The mainstream trend today, is to avoid being mainstream! Irrespective of what caused this trend, we should agree that it exists due to the obvious wide variety of choices available to us. The times when everyone fancied being a customer or user of a service provided by some big name seem to be over – at least among those who consider themselves as trend-setters. The era of broad opportunities and meritocracy turned everything upside down.
However, where technology is considered, users still tend to stick to well known weather bitten manufacturers or providers. The reasons for that may differ. First, finding a decent, but not well-known piece of software or solution requires bigger expertise from a common user, than finding a high-quality closing manufacturer, who remains unknown to the many. Second, development of a high-quality software product requires substantial human and financial resources that a small start-up looking enterprise can hardly afford. This tends to lower desires for technology experiments among users.
Nevertheless reality often showcases absolute disregard for the rules of logic. IT industry full of examples of high quality software from not so well known developers. With the growing tendency of moving towards the freemium business model, companies no longer depend on the revenue that comes directly from the customers. That’s why more and more IT companies gain the opportunity to produce free software of high quality. And such indispensable apps as browsers are no exception.
Alternate web browsers
The absolute majority of users seem to be completely satisfied with using any of the major browsers on the market – be it Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera or Firefox. More than that, they will hardly ever think of using anything else. A lot of users have never heard about any other alternative browser for Windows. Such an information diet results in users’ missing out the best browsing experience tailored specially for them. The browsers listed below are here to show you how surprisingly (and sometimes astonishingly) different your habitual browsing experience can be.
1. Citrio – Fast downloader and a random features mix
Citrio is a peculiar Chromium-based browser with a fresh citrus look. It feels and looks exactly like Chrome (you can even sign into Citrio with Google Account and get it fully synchronized). But is has a set of useful features you’ll hardly ever get in Chrome. The most prominent among them is a powerful download manager. Having tested several bulk files for download with several browsers I can definitely assume Citrio downloads like 2-3 times faster. With the same download manager you can also download torrents with no need for any additional software.
Another nice thing about Citrio is a video grabber. You can go practically to any website, play a video there and download it in one click with the help of a tiny yellow download button which appears in the right end of omnibox. Citrio also has an built-in proxy manager for masking your real IP while browsing other websites. In general Citrio presents a nice and new browser with a set of pleasant features which do not seem to be united under any specific concept. Available for Windows and Mac OS.
Read: Vivaldi browser review.
2. Slimboat – highly customizable with an old-fashioned look
Slimboat is a bit old school looking browser with a nice feature stuffing. As soon as you start it Slimboat offers you to import bookmarks from one of the other browsers you have been using. Upon doing that you see a bit clattered but still familiar and straightforward interface. Dropdown menus, plethora of options and features constitute a massive functionality of a browser. The “View” menu has everything to customize the exterior of your browser so that it looks “Windows Modern Style” or has “Cleanlooks”. The “Tools” menu is so far the most interesting. It has vast social share features, inbuilt pop-up and ad blockers, a user agent and others.
Slimboat’s feature set implies that it cares much about users privacy. You assume it from a rich set of Privacy features. They include cleaning the trace by domain, cleaning address bar history, cleaning quick search history, cookies, cached files and cached authentication information and others. These options may be implicitly present in other browsers as well, but such an approach allows you to get full control of what you are doing.
3. Orbitum – nice looking and socially oriented
While it is hard to define a particular focus of any of the before mentioned browsers, Orbitum is very clear in its intentions. The main and actually the only difference of Orbitum from other Chrome-based browsers is integrated chat window from 3 social networks – Vkontakte, Facebook and Odnoklassniki. This literally means you can chat with your contacts right from your browser’s window, which has a chat panel on the right. You can log into all accounts at once, choose your mode as offline or online. You can also turn the panel off and this way move to the “normal mode”. All the rest looks and works almost the same as in Google Chrome.
However, such a browser is nice for those who like to chat during working hours but don’t want anyone to see the whole Facebook’s interface on their PC. Available for Windows and Mac OS.
4. Sleipnir – tab browsing doesn’t look like anything else
Sleipnir is a tabbed browser which indeed doesn’t look or feel like anything else. It has a nice interface, with small previews of the pages in tabs in the upper part of the window. Search bar rests in the upper right corner and is merged with the address bar. Sleipnir supports mouse gestures (you can switch between pages by moving them right or left holding down the right click button), customizable tabs that can be sorted into groups (for example, a group for business, social networks, email accounts, etc.), you can also protect chosen tabs from accidental closing.
Among the featured browsers Sleipnir is the only one that can be called multi-platform as it is available for desktops (Windows, Mac OS) and mobile (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone). If you use Sleipnir on both computer and mobile device, you can sync bookmarks across all platforms and devices. Another peculiar feature is Sleipnir Linker. With the help of this app that you download and install on your mobile device you can send text to your smartphone or tablet right from the browser opened on desktop. You can also send a whole page this way and get an instant notification on your phone. The only thing which might be bad about Sleipnir is that it doesn’t support any extensions or add-ons. But it is definitely worth a try.
5. Epic browser – total privacy obsession
Epic browser’s primary concern is users privacy and security. Epic browser has a clear interface, free from any excessive elements. This contributes both to its looks and functionality. Epic browser surfs Internet exclusively in Incognito mode, but it still can remember usernames and passwords. The app blocks all trackers, cookies, ads, doesn’t record your browser history and even shows how many trackers were blocked on that or another website. It also gathers the list of companies which are tracking your activity in other browsers you use. A small umbrella icon on the top gives access to several security features which can be activated or switched off on a specific website.
Epic browser’s default search engine is epicsearch.in and you can’t change it to any other. The browser doesn’t have address bar suggest, URL check or auto-translate. Epic browser has an inbuilt US proxy server with which you can mask your IP address in just one click. Built on the open source Chromium, Epic browser has familiar simple interface with all the options and features situated right where you’ve been looking for them. Available for Windows and Mac OS.
A thorough research on the topic of non-mainstream/peculiar/unfamiliar browsers has brought to light several observations.
First, most alternative browsers are based on Chromium or Firefox as those two are open source projects. Such an alternative browser is basically always better than its big famous brother as they have all the basic functionality of a major browser plus a set of their own features. Another good side is that if a user has been using Chrome or Firefox for a long time, it won’t be difficult for him to switch to one of the peculiar alternatives and try out some fresh experience.
Second, those browsers, which chose their entirely independent path, usually don’t have any specific focus based on their functionality and thus present a whole of a new browser together with a whole of a new browsing experience. Anyway, no matter how far you want to get in trying out something new, you will always find a decent quality, nice browsing speed and broad customization opportunities. Those are here to prove once again, that anti-mainstream trend setters who want to expand their indie views to the software they use, have all the possibilities to do it without compromising quality.
Guest post authored by Victoria Ivey