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Dolphin Browser Review

Damien McFerran


We take a look at Dolphin Browser, a web surfing app which is attempting to knock Google's Android browser out of the water

Rating: 

Verdict: With the default Android browser offering little in the way of features and Firefox still yet to appear, Dolphin Browser is the best option for web-loving mobile users

Platform: Android

Pros: Fast performance, loads of features and cool options such as gesture commands

Cons: Some pages don't render properly, but this is rare

Version: 2.5.0

Publisher: Dolphin Browser

Price: Free

More Info: Official site

Let’s be brutally honest here – the stock web browser included with the Android operating system is pretty crummy. While it gets the job done and is capable of displaying web pages in an acceptable manner, it lacks the extra functionality which seems to be so common in PC-based browsers these days.

Thankfully, help is at hand with Dolphin Browser, a feature-rich piece of software which offers a far more comprehensive surfing experience.

The most obvious improvement you’ll see over the stock browser is speed. Dolphin is incredibly quick at rendering and loading pages, and what’s more it lays them out in a manner which is easy to visually digest on your mobile phone’s diminutive screen.

Dolphin uses a tabular paging system similar to that seen in Mozilla Firefox. The top section of the display shows the pages you currently have open and tapping the tabs instantly takes you to that page. It’s possible to revert to a window-based system – where each page is laid on top of other open pages – but to be honest we can’t see why you’d ever want to, unless you’re a truly stubborn traditionalist.

Tagging pages as favourites is blissfully simple and it’s even possible to capture RSS feeds through Dolphin; whenever you stumble across a page which supports this feature you’ll see a message hit your phone’s notification bar. Tapping the message opens up Google Reader, where you can add the feed for future consultation.

Speaking of Google, Dolphin also showcases handy shortcuts to the complete suite of Google-related web services, including GMail, Reader and Google Docs.

To round off the package there’s also a neat gesture-based control system which allows you to assign touch-screen patterns to certain actions. For example, if you wish to add a page to your favourites then simply drawing the appropriate image on the screen will achieve this, which saves you having to trawl through the menus to find the desired option. All of the gestures are customisable so you can come up with your own unique patterns.

Finally, if you're lucky enough to have a phone which supports multi-touch you'll be pleased to know that Dolphin supports pinch and zoom commands.

Dolphin suffers from very few shortcomings; in fact the only serious issue we had during the course of our review was that some of the more complex web pages bamboozled the app and it failed to render them 100% accurately. This is a relatively minor problem and it afflicts pretty much every mobile phone browser to some extent.

If you surf the web a lot on your Android handset then this really is a must-have download. The only cloud on the horizon is the imminent arrival of Mozilla’s mobile version of its popular Firefox browser, but for the time being Dolphin is unquestionably a big fish in a little pond.

 

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Dolphin Browser is currently the best option for web-loving Android fans

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