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browsers for ipadThere are a handful of free web browsers for the iPad 5 Useful Web Browsers For The iPad 5 Useful Web Browsers For The iPad It is easy to see why there are several dozen web browsers for the iPad—because browsing the net on this device feels like you’re browsing a magazine or newspaper. Unlike its smaller brother and sister,... Read More , each with features that outshine the default Safari browser for the mobile device. No doubt one of the most useful purposes of the iPad is for browsing the web, so trying out other browsing options 4 Free iPad Browsers To Replace Mobile Safari 4 Free iPad Browsers To Replace Mobile Safari Read More is worth the time to get the best over user experience. The newest addition to this app category is iChromy, a Google Chrome-like web browser developed by the makers of the popular bookmarking and annotation website, Diigo.com Use Diigo To Help Write Your Next College Essay or Term Paper Use Diigo To Help Write Your Next College Essay or Term Paper Read More .

Diigo sent me an advance preview of iChromy (iTunes Store link) and though there are features I find sorely missing, I am totally impressed by the speed and minimalist user interface of iChromy—so much so that it’s on my iPad Homepage dock alongside Safari. Sadly, Apple still doesn’t allow users to define the default browser for iOS as they do in OS X. Why should you replace Safari with iChromy? Well, let’s compare some of the important features, keeping in mind that this is only the first version of iChromy.

browsers for ipad

Tabs

First off, the tab feature of Safari iPad simply is not that user friendly. Any app that saves me a tap or two in the process automatically gets a plus-star in my review. With Safari you have to tap the Tab button to get a view of your open pages, and then tap again to bring one of them to the front.
ipad browsers
With iChromy, all open tabs sit at the top of the browser, like in the OS X version of Safari—or really like the desktop version of Chrome, which iChromy most resembles.

ipad browsers

It would be nice if you could customize the colors of the tabs in iChromy as you can in Chrome, but that’s just a minor issue for now.

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Bookmarking

Safari iPad includes the traditional Bookmarks Bar and folders for organizing bookmarks. iChromy doesn’t include folders for bookmarks yet, but you can add bookmarks by simply tapping the Star button in the URL field.

ipad browsers

You will have to do an extra tap to edit the name of the bookmark if you want it to be shorter, but the process sure is faster than the three-tap process required for Safari iPad.

ReadLater

iChromy also includes a feature for downloading and saving pages for later reading, even offline. If you’re looking for this feature in Safari iPad, forget about it. The default browser requires you to be Wi-Fi connected in order to read pages.
ipad web browsers

Sharing Features

Perhaps the best feature in iChromy that is partially missing from Safari is the ability to share or export URLs in other programs and services. With Safari, you can add bookmarks, post them on your iPad Home Screen, email them, or print them out. These features are great, but iChromy offers more.

ipad web browsers

In addition to the above features in Safari, in iChromy you can send and share bookmarks on your Facebook, Twitter, Diigo, Evernote, Google Reader, Instapaper, Read It Later, and Tumblr accounts. And if you need to, you can send an open page to Safari from iChromy.
ipad web browsers

Contextual Menu

When you tab and hold on a link in Safari, you get the options to open the link, Open in New Page, or Copy. In iChromy, you get two additional options: Open in Background Tab and Add to Reading List. Both options are very practical when you find yourself opening several links on a page.

If you don’t see downloaded pages, scroll the opened tabs to the left to see the others hidden tabs beyond the screen.
browsers for ipad
In addition, when you tap and hold your finger on a word in iChromy, you get the option to Copy or Search that selection. In Safari, you can only copy the word.

So far, I find iChromy a great alternative to Safari iPad. The speed of both browsers feels about the same, but the navigation features of iChromy are a little more advanced. There are several features that could be added to iChromy—including hand gestures for navigation, tapping at the top of a web page to fast scroll to the top, and most definitely a bookmarks bar. However, I would only want these extra features if they didn’t slow down iChromy. What it offers for now will probably help make it as an alternative browser on my iPad, though I use the paid app, Atomic Web, for more advanced web browsing.

Future releases of iChromy will include (they will be welcomed) annotation features for highlighting and marking pages, which of course are the unique core services of Diigo.com.

Give iChromy a try and let us know what you think.

 

  1. Maryarena
    July 9, 2011 at 12:27 am

    I am loving iChromy, but I can't figure out how to stop it from showing Facebook as m.facebook.com.  I would appreciate, if someone can tell me how to view FB as a normal web page.

    • Maryarena
      July 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      Found that I can change it in the FB "More" option, Desktop Site.

    • Max
      July 19, 2011 at 9:05 am

      You can change the "identify as" in the setting of ichromy to desktop browser to open Facebook as a normal page, not mobile.

  2. Huh
    May 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    I agree totally with djangelic. Been using ichromy for a couple of days also

  3. Djangelic
    May 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Its funny because I have been using ichromey for about 2 days and I agree on all your points, but honestly, there are 2 critical things missing: 1. Chrome bookmark synchronization and 2. Default browser (which is obviously an ios issue. give me those 2 things and ichromey would be perfect.

    • Bakari
      May 30, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      Yep, I have to agree also. Plus, I also find annoying the iChromy screen that pops up each time I launch the app. When Diigo is able to including annotation in iChromy, that's when it may be most useful to me. I'm going back and forth between iChromy and Opera for the iPad—but ultimately use Atomic Web as my power horse web browser. 

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