Maxthon Cloud Browser for OS X and iOS review [updated]

Sections: iDevice Apps, Internet / Websites, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Mac Software, Reviews

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Provides: Seamless web browsing
Format: Digital download
Developer: Maxthon
Price: Free
Availability: Out Now

I can’t generalize a whole lot about the Maxthon Cloud Browser, which got a major upgrade to Version 4.x in a December preview and was officially released on February 25.

Maxthon Cloud Browser versions are available for Windows, OS X, iOS and Android, and it’s designed to provide users with a seamless and unified user experience across multiple devices and platforms. I can’t speak to the Windows and Android versions, but I’m unevenly impressed with the OS X and iOS variants.

I found myself quickly becoming a fan of the OS X version; it’s a lot like Google’s Chrome browser—very fast and slick with super-smooth performance—but more so.

Maxthon Cloud Browser

The iOS version isn’t bad, just not nearly as outstanding as the OS X version. Interestingly, that would be my assessment of Google Chrome for iOS compared with Chrome for OS X, as well, and I think the reason in both instances is Apple’s imposition on its own WebKit technology on iOS browsers.

Using Maxthon Cloud Browser for iOS is not terribly different from the standard iOS Safari experience in terms of speed, but the iOS version of Maxthon has an absolutely maddening bug that sporadically turns the screen brightness on my iPad 2 down to minimum, obliging a trip to the iOS Settings to restore it. I suspect that Maxthon for iOS’s Brightness Control feature that purportedly lets you adjust screen brightness from within the browser, and/or Night Mode that adjusts screen brightness in low light situations are responsible for this behavior. The Brightness Control slider in the Maxthon dialog refused to work for me during screen brightness brownouts.

maxthon cloud browser

Maxthon is now the “Cloud Browser,” which means that users who sign up for a Maxthon Passport account can push web content (text, images, videos) to and from any of their supported Internet capable devices.

maxthon cloud browser

Registering as a Maxthon Passport member gives you free, instant access to Cloud services, online favorites and browser settings that travel with you from computer to tablet to smartphone. Maxthon securely encrypts and syncs these services automatically.

I have to say I found the sign up process tedious, and it took me three tries with three different email accounts before it successfully executed. For some reason, Maxthon Passport didn’t seem to like Gmail or GMX. Also note that your email address is used as your primary log-in identifier for Maxthon Passport, and you can not delete it without deleting your entire Maxthon Passport account.

Maxthon Cloud Browser

Once you have your Passport account, launch Maxthon 3, click on the three-bar symbol menu at the upper right, and log in from there. After you log in, your online favorites will start to sync automatically. To manually sync your favorites, click the “sync favorites” link under the log-in box at any time.

Cloud Sharing also enables pushing files (text, images, videos. links, maps) directly to a friend’s device via SMS or email. The recipient doesn’t have to be using Maxthon Cloud Browser to view it, and doesn’t have to belong to any particular social network to receive it.

Maxthon Cloud’s Cloud Download feature backs up users’ web downloads in the cloud, making it possible to access them locally and from any Internet device using any supported operating system.

Maxthon says the Cloud Browser’s engine—C4—is a fast and powerful pushing, storage and syncing engine that has high-performance cloud backup and syncing capabilities. With data encryption and a distributed architecture for storage, C4 protects users’ privacy and secures their data.

Most common actions and processes are standardized in a “Unified User Experience” across devices and platforms, allowing users easily to learn something once and then do it the same way on other devices.

Cloud Download supports downloading files in various formats and uploading them to “My Cloud” for backup on any device. My Cloud Tabs lets you pick up where you left off by automatically syncing your tabs to iOS, Windows or Android devices. Cloud Sync syncs Bookmarks/Favorites and other content seamlessly across Windows, Mac and Android devices.

Maxthon Cloud Browser Features:

  • Super Drag and Drop: Highlight a URL or words on a webpage and then drag and drop into your Address Bar to open a new page or execute a web search.
  • Mouse Gestures: Trigger commands like Refresh, Close Tab, Page Top/Down and Previous/Next Tab.
  • Built-in Flash Support (Mac): No need to install Flash to watch Flash videos on Maxthon for Mac.
  • Extension Center: Maxthon’s extension center makes it easy to find extensions to add even more features and firepower to Maxthon browser. Maxthon for Mac is compatible with Chrome extensions.
  • Security and Privacy: All user data is encrypted to ensure security. “Do Not Track” is offered to protect privacy from ad networks and beacons.

Returning features from Maxthon’s earlier browsers in Cloud Browser:

  • Cross-Platform Sync: Maxthon Cloud Browser further simplifies the user experience by making cross-platform syncing of browser tabs, bookmarks/favorites, history, and settings automatic and transparent to the user.
  • HTML5 Support: Maxthon is claimed to incorporate the most comprehensive support of any desktop browser for the evolving HTML 5 standard.
  • Unique Feature Set: Maxthon Cloud Browser comes fully loaded with a package of features not found in other browsers, such as the ability to view two tabs at once (split screen) and the ability to switch between two rendering engines, which allows users to access pages optimized for one of the other.

Maxthon Cloud Browser For Mac

Maxthon Cloud Browser for Mac offers Mac users the same high-performance experience enjoyed by Maxthon Windows users and uses the Ultra Mode, powered by Apple’s Webkit rendering engine, by default. It will switch automatically to Retro Mode, powered by the Trident rendering engine, as needed to display older-style Web pages. You can switch manually to Retro Mode by clicking to the right of the Address Bar.

  • Retro Mode: Some older web pages, not written for newer standards, are distorted, have features that don’t work, don’t display at all, or even crash other browsers. Usually, Maxthon 3 will recognize these pages and automatically switch to Retro Mode, designed for those older pages. If the Retro display engine fails to fix a problem automatically, click the button to the right of the Address Bar, which switches modes and should fix the page. The next time you visit the website, Maxthon will automatically use whatever mode is best for that website.

Maxthon Cloud Browser for iOS

Maxthon Cloud Browser for iOS saves and syncs key settings, content and features to your own private cloud across multiple platforms and other devices. Unique gestures make it easy to open and switch between tabs. Other features include Reader Mode for more distraction-free reading, and Undo, a one-click way to restore the last web page closed. The aforementioned Brightness Control ostensibly lets you adjust screen brightness from within the browser, and built-in Night Mode adjusts for eye comfort in low light situations. Portrait Orientation Lock supports switching the screen orientation, and Privacy Protection lets you browse the web without being tracked.

Maxthon Cloud Services are supported pretty much as described above.

As noted above, the Maxthon Cloud Browser experience on Apple devices is nothing of not uneven. The OS X version is great.

Max Cloud Browser for OS X Appletell Rating:
Maxthon Cloud Browser for OS X review

Download the Maxthon Cloud Browser for OS X

Maxthon for iOS, not so much, and until the screen brightness glitch is fixed it gets only a 2 out of 5 rating. How compelling you find Maxthon Cloud Services will depend on your device usage and online activity habits. The signup process needs simplifying and streamlining, so 3 out of 5 for it.

Maxthon Cloud Browser for iOS Appletell Rating:
Maxthon Cloud Browser review

Download the Maxthon Cloud Browser for iOS

[Update – 3/18/13: Removed sentence regarding compatibility with automatic Google Translate machine, which we neglected to drop from the review as it doesn’t work in the most recent version for OS X. Maxthon does state on their site that “Maxthon for Mac is compatible with Chrome extensions.”]

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  • P3SS3SSOd

    There is no google translation support for the current version of Maxthon Cloud for OSX and Chrome extensions do not work.

    This reviewer needs to test software before reviewing it.

  • Charles W. Moore

    As a matter of fact, I did and do use Maxthon Cloud, which has been my main browser of reference in OS X Mountain Lion since downloading it over a month ago. I prepared the Maxthon Cloud review over a period of more than two weeks, during which I did indeed discover that alas, automatic Google translation is no longer supported.

    I had intended to excise the reference to Google translation (derived from my initial notes based on experience with previous versions of the Maxthon browser) before the final draft of the review, but obviously did not. An unintentional oversight and error. I’ll see about having it corrected.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention.