Browsers for Surface RT
One irritate with Surface RT tablets is the lack of alternatives to IE. I’m not a particular fan of IE. Most frustration stems from webpages built around other browsers, which become non functional in IE. Yahoo mail is one such site. The latest corporate botch job from Yahoo pretty much locked people out of their account because the login site doesn’t always work with IE.
The site will accept your login name, but won’t accept your password. It kicks back a password error, even when you confirm (on another computer) you are using the correct password. I’ve fielded a number of complaints from customers having this problem. Yahoo is whacky at the best of times, but their new improved interface is a travesty of bad design. The other irritatant is the inability to use drop down menus on certain sites. A quirk in the design mean the menus will pop and disappear before you can tap an link. You can use a mouse with Surface tablets, but being forced to use a mouse because of bad designs defeats the purpose of a touch screen tablet.
You don’t have a lot of choice of when it comes to replacements. If you need an alternative, or simply don’t like IE, you have 3 choices – Bob Browser, Your Browser and UC.
Well in a pinch, you could use Bob. It’s adequate, barely. Yup, that icon is Bob – the Dude in a plastic rain coat and a condom on his head. Bob suffers from serious design flaws such as a quirky spot for typing in the address, no bookmark capabilities and zero configuration options. It’s basically what Bob thinks you need. It does have a large visible gear that looks like it’s a configuration option, but it leads to pretty, well .. much nothing. I guess it’s decorative. I keep Condom Bob installed in the hopes the designer makes some substantial updates. It shows pages correctly and they load ok – two crucial features. It also accesses pages IE won’t load correctly, but the bad design keeps me from using it on a daily basis.
Yup, that boring little icon to the right is the Your Browser icon. It pretty much represents the entire browser – pedestrian. It’s a servicable option – loads pages quickly, kept the address bar at the top (and easy to find, unlike Bob). It suffers from the same drawbacks – lack of bookmarks or ability to tinker with settings. Oh and it comes with an intensly distracting theme that you can’t change. You get palm trees, whether you want them or not. It does open the pesky sites that IE doesn’t deal with and is a slightly better option than Bob, but it’s shortcomings will prevent it from ever becoming popular.
The last offering is a little browser called UC Browser. It serves up all the bits missing from YB and Bob. It has both bookmarks and speed dial to let you access your favourite sites quickly. It’s pretty fast in loading pages, gets around those design issues with sites like Yahoo Mail logon. It also has a few options you can set to customise how the browser behaves, including an option to change the browser background to one of your own photos.
Browsing history is easy to access, an option to sync bookmarks (which would be handy if you are using UC cross platform). It did take me a few seconds to figure out how their bookmark system works. My only complaint is it’s a three step process – click on the star pull up the bookmarks, then right click (or swipe up if) to access the bookmark menu, then either tap the star to create the bookmark or create a new folder to put it in. Not really a big deal because it allows you to keep bookmarks tidy as you go along.
UC is quite capable of replacing IE for day to day use. It’s also available for Apple and Android devices as well. You can download it, free, directly from the App stores.