different color schemes. It is a lot like Firefox and Chrome in that respect and it is a feature I enjoy.
- Lastly I like their simplified settings and security settings. They only require one click and they’re easy to find which is more than I can say for the default Android browser.
I think it is apparent that I enjoy Dolphin Browser quite a bit. It takes some getting used to if you’ve been stuck with the default browser for some time but it is worth the switch. Everything about the app is refined and continually updated. While their newest feature is lacking the overall responsiveness of Google’s voice search it still is awesome not to have to leave the app to use voice functions. I love other browsers on my iPad but on Android nothing can compete with Dolphin Browser, not even Google Chrome and that is truly saying something.
Have a look for yourself: