The choice of browsers for iOS is hardly overwhelming, so any new additions are always welcome. Dolphin Browser is the latest contender to vie for mobile internet users’ attention and it's well worth a look.
The headline feature is support for gestures, but there is also desktop style tabbed browsing, an impressive smart address bar and space-saving sidebars that can be used to access bookmarks and app options.
There are already a handful of Safari replacements available, including the iOS version of Opera, so Dolphin is going to have its work cut out to stand out from the competition. The fact that the app is available free of charge certainly works in its favour, but it is the way the interface has been implemented – particularly the way in which you interact with it – and the intelligent use of available screen space.
Support for gestures means that valuable screen space that would otherwise be dedicated to navigation buttons can be reclaimed, and an all-important full-screen mode means that every millimetre of space can be used. This is particularly important at the moment for iPad users as there is only an iPhone/iPod version available – there is currently no universal app or dedicated iPad app at the moment.
The gestures make it easy to jump back and forth between pages as well as to the top and bottom of pages – a much faster option that scrolling through lengthy web pages. There are a number of default gestures built in as standard, but you also have the option of creating your own. Taking inspiration from Opera, Dolphin Browser includes a Speed Dial feature for accessing common web site easily, and the idea is extended to the webzine component that can be used to quickly access your Facebook and Twitter accounts as well a news feeds.
Hidden sidebars can be called up with a simple swipe to the left or the right, with the former providing access to your bookmarks. A right hand swipe brings up the app’s toolbar where, amongst other things, you can configure program options. This is a refreshing change to the approach taken by other browsers, but the crowning glory of Dolphin Browser is the address bar. Autocomplete pulls in entries from your bookmarks as well as your browsing history and there is also a menu entry that makes it easy to perform searches; there are also handy buttons to add common domain suffixes.
You can find out more and download a copy of the app by paying a visit to the Dolphin Browser review page.