For a long time now, I have been looking for an alternative to IE for my Windows Phone and I can’t believe I missed UC Browser. Let’s face it: IE is a decent browser. But it can be terribly slow and there are no new features there. It is just a bit boring without any customization options.
UC Browser is a top notch browser specifically designed for smartphones and tablets. They know what they are dealing with and they have packed in a lot of really great features which makes this browser very apt for Windows Phone.
Surprisingly, UC Browser didn’t catch my eye all these months in the Windows Marketplace even though it is one of the top rated apps for Windows. It has a whopping 10600+ reviews and has scored 4.5 of 5 stars. The apps weighs around 6 MB and it is available for both Windows Phone 7.5 and 8.
The first thing you’ll notice is that this is a free app and it is not ad supported. Lots of points right off the bat!
Once the browser is installed, you can configure the browser the way you please. UC Browser has an adorable logo and the user interface is good too. The browser has a set of predefined themes. You can change it by tapping on the tiny cloth icon located in the main screen of the browser.
It also gives you the option of downloading new and funky themes from the internet. To give it a personal touch, choose a picture of your loved one and set it as your background. How thoughtful is that?! UC Browser breaks down in to just two main screens: Speed Dial and Site Nav.
Browse your favourite sites by just a single tap using speed dial. It is technically just a fancy term for Bookmarks in our regular browser. 1×1 tiles of your preferred sites are arranged in the Speed dial screen. Preexisting ones include Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube.
You can add or replace the sites in this screen. All you have to do is go to your most visited site and hit options. Hit Bookmarks/history and choose Speed dial instead of Bookmarks and you’ll see your site in the main screen of the UC Browser.
The difference between a bookmark and a speed dial is that the speed dial is always found in the main screen of the browser whereas the bookmarks are found separately in a different window. To access the Bookmarks, there is a quick launch button in the homescreen too right under the ‘change theme’ button.
Site Nav makes your search for sites easy. UC Browser has organised and listed oft used, even famous, sites according to categories and you can just choose your interest and find sites in a single tap. Nearly all the categories are covered including Daily Express, Apps & Games and Sport Zone.
This is a sweet feature because you don’t have to go around looking for different sites to cater to your different needs. All you have to do is find the category in the browser and choose the best one that suits you.
The Browsing Experience
I read in the Marketplace that UC Browser uses compression technology and that makes the browser load the sites faster. Until I tried it, I simply had no idea. I’m impressed with the fact that everything is noticeably faster and even the sites which take up a lot of bandwidth are a piece of cake for UC Browser. And hey, the browser boots up faster too!
Like every other browser, UC Browser lets you open multiple tabs. The good thing is that the status bar located at the far bottom of the app displays the number of browser opened and you can switch between tabs by just hitting on the button. And hey, you can close multiple tabs from the same wonder button!
One thing I found hard to understand is that when you flip through the screen it either goes to the previous tab or it goes back one page. This is extremely frustrating and confusing at times and I’m not sure whether it is a bug or some kind of a goofy feature that they have added here.
Other Important Features
The app has a load of features and is absolutely amazing. The classic option is the Night mode which is a big help to read at night. This is a usual feature in tablets and bringing this to the mobiles is pretty nice.
Another interesting feature is the Text-Only mode. When enabled, the browser blocks all the images and displays only the text. This is of great use when you read image heavy web sites.
You can turn on your spy mode and browse without a trace by enabling Incognito browsing in UC Browser. No cookies or browsing history is saved. Plus you can scan QR codes right from the browser. How great is that?
The browser has an inbuilt download manager which automatically saves the audio to your music folder and pictures to your mobile gallery in your Windows phone. What I liked is that you can pause the downloads and resume it at anytime you want. And also, you can go to the downloads and type in the URL which lets UC Browser to download all possible files automatically.
If you are bored of Internet Explorer and looking for a much feature packed browser, this is the one for you. The sites loads very quickly and it can make your browsing experience pleasureful. This is a must try app.