There was a time when I used to post about Firefox in a kind, generous fashion. Then we had a falling out, but the alternatives just weren’t cutting it for me. I’d keep straying off to another browser for a while, lose interest, and end up back with the the most popular Google-funded communist web browser on the market. Google released Chrome. I’m not a big fan of Google as a company, but I gave it a spin. It was nice, but I don’t like the creepy multiple-year-duration cookies they dish out normally: I sure as heck wasn’t going to do my daily web browsing on something coded by those guys.
But it was pretty neato, so back in September when I found out about SRWare’s Iron browser, a stripped-down version of Chrome that doesn’t phone home, I went out and got it. Hadn’t written anything about it because I was waiting for that new-browser shine to wear off. It’s been a few months and a couple of updates, and I’m ready to render a verdict:
- Iron has Chrome’s tab behavior, which is excellent. You can tear a tab off to form a separate window, consolidate disparate windows into one unit, switch between tabs far more smoothly than in Firefox, Opera, or IE.
- Iron has Chrome’s light and responsive feel. By default it ties up a lot less screen real estate with control mechanisms.
- Iron has Chrome’s nice ctrl+f search function that actually highlights where on the scrollbar you’ll find additional instances of the phrase you’re looking for.
- Iron doesn’t rat you out to Mountain View every time you follow a link.
I recommend at least giving it a test drive. There is some IE-centric content on the ‘net that won’t render right, but that’s a problem I don’t find compelling enough to use IE as my go-to browser of choice. My only real complaint is that Iron doesn’t seem to be able to actually assert itself as the default browser in Windows Vista. This can be a little annoying when following links from other programs.