Considering that the World Wide Web is such an important
part of our lives, using the right browser to service our needs is one of the
most important components for using the Internet. Aside from the standard fare
of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome, there are other alternative web
browsers that deserve a fair look. Some of them are based on pre-existing major
browser projects like Chromium, while others strive for a purist “from
scratch” approach. For the Windows platform, here are five solid
alternative choices to the browser scene.
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1. Avant Browser
Those looking to have it all, and then some, need to look no
further than the Avant Browser. In
addition to the tri-core switchable rendering engine capability, which allows
you to switch between Trident, Gecko, and Webkit rendering engines
effortlessly, there simply is no shortage of settings and tweaks at your
disposal. You can set URL compatibility by browser engine, create mouse
gestures for seamless navigation, store passwords in a password protected cache
and even upload bookmarks and browser settings to the cloud for quick
This Chinese-made web-browser has been turning heads in
recent years, with its superb attention to detail and useful extras. Three
features that stand out the most in Maxthon
are the extension sidebar, which grants the user speedy access to installed
add-ons, a very polished download manager that can upload downloads to a cloud
storage area for safe keeping, and a multi-PC browser sync. Now, thanks to
their massive push into the smartphone and tablet arena, Maxthon will even sync
browser data to supported mobile devices.
3. SRWare Iron
Security-minded individuals that value their privacy will
appreciate what this next choice has on tap. German software house SRWare has a browser
based on Chromium called Iron. It does away with any unique identifying
information that can tie your browser back to you, as well as disabling Omnibox
auto-complete and other Google-specific code. Yet in spite of all these
changes, the browser looks and functions virtually the same to standard Google
Chrome, meaning all your browser extensions will work just fine.
Sometimes, simple really is better, and Midori is out to turn simplicity into an
art form. Although you won’t be looking to use this browser on rather
plugin-heavy sites or for a large variety of extensions, Midori is quite swift
standards-compliant frameworks. Development is still rather young compared to
other browsers, but its capabilities grow each day, and it’s rather impressive
work coming from a smaller open-source team.
5. Tor Browser
And finally, when you need a browser that makes obfuscating
web traffic easy as pie, Tor Browser
should be considered heavily. Several notable features are the portable EXE
format for easy transport on a flash drive, the inclusion of several security
conscious plugins like NoScript and HTTPS Anywhere, and the Vidalia Control
Panel, which allows you to refresh your online “identity” and monitor
bandwidth usage on the Tor network quickly and easily.