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Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: Metro Web Browser

Date: February 19, 2011
App type: Tools
Publisher: Adam Nathan
Release date: December 4, 2010
Price: $1.99
Phone features used: Data connection, sensors, media library, web browser, RunsUnderLock

While the Internet Explorer Mobile web browser included with Windows Phone 7 is actually pretty decent, like much of Windows Phone it's missing some basic and key features. But that's where Adam Nathan's excellent Metro web browser comes to the rescue, offering the same excellent IE Mobile web rendering engine but in a more attractive, more usable, and more efficient user interface.

So what makes Metro web browser so special?

For starters, it provides a full-screen browsing experience--that is, one with no screen real estate stealing UI--in both portrait and landscape mode, and not just in landscape mode as with IE. Nathan says this means you get 24 percent more screen dedicated to the page you're visiting (in portrait mode), or 800 pixels, vs. 646 pixels with IE. You can also lock the orientation so the browser doesn't jump back and forth when you move the phone around.

IE Mobile (left) vs. Metro Web Browser (right)

Where you're limited to 6 tabs in IE, Metro web browser provides virtually unlimited tabs. (I'm guessing the limit is related to RAM and/or general system resources.)

Bugged by a lack of Twitter integration in Windows Phone? (Don't worry, Microsoft will eventually get to it.) Well, Metro web browser already has it, via a familiar Share page.

There's more. You can save viewed pictures to the device. You can reorder your Favorites. There are themes to choose from, and you can make your own. You can browse in Private mode, or open the current page in IE. And unlike Mobile IE, Metro web browser actually uses the Metro UI to its fullest, with a nice design with separate Tabs, Favorites, Recent, and Frequent views.

Metro web browser isn't perfect--it won't automatically load or sync your IE Favorites, for example. But it's good enough to have already replaced IE Mobile on my home screen. This is a great mobile web browser, one that is already more capable than what Microsoft includes out of the box.

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