Is the iPad's Safari web browser not exactly your cup of tea? While Apple requires all web browsers on the iPad to use the WebKit platform, there are actually a number of great web browsers that can be used as alternatives to the Safari browser. This list will cover browsers that can interact with Google Chrome, can sync with Mozilla Firefox, that can support Dropbox and even play Flash videos and games.
Easily the most popular Safari alternative since its release, Google's Chrome browser is a great all-around web browser experience. It is fast, tabbed, and best of all, you can sync it to the Chrome browser on your desktop or laptop. One really neat feature is the ability to open web pages on your iPad that you have open on one of your other devices.
2. iCab Browser
The iCab browser is designed for those who want to get more productivity out of their web experience. The big feature of iCab is the ability to upload files, a feature that is missing on Safari and most other web browsers for the iPad. This means you can easily upload photos to Facebook or similar social networking sites without needing the website's specific app. It can also be a great for bloggers who want to upload photos from the iPad to include in blog posts. iCab also has a download manager and the ability to save and restore forms as well as support for Dropbox.
The Photon browser is the best solution for people who want to view Flash video or play Flash-based games on their iPad. While not every Flash application will work using the Photon Browser, many of the most popular Flash apps are supported. In addition to Flash video, the Photon Browser is a great all-around web browser, so you won't need to flip back and forth between Photon and Safari to get the full web experience.
The Mercury Browser has a number of interesting features that separate it from the pack, including the ability to mask yourself as an Internet Explorer or Firefox browser. This is great if you hit a website that forces you into a mobile version when you really want the full web page. The Mercury Browser will also sync with Firefox, has Dropbox integration, support private browsing and has options to improve performance such as image blocking. There is also a free version of the Mercury Browser.
Another great all-in-one browser solution, the Atomic Browser has a wide range of features including the tabbed browsing, privacy mode, full screen mode, Dropbox compatibility, iTunes document sharing, ad blocking and the ability to save a page for offline reading. One neat feature is the rotation lock, handy for when you are holding the iPad at a strange angle, and the ability to plug in your own search engine. It also has a wide range of social media sharing functions and there is a free version of the browser you can check out before you buy.
Are you looking for a safe browser for your kids? Mobicip's Safe Browser acts much like the Safari browser, except you can filter websites based on age restrictions. It even has safe YouTube access, which means you can let your kids browse through thousands of YouTube videos without having to worry about what they are watching. The browser also lets you set up your own filters and view Internet activity, so you can easily monitor what your kids are browsing.
Opera Mini may not compete with some of the other browsers on this list in terms of features and overall usability, but because of the way it goes through Opera's servers to download compressed versions of the website, it can help you get the most out of the limited data plan if you are on a 3G or 4G iPad. And while there can be a slight pause before the website pops up, which can lead people to think it is a slower browser, it is actually quite quick. There may be a delay, but then the whole page loads rather than getting it piece by piece. It's also difficult to argue with the price.
Originally known as iChromy, Diigo was the first browser to bring Chrome's interface to the iPad. Like all of the browsers on this list, Diigo supported tabbed browsing. It also has an offlien mode, privacy mode, find in page, the ability to remember passwords and can disguise itself as a desktop browser.
Unfortunately, Chrome is now out for the iPad, so the Diigo Browser takes a backseat to the browser it attempts to emulate. But Diigo is free, and if you find that Chrome isn't quite what you are looking for, Diigo is worth checking out before you move to the paid browsers.
At one time, Skyfire was easily among the best mobile web browsers available. But the rather steep price combined with some of the bloat that happens when feature after feature is added to a web browser has slowed it down somewhat and made it less than an optimized browsing experience. Skyfire does have its perks, though. It supports Flash video, though not Flash gaming, and it is tightly integrated with Facebook and Twitter. And overall, it is a solid browser that is simply priced out of its market.
The Perfect web browser provides a solid all-around web browsing experience at a less-than-perfect price. Compared to free browsers like Chrome and cheap browsers like Mercury and Atomic, it's difficult to recommend the Perfect Browser. But if you catch it at a time when it is being discounted closer to a buck or even for free, it can be a nice alternative to Safari and Chrome.