App Review: Chrome

The Google Chrome Logo


Can Google’s Browser Deliver on an iPad?

As a PC guy, I was understandably reluctant about the iPad’s prospects for my life. One thing I especially loved about the Chrome browser on my PC was its speed and ability to open multiple tabs, something which is now standard among browsers. I was also curious whether I could sign in to my Google account and sync my bookmarks.

As usual, Google did not let me down, and neither did the iPad.

The App launches quickly and saves your previous tabs without a problem. I usually have one or two tabs open all the time (my Deviantart messages, blog analytics, etc.), so I found this feature useful. Also, I was happy to see that all of my bookmarks were synced automatically once I signed into Chrome, and I now have a new category – mobile bookmarks. To find my old bookmarks, I just had to look under “Desktop Bookmarks” and there they were.

Just like its PC counterpart, Chrome for the iPad handles PDF’s, a good feature since I had quite a few bookmarked from my Desktop. It also gives a “Request Desktop Site” option in its drop-down menu right of the address bar, which is handy when I don’t want to download a token iOS app (usually just a dumbed-down and less-functional version of the actual website).

In addition to its PDF functionality, Chrome also handles Youtube videos, but retains all of the video quality controls that are somehow missing from the actual Youtube App. One thing it can’t do, however, is Flash, but this isn’t really a point against it because there’s only one iPad browser I know of (Photon), which handles Flash with any decent functionality. Someday Adobe and Apple will resolve their differences or buy each other out or something, but until then, this is what we’ve got.

Looks just like the Chrome we all know and love.

Forms in Chrome work well, and I haven’t run into a website yet that it can’t load or any that render incorrectly. There was a period where Facebook was acting weird, loading with my messages, friend requests, and notifications all dropped down and no amount of tapping would hide them, thus rendering updating my status an impossibility. However, I haven’t had this problem in a few months, and I strongly suspect that this has more to do with Facebook as a webpage than Chrome as an App. Anyway, since the problem seems to have solved itself, I can’t really count it against the App.

One thing to be aware of when you use Chrome for iPad is that it does not keep every single tab in active memory all the time. This is a functionality issue associated with the iPad – it only has 1GB of RAM, so it has to be careful not to use up too much at once and turn into a sluggish mess. So, Chrome seems to only really load the tab you are currently viewing, keeping perhaps a few others in its memory at a time. If you’re switching pretty quickly between two to four tabs, it shouldn’t be a problem (again, depending on the page). Just be aware that if you leave a tab unviewed for a while, it may have to reload when you look at it again. However, it does load pages very quickly, and I’ve never lost time because of this feature.

Rating:

  1. User-Friendliness= 5 Stars
  2. Functionality= 5 Stars
  3. Aesthetics= 5 Stars
  4. Performance= 5 Stars
  5. Honesty= 5 Stars

Overall Rating= 5 Stars!

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Final Verdict: If you’re a longtime Chrome user like me, you’ll find plenty of functionality on the iPad version. If you’re looking for a viable alternative to Safari, Chrome is worth a shot, plus it’s free. Fast tabbed browsing, efficient interface, and smooth operation.

On the iPhone:Chrome – Google, Inc.

On the iPad:Chrome – Google, Inc.

Standard Review Disclaimer:

All of my reviews are done on the 4th Generation iPad that is about five months old. I can’t vouch for the functionality of something on an iPhone, an iPad Mini, an iPod Touch, older generation iPad, or a steam-powered spaceship. If you agree or disagree with any particular rating, please feel free to leave a well-reasoned comment, or send me an email: editor[at]iPad4Life.net .

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