There are times when browsing the web on Safari is not good enough. Simple actions, keyboard shortcuts and tabs on your desktop browser are now part of your daily workflow and navigating on your iDevice won't be as handy or quick most of the times.
If you are fed up of Mobile Safari already, continue reading Because 360 Web Browser [iTunes Link] by Digital Poke has reached its v3.0 to offer seasoned users a new browsing experience.
Organised around a central circle button called Arc and full screen mode, 360 Web Browser has been built for fast interaction. Dragging your finger around the Arc, you can enable Ad-Block, increase or decrease font size, clear history, create a bookmark and jump back to the homepage. While most mobile browsers have a search and a menubar cluttering the screen, in 360 Web Browser you get rid of the UI and use all the screen real state to display websites.
Tabbed browsing has been implemented with different type of users in mind. You have the usual browser tabs for different pages that you can tap to activate, close and even scroll with a finger swipe. If you prefer the Arc controls, there is a second green controller that allows you to create new tabs and navigate through them. My favourite has to be multitouch gestures on full screen mode, which can be set up for your own convenience. As you can see there are options for everyone and spending two minutes in settings, you can customise your own browsing experience.
If you are using apps like Reeder that include third party snippets to share information, plugins in 360 Web Browser work with the same logic. Again, there are a lot of plugins that are disabled when you first launch the app including Instapaper, Readability, Mobilize and Evernote just to name a few. If you are an Instapaper fan like me, this feature alone would save you a lot of taps compared with Safari.
One of the most powerful plugins is the Clip Converter, which downloads a flash video from any website, codes it to an iOS friendly format and plays it back in a matter of minutes. If you visit Dailymotion or Metacafe regularly, now you can do it on your iPhone and iPad. Along with this, the browser is also capable of downloading files on the background and supports a queuing system.
So far I have tried to cover all the key functionality in this app, but you can probably dig a little deeper and find more features that may fit your needs. Now its time to talk about the looks. Because an app that embraces customisation this way couldn't have been left without themes. Yes, this is one of those apps with themes. I tend to believe that there is user interfaces shouldn't get in your way and 360 Web Browser manages to achieve this in fullscreen.
However, I didn't enjoy the interface elements in the app when they are visible. They don't feel native to iOS and don't follow Apple's style much. In a desperate move to make it look better, you can try some of the free themes in the app. They include wooden patterns combined with orange in the new Crimson Oak, an pinky Blush, fluo Jared and even a Bling theme with diamonds. You can purchase extra packs via in-app purchase, but I didn't think they were my thing.
Overall 360 Web Browser will please many iOS user who want a faster and customasible option to browse the web on the go. There is a slightly steep learning curve for some of the functions, but nothing you don't get used to after a couple of days. I can see the fullscreen mode being very useful for people who struggle with small font sizes for example. I liked the multitouch gestures included and really made a difference on the iPad.
Casual users will find the interface too complex and might eventually uninstall the app before they set it up properly. I want to encourage every user to go through the settings and just fine tune it for you. The auto-search function can be quite slow, but you can disable it easily. If you have chosen Firefox over Safari on your desktop, I guess you'll choose 360 over Mobile Safari too.