Now Browser (Material) – Indie app of the day

July 14, 2014
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now browser review

What is Now Browser?

Now Browser is a Material Design themed browser for Android. It likes to boast being fast and small thanks to its simplicity. A lot of people have been talking about this application so we thought we would review it to see if it’s really everything everyone says that it is. There is a free version and a paid version that costs $0.99USD.

Now Browser comes with your basic set of browser tools. These include bookmarks, incognito mode, history, etc. You also have a couple of basic gesture controls at your disposal including the ability to go back by swiping to the left and forward by swiping to the right. You can also double tap sites to make them fit on screen, long press a tab to close it, and long press the back button to close the browser.

In terms of design, this isn’t Material Design. It’s themed like Material Design but it doesn’t actually have any of the UI features like the floating bubble on the bottom or the rich animations that come from selecting things or moving around. That was rather disappointing since Material Design is so in style right now.

On the plus side, the browser does actually browser rather efficiently. Sites generally loaded quickly as long as there wasn’t a video on them anywhere. When there was a video present it took a bit longer. Now Browser does support Flash and I was able to get videos to play in the web browser which is always a good sign. It boasts having a number of speed boosting features like JavaScript Acceleration but in order to try those out you’ll have to pay full price for the application.

About the only downside is that you don’t actually get to test out the features that you get in the paid version. Things like the web compression to save data and the JavaScript Acceleration require that you pay for the application before you can try them. The potential problem with this is that if these features don’t work or don’t improve your browsing experience in any meaningful way then you’ve essentially forked out a dollar for nothing. While we applaud the developer for having a free trial version with no time limit, the kinds of features you’re paying for will likely vary wildly based on the user. We’re not saying you shouldn’t buy it, but be aware that your mileage may vary greatly from the experiences of other people.

Now Browser review

It's a browser that does browser things.

PROS
  • Flash support.
  • It has a few gesture controls that are actually useful.
  • Simple, lightweight browser that feels refreshingly clean.
  • It looks nice.
  • It has compression in place to help conserve data.
  • It's a small file and doesn't require a lot of system resources.
CONS
  • It's not actually Material Design. Just themed like it. That was wildly disappointing.
  • It's simplicity also means that there is a lack of rich features.
  • It's a little rough around the edges in terms of stability.
  • The compression, JavaScript Acceleration, and the ability to open more than 4 tabs all requires the paid version.
5.5
The bottom line is that this is a browser and it does browser things.  There really isn’t anything wrong with it but there really isn’t much of anything that separates this one from the pack. What few features it has that may separate it from the pack will cost you money to explore and there’s no guarantee that they’ll improve your experience at all over the free version. It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing either.
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Check out the last indie app of the day: uFXLoops Music Studio
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