Chrome for Android

To start of the first series of app reviews, I choose to test an application that is probably used by a lot of people these days. It happens to be one of the best browsers I have tested on mobile devices: Chrome. I will be using ‘Chrome for Android’ and ‘Chrome for PC’ from now on, to make the difference between the mobile and the destkop version.

Possible improvements

But even though it is one of the best applications I have tested and used, I am still lacking some functionality you already have in other browsers. These functionalities would be good additions to the already superb browser.

  • For starters, a functionality I would use really often is to go in Fullscreen mode. There is currently no way to remove the two status bars (the default Android notification bar and the Chrome status bar) at the top of the page. Even though I have a rather large phone (HTC One X) I could still use some more space. Because when you are browsing the web on your phone, most of the time you don’t need the URL bar, because you will be navigating on one website at a time.
  • I have connected my Chrome for Android and Chrome for PC. This allows me to send URLs from my PC to my phone (with the help of Chrome to Mobile), but not the other way around. I have been in situations where I would find it very useful if I could do such a thing.
  • In most browser you have something like a history, but not in Chrome for Android. I don’t know why this feature isn’t yet implemented, but I’m sure this is one of the features that we will soon see in updates of Chrome for Android.

Favorite features

And next to the features that I miss, there are some features I really like and use a lot:

  • One of those features is that you can swipe between open tabs by swiping from left to right, or the other way around. At first it was some getting used to, because you have to swipe starting from the edge. Because swiping inside the screen will just pan the current page.If for example you want to look something up, you just type in the URL bar, Google shows you the results which you then can open by holding the link and choosing ‘Open in new tab’. Most of the time I then open several sites at once, so I just can swipe between them to find the best site.
  • I have mentioned it before, but I use Chrome to Mobile to send URLs to my phone from my PC sometimes. You could also use the built-in functionality of Chrome for Android to see your open tabs in Chrome for PC, or your last opened tabs. This is probably not a feature that you will use that often (at least not for me), but when you do need it, it is there for you.

Chrome for Android has of course the usual features you would expect in modern browsers: sharing, search in page (a feature that was missing in previous versions of Chrome for Android, but has been implemented now), bookmarks, viewing desktop sites and much more.

Test environment

Version: Chrome 18.0.1025469
Test device: HTC One X (stock Andoid 4.1.1, HTC Sense 4+)
Time testing app: 6+ months

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About

Belgian Computer Science student at Ghent University with scuba diving as a hobby and making applications as a passion.

Posted in App Review

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