Monday, October 22, 2007


I have been looking for an IE alternative for some time now. I use Firefox for all my browsing, but for some sites having IE is a must. Moreover I love the .mht format that IE allows pages to be saved in, it is a lot better than PDF and simple "Save as HTML".

Recently I got a nice feedback of Maxthon, an IE based browser, from a close friend of mine and decided to give it a try. Downloaded their latest offering v2.0.4.5799 and installed it in no time. The interface is a lot better than IE 7. The functionality is same as that of IE 7 with all the features.

Here are a list of features of Maxthon that I liked, and comparisons with Firefox :
  • Drag-and-drop words from the pages into the search bar. I donot know of any FF plugin to do this. Anyway, this is just a novel feature.
  • CPU saving mode. I have no idea whether it actually works, but I would love this feature if it works. Interestingly, this feature is not featured in the official page, leaving me a little suspicious of its effectiveness.
  • Integrated RSS feed reader .... I no longer need the feed reader from Google. This functionality is provided by a host of plugins from FF, so nothing new.
  • Url Alias -- allows users to define alias to some web-address and type that in the address bar instead of the complete address. Apparently this feels cool, but I was quite happy with the predictive typing mechanism provided by IE and FF.
  • Integrated Ad-Blocker. FF does have the plugin AdblockPlus that has been doing this thing excellently for years now. Lets see how this integrated blocker measures up to it.
  • Web-Sniffer -- locates the actual address of embedded files on webpages. Like the link to the actual .flv video file in YouTube. I guess I will have much use for it; the days of opening the source and searching seems to be coming to an end. I know that there are many plugins for this kind of things in FF. I personally used AdblockPlus to get the links to these files. ;)
  • Undo List is a cool feature that helps re-opening of accidentally closed tabs. I have been enjoying this feature and lots of others in FF through the TabMixPlus plugin for ages now.
  • Web-page capture in a picture format. I can think of many places where this will be quite effective; but I still like the .mht format.
  • Mouse Gestures. I am not much fan of this thing as I know all the keyboard shortcuts !
  • Skinnable interface with some cool skins being offered for download.
There are a lot of other features too which I either did not notice or did not care to mention. You can have a full look at all the features of Maxthon in their webpage. One lovely feature of IE that I am missing in Maxthon is that of the "Quick Tabs", its a great boon to people like me who visit n sites (n>5) at the same time.

Lastly, it will come as no surprise that I can still save pages in .mht format and can also access sites that require IE with Maxthon as it is an IE based browser. The actual web-browser running behind Maxthon is IE. So the bottom line is that if you are looking for something beyond IE, yet retaining all the advantages of it, you can very well consider Maxthon. But if you are just looking for a good browser and have no biasing towards IE, you can very well stick to Firefox.

As for me, I will still be using Firefox for browsing and Maxthon for those special IE only sites.

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