Seller: Maxthon Asia Limited
Requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
File Size: 4.2MB
There is no shortage of good Web browsers for either OS X or the iOS, but Maxthon, a software developer specializing in Web browsers, is moving into both platforms in a big way, with a plan to provide users with a seamless browsing experience across multiple platforms and devices.
The Maxthon Web Browser for iPad has been out for some time now, and this week its developers launched a Maxthon for Mac public beta, introducing Mac users to the high-performance browsing experience already available to by more than 100 million Maxthon users around the world on the Windows, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook, iPad, and BlackBerry platforms, with more than 550 million downloads of its PC browser alone. Maxthon touts speedy page loads, built-in convenience and productivity features such as a Web news portal home page, automatic bookmark synching, HTML5 friendliness, and much more as distinguishing the Maxthon browser. An iPhone version is promised soon..
“Maxthon for Mac is the first iteration of several offerings for Apple, to be followed by Maxthon for iPhone, which will lead to cross-platform syncing for PC, Android and Apple,” said Maxthon CEO Jeff Chen. “With Maxthon for Mac, our users around the globe will no longer have to choose one competing brand of hardware or operating system over another.”
I’ve downloaded both the Maxthon Web Browser for iPad, which is a final release, and the Maxthon for Mac beta release. I’ll post a review of the Mac version soon, but will first concentrate on the iPad app, taking a look at how well its featured claims hold up.
Speed: Maxthon says it takes complete advantage of the latest iPad hardware to make your web surfing fast. However, while Maxthon for iPad is a lively performer, I don’t perceive any overall speed advantage over Safari, Chrome, Diigo, Sleipnir, Puffin and several other speedy iOS web browsers. Maxthon certainly holds its own speed-wise in that pack, but doesn’t break out of it, at least not dramatically.
Cloud syncing: With a Maxthon Passport account, you can access your favorites (ie: bookmarks…the Maxthon folks haven’t quite caught in to Apple-speak terminology) in any devices that run Maxthon anywhere and anytime. This one is a significant advantage for those of us who use multiple computing devices.
Super gesture: Maxthon brings gesture browsing to its iPad version. If you’re a gesture fan, you’ll appreciate this capability.
Quick Access: Go to all your favorite websites in just one single tap. A somewhat unique and useful capability as well.
Tabbed browsing: Just about all Web browsers have tabs these days, but Maxthon for iPad does have very nice tab implementation—happily one that does not arbitrarily close open tabs when the tab bar fills the screen like Safari does.
Absolutely free with no advertisements: I’m usually not troubled by the ads in ad-supported software, but not having it is no hardship if the app is still free.
There’s nothing radical about the appearance of Maxthon for iPad’s user interface, but it is extraordinarily cheerful-looking and attractive, at least to my sense of aesthetics. Aside from good looks, its benefits include thoughtful features like a navigation button that opens the last closed tab or page, a handy button palette (summoned by the button at the upper right that looks like three bars with dots) for accessing a variety of functions, such as sharing to email or Twitter, a sync tabs button, a Downloads button which opens a Download Manager (the utility I’m not sure of in an iOS context), and the browser settings.
What I do find especially useful is a very handy built-in screenshot feature that gives you the option of either a full-screen capture or using a crop frame to capture a particular element on the page.
Another feature I like is Maxthon’s implementation of a Reader function, with a really cool card flip animation that gives you a full screen view of a page’s unadorned text.
There’s doubtless more, but as usual these days, Maxthon is extremely light on documentation, both in the app and on their Website, so one is left to poke around in trial and error mode, finding things by accident.
That said, I really like this browser, and what’s exciting is that it’s just in its infancy on the iOS and Mac. The Maxthon folks appear to be serious about making their multi platform browser a force to be reckoned with, and the iPad iteration at least is already good enough to rate a 4 out of 5.