We’ve been a fan of the gesture-tastic Dolphin Browser for ages. Being able to navigate the web using customisable gestures felt suitably next-gen when we first downloaded it on our HTC Magic. Dolphin was also one of the first browsers we found that offered tabbed browsing on Android phones so it’ll always have a special place in our hearts.
However as time went by, newer and faster Android browsers cropped up in the Market. Though none of them offered the magical gesture-driven functionality of the Dolphin browsers, we have to concede that speed is the most important thing when it comes to web browsing on a smartphone.
Which is why we’re pleased to announce the emergence of Dolphin Browser Mini, a new streamlined version of the browser that puts a premium on page load times. A preview version ‘preview2’ is currently available to download and try now.
As before finger swipes and gestures are used to navigate and refresh web pages and add bookmarks. Tapping the grey icon in the bottom left (or right – you decide) corner of the screen brings up a translucent layer onto which you draw your gestures. Little left and right arrow shapes correspond to back and forwards respectively. Performing a backwards ‘C’ shape refreshes pages. New tabs are created by drawing an ‘N’ shape and you can add bookmarks by drawing an ‘M’. You’re free to use these preset gestures, or create your own if you prefer.
Another addition to the new UI is a small toolbar which pops up at the touch of the menu key. This allows you to browse pages and add bookmarks the old fashioned way. It also comes with a separate Toolbox sub-menu, which gives you access to things like Google Services and Screen Cut.
Many of these features were previously available as add-ons for the Android 2.0-only Dolphin HD. So we’re pleased to see these things built in to Dolphin Browser Mini, which should work with all versions of Android.
Dolphin Browser Mini is very nippy browser, even in its current form. We tested it alongside alongside the stock Android browser and Opera Mobile 10.1 beta on our 2.2-running Nexus One. While we’ve not properly benchmarked Dolphin Browser Mini against these other two, we can say we’re pleased with how quickly it renders web pages.
You can download Dolphin Browser Mini by following the link below on your phone, or head over to the Dolphin Browser blog for more information.