kikin Browser (Free) by kikin Inc. offers a simple and touch-based browsing interface for the iPad.
The browser isn’t the speediest we’ve ever seen (it’s certainly no Terra Browser) but with such an ergonomic and easy to manage interface, iPad users looking for a replacement browser will certainly be pleased with the app’s smooth functionality.
Kikin Browser offers all the third party browsing features you’d expect, including tabbed navigation, a homepage with multiple favorite sites, and simple bookmarking. The app comes with a host of other useful add-ons as well, most notably quick exporting to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This makes it simpler than ever to share an interesting article from the Internet with your friends and family.
The app’s real advantage is its excellent “Omni Bar” and “Easy Search” options. Users simply type a word or phrase into the navigational bar, and kikin Browser automatically suggests the top results from Google and Wikipedia. This makes it incredibly easy to do a quick search, especially when launching from the springboard in a hurry.
Kikin Browser also supports long-pressing any word on the page to create an automatic search for that phrase. This means it only takes a second to find the definition of a word, or jump to Wikipedia from any rendered webpage. This same functionality works for addresses too. Users simply place a finger on a location, and kikin Browser automatically sends the information to Google Maps for quick directions.
All in all, kikin Browser offers a smooth and gorgeous browsing experience for the iPad. The app’s tabs alone give it an advantage over the stock mobile Safari, and the cool icons and gunmetal gray matte finish only add further eye candy.
However, kikin Browser is not the speediest browser currently available in the App Store. Mobile Safari is easily twice as fast, while other offerings like Terra Browser were quicker by about half as much. I also experienced the browser choking during my test drive, where it would pause while loading a page, taking several seconds or more to become responsive again.
Thankfully, the price is right, since the app is free. That means users can experience the app’s truly useful long-touch functionality without breaking the bank.
If speed is your game, you might be better off with mobile Safari. If you’re looking for extensive gesture support and even more features than kikin Browser is sporting, you might look to Dolphin Browser on the iPhone. However, if you’re looking for a simple touch-based interface, kikin Browser is a simple package with a lot to offer.