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Saturday, September 17, 2005



Part 1 of the Browser Reviews

This must be said before all else. Maxthon is not a true browser. Sure, you think it surfs the web, but it's only pretending. Maxthon is one of the more popular Internet Explorer shells. To sum it all up, Maxthon is a program which adds usability to IE, but relies on IE to browse the internet. Hey, it's free, looks nice, and makes IE usable. What could be wrong with it?

Download and install was easy enough. Wait...did it just ask me if I wanted to install Weatherbug as well. Ouch, that's a loss of points right there. Sure it's free, but wonder how many people are using Mathon while being abused by Weatherbug just to make it that way. describes that WB is malware, and gives advice on its removal. But after refusing to install WB, Maxthon didn't bother me again with it. Instead, each time I opened the program it asked for a donation. Actually, that's a pretty good idea, so if you use it, donate. Keep this sucker free.

Now that I've opened the program, there's another problem. It's bulky. In fact, I can only see the toolbar. Check out my screen shot here. Many will agree that this is an insane ammount of screen space wasted on huge Back and Refresh buttons. It has the generic search bar to the left of the bar, good feature if you're a search junkie like I am.

Not only does it have tabs, but it has excellent tab management. Although it's not true MDI (Multiple Document Interface), it handles tabs adequately. Another great feature, one that once you've aquainted yourself with it, you'll never go back to anything else, is Mouse Gestures. To go back, instead of hauling your mouse all the way up to the toolbar, just hold the right mouse button down and move the mouse to the left. It's another beautiful function. Upon closing, a dialog box asks if I'd like to save the session or resume upon restart. Sessions are a way to save the last page you were viewing so that when you open the program again it can bring you back to where you left off. Sessions are becoming more and more popular, and most (read IE) browsers are capable of this feature.

I'd say browsing is fairly fast, although that's saying IE is fairly fast. Though if you have many tabs open, 10 or more, the program starts to crawl. Again, not really Maxthon's fault, it's how IE operates. Oh, and it has a popup blocker, for those who care :) .

The only limit to Maxthon is its reliance on Internet Explorer, yet I doubt that'll change any time soon. Thought the toolbar is initially overwhelming, after some modifications, shown here, it becomes usable and not an eyesore. I'd rate it at three stars out of five, losing the most points on being an IE Shell, because although it's a great program, it is still, essentially, Internet Explorer.

Try it for yourself.

I'll use it as often as I can throughout the week, and bring you an update after I can get a better feel for it.

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