As with most devices, the iPad comes equipped from the factory with all the apps you need to get the basics from the tablet. This includes web browsing, with the standard, but still very much passable Safari. However, there are other options out there when it comes to finding content on the web – many of them better than Safari. If you want to get your hands on an iPad browser that has just a little something more, check out the list below to find the best browser for iPad.
Dolphin is another one of those browsers that you’ve likely never heard about, but don’t discount it just yet. With its refreshing design, this browser offers one of the more clean user interfaces of them all. Don’t mistake that for simplicity, however.
The reason this could be the best browser for iPad is its unique shortcut ability – symbols. Drawing predetermined or custom symbols will result in an action. That action could be scrolling to the top or bottom of a page, opening a new tab, or taking you to a specific URL. For instance, drawing a “T” will take you immediately to Twitter, and likewise with drawing a “G” you will find yourself at Google.com.
In all honesty, I find typing on an iPad awkward no matter how you look at it. This symbol feature comes in handy (no pun in intended).
Google’s Chrome is a hard proposition to beat on the desktop (now on version 51) and the same could be said of Chrome for iPad.
For a lot of users, Chrome would be their default choice as the best browser for iPad. This could almost certainly be attributed to its sheer popularity.
I’ve used the app on-off for the last year and I’ve been impressed with the flat, minimalist user interface, the speed of the app, and the array of options for bookmarking and sharing content.
But that’s not the extent of Chrome’s usefulness. You can also sync your account from desktop to iPad by signing in. Google’s impressive voice search and voice recognition engine is also baked in.
Indeed, using your voice to search for websites is generally pretty fast and accurate, even if it is reliant on little to no background noise. For instance, one quick search for TabTimes brought up ‘Text Times’ but this was when a background video was running at very low volume on my nearby PC. The next search went well when the video was muted. You simply hit the microphone to conduct the search.
Chrome isn’t perfect. Sharing is not as fast or easy as on Safari and the process of syncing bookmarks with your desktop is a pain.
But, where Chrome really comes into its own is the search recognition, voice control, an easy layout for viewing most regularly visited websites and a slick user interface.
From the same makers of Opera Mini, and the Opera desktop browser, Opera Coast is a new way to look at internet browsing on an iPad. I love when companies/developers are able to step back and think about the way we are using devices, and how that can be improved.
Web browsers for iPad, though arguably the most important aspects of the device, still, in many cases feel like just shrunken versions of desktop of experiences. Mobile and tablet design experience tells us that this is not always the best experience. Opera Coast addresses this and introduces a more visual and touch-friendly means of finding content on the web.
Opening the app, Coast presents you with an almost iOS home page feel with pre-set content bookmarks laid out in groups of icons. You can, of course, reorganize any of these icons, as well as add new ones. The “For You” section is populated with content based on your interests and gives an even more visual search experience.
The icing on the cake here is the content sharing functionality. By clicking on what looks like an envelope icon in the bottom left corner, you will have a custom image with background photo and copy created for you instantaneously. From here you can share out to all of your social networks.
Opera Coast feels like the way web browsing on a touch device should feel, making it a definite contender for the best browser for iPad.
Opera is one of the best-regarded browsers on desktop, so it’s little surprise that you can find Opera apps on iOS, Android and Windows 8.
Now on version 14.0, Opera Mini for iPad has some unique features.
For example, Opera Mini promises to save data usage by 90% — handy if you’re on 3G or 4G. Depending on your use-case, you can adjust your data savings with one of three pre-set options.
Speed dials are another unique feature to Opera. Always only one click away (icon found in toolbar), these speed dials, found when you open a new tab are essentially visual bookmarks where you can quickly access your favorite web sites.
The Opera logo at the top right lets you view bookmarks, history, edit the browser’s theme, save a certain page and dive into settings or data usage.
The last feature is particularly interesting as it told me that I saved around 67% of data per browsing session.
Opera Mini is a useful app with some neat features and it has come along way in user experience and design in recent years. Compared to Safari and Chrome, Opera offers a comprehensive browsing interface with added features that help it stand out.
Though many people browsing the web on their iPad will likely default to Safari or Chrome, there are lots of alternate, lesser known options that are still very solid. Puffin is one of those options.
Opening the browser, you’re greeted with a Pinterest-style layout of top news stories and articles. Although Puff doesn’t show you who the publishers of these articles are, I found this to be a great way to jump in and start finding content. For people with short attention spans (like me) however, this can be a distraction when you come to the browser for a specific task.
The pop-up menu at the bottom of the browser is very user-friendly and gives you access to all of your settings and sharing capabilities. However, I’m really curious about the mouse function. Not sure why, or who, would want to drag their finger around a virtual pad to simulate a mouse.
Depending on how you use your iPad, you might want a browser that is extremely easy and intuitive to navigate, or you might want something that is a little more feature heavy with innovative features that help you get that job done. Either way, there are some good options out there for you.
Didn’t see your favorite iPad browser, let us know in the comments below!