The browser that we are going to be focusing on today somewhat differs from most other browser suggestions on our site. The software tool that we will introduce you to today is a lesser-known browser program developed back in 2008 known under the name of Maxthon. Not many people are currently using it but we believe that this not so famous piece of software has a lot to offer which is why we have decided to review it in the next lines.
Currently, the web-browser trend focuses on initial minimalism with subsequent versatility and functionality available through a lot of customization options. Maxthon, on the other hand, is anything but minimalistic – when using it, one gets the feeling that they are working with the Swiss army knife equivalent for browser programs. A lot of features that you’d normally get on other browsers only by installing some add-on or extension will be available to you on Maxthon from the very moment you install it in the form of built-in tools. Another interesting thing about this browser is that it combines two separate engines: Trident which is also used by IE and Webkit utilized on Safari and Chrome. Looking at most other popular browsers, we can see a number of similarities but when we have a look at Maxthon, it becomes apparent that its developers have tried to implement a number of other, original ideas, making their product rather unique when compared to the rest.
As soon as you open Maxthon, you are bound to notice that things aren’t really the way that you would expect them. When I first started this browser, I did not get the familiar feeling that one would have after switching from Chrome to Firefox or from Firefox to Opera. While there’s nothing about Maxthon’s interface that is too complicated or too unfamiliar, there’s certainly a need for exploration until you can feel comfortable with this browser. The main reason for that is the big number of buttons available at the toolbar as well as their unusual orientation relative to the search/address bar. Speaking of the search/address bar, as you have already probably guessed it, Maxthon, similarly to other modern browsers combines the search and the URL box which, though convenient, is less privacy-friendly compared to the old school interface where the two boxes are separated (as they are on Firefox).
When talking about the way tabs are handled, there are things to be desired there as other browsers have better tab implementation. That said, one neat thing you can do on Maxthon is split the screen (by pressing F10) and have two tabs displayed on your screen, each taking half of the space. Also, there are a couple of tab-related options once you right-click on any of the tabs.
We won’t go into detail, explaining each and every button as one article would not be enough to do that. Exploration, as we said, is necessary so as to start using this browser to its full potential. However, once you are familiar with all the different tools available at your disposal, you will come to realize the full potential of this program. Also, the unusual outlook of the browser’s interface might actually feel pleasant to some users as it is not something that you see too often with browsers.
Even though on the program’s official site it is claimed that it is very fast and high-performing, Maxthon isn’t as fast as some other web-browsing programs out there. That said, it is certainly not a slow browser either. We would say that Maxthon performs well and loads pages quickly enough for the preferences of someone who doesn’t need a super fast browser. A nice addition to the performance aspect is the relatively low memory and battery consumption that one can have with this program. While it isn’t best in this department either, it certainly does quite well. Overall, in terms of performance, Maxthon might not be the best, yet considering that it isn’t exactly a lightweight browser, it offers a satisfying level of speed and performing capabilities.
Now we are talking – this is where Maxthon shines the brightest as it really comes with a lot of features that most other browsers do not have by default. We will only mention the most interesting and innovative ones but there will surely be some that are going to be omitted.
- Extensions – even though this is a lesser known browser program, it still has a satisfying variety of extensions (about 700) available at its Extension Center.
- Nightmode – when enabled, it changes the brightness and color schemes of your screen when the browser is opened so as to make the screen less straining for your eyes.
- Resource Sniffer – this unique tool that isn’t available on most other browsing program allows the user to extract and download data from any page that contains audio, video or image contents. You can even download Youtube videos with the Resource sniffer. It doesn’t, however, work perfectly as audio files seem to remain undetected by it.
- Snap – this tool works similarly to Windows’ Snipping Tool as it allows you to capture images from your browser and later save them on your PC. There are even a couple of extra options for altering the captured image.
- Ad-blocker – similarly to Opera, Maxthon has a built-in ad-blocker which prevents the display of irritating adverts when you are surfing the web – a really neat feature.
- External tools – there is even a button on the toolbar which opens a menu that allows for quick access to a number of commonly used Windows tools such as the Calculator, Paint, Notepad, etc. (the user can add additional programs there).
Security and Privacy
In terms of security, the browser has a couple of nice traits such as the aforementioned ad-blocker as well as an URL checker and a sandboxing feature for pages’ codes. While it is certainly not the safest browser, it sure offers significant security levels to its users. As far as privacy is concerned, the combined search and address bar lowers the privacy levels on Maxthon and also, in the past there have been a couple of privacy-related issues such as browsing data getting sent to the servers of Maxthon. However, this is nothing surprising or unusual as this is a common practice with most popular browsers nowadays.
Maxthon is not the best browser on the market but it sure is a unique and interesting alternative to more popular options. The wide variety of features that it offers and its high versatility are sure to please a lot of users that value those traits. Others, of course, might be put off by the fact that a lot of it might seem unfamiliar and non-intuitive but for those customers, there are more than enough simpler and less overwhelming browser programs out there.