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Just Right For A Tab

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If ever there was a browser meant to be on tablets, it's the Dolphin. I've used it on my Android phone but despite the 4.2-inch screen, the features don't really come into their own until you see them on a tablet — and Dolphin has just made it to iOS beginning with the iPhone a couple of weeks ago, and now the iPad, where it looks like it really belongs.
 
Using it, I can't help thinking Dolphin is what Safari should have been all along. Dolphin on the iPad is built on top of Safari, but looks and behaves delightfully different. The thing I love best, I will unashamedly admit, is the gestures. Top right is a little hand-button that takes you to a grid on which you draw an alphabet or shape that makes something happen. Draw a big G to get to Google or a T to head to Twitter.  But you can also set your own list of gestures, not just to go to associated URLs, but perform other actions such as go to the top or bottom of the page, copy a link, go forwards or back, refresh, bookmark, and even subscribe to RSS feeds. It's fast, which makes it seem quite magical. It's also the kind of thing that differentiates working on a PC or laptop from using a smartphone or tablet. What may sound like gimmicks, but adds functionality, user-friendliness and an enticement to use.
 
The other thing that is quite 'tablety' about Dolphin is that it doubles up as a webzine. As you open up a tab, you don't get a blank page, but a menu of eight publications. Touch one and a slick loading page takes you inside the webzine, which looks good enough for you to want to read. You can edit this list of magazines and sites to put in your own favourites.

There's still more. Speed Dial, the visual bookmarks app, is built into Dolphin. You can change the preset bookmarks to your own preferences and go to any of your frequently visited sites with a touch. On the left, you have a fuller slide-out bookmarks bar with presets you can change. On the right, another slide-out lists the open tabs in a tab bar. And yes, the big advantage over Safari here is also the tabbed browsing.
 
Very clean and simple with some basic, intuitive customisability that's bound to make Dolphin much used on the iPad and other tablets.

Mala Bhargava is a personal technology writer and media professional. Contact her at mala at pobox dot com and @malabhargava on Twitter


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