Picks: A roundup of some alternative Web browsers

Reviews of Opera Browser, Firefox, Avant Browser, and 27 Tools-in-1 Wichio Browser.
Published: Oct 24, 2007
Author: Michael E, Callahan
Related OS: Windows
Software that can help Good for Cow Rating
Mozilla Firefox for Windows 20.0b6
Download This browser provides pop-up control and a tabbed navigation mode that lets you open...
27 Tools-in-1 Wichio Browser 5.10
Download Wichio is a tabbed browser with 27 built-in utilities.
Avant Browser 2012 build 169, 4.8.2012
Download Avant Browser is a fast, stable, user-friendly, versatile tabbed browser.
Picks Logo

A roundup of the favorite Web browsers. When it comes to browsing you do have a choice.

Opera, by Opera Software has been around since 1996 and it just keeps getting better and better. Now, while I use Firefox as my default browser, I have all of the browsers I'm going to write about on my computer. Opera, in my opinion, is the fastest of all the Web browsers I've tried. It's lean and mean and simply loaded with features. You can do your email, read news feeds, download files, and surf the 'net all from within Opera. There are versions of Opera for your mobile phone, your smartphone, and even for devices like the Nintendo Wii. Opera was the first to introduce mouse gestures and they make it really easy to move around the Web. Talking about "easy", however, and you have to consider Opera's voice feature which lets you navigate by talking to the browser. Heck, it'll even read text to you. Pretty slick. These things make Opera special and unique, but that's not all. The program lets you keep notes on Web sites, utilize keyboard shortcuts if mouse gestures aren't for you, participate in IRC (Internet Relay Chat), save a group of Web sites as a "session", and much more.

Opera does everything you expect from a Web browser and so much more. It has so many nice little extras like skins, support for drag and drop, blocking popups, even remove or keep the cookies based on your choices. I guess when I think of Opera I think of it as the most evolved browser available today. I've watched it grow and change over the years and everytime I use it I'm impressed with it's speed, agility, and depth of features. So, if you feel you're in a rut with Internet Explorer and you'd just like to try something else, be sure to look at Opera. Oh, and it's free.

Mozilla Firefox, by Mozilla Foundation has rapidly gained in popularity. I read somewhere that Firefox now claims about 15% of the browser market which is really pretty impressive. Remember, you have choices when it comes to the software you use. My car came with certain presets on the radio, but that doesn't mean I kept them. Break out of the box and try something different. Something that didn't come loaded on your computer. I've been using Firefox for a couple years now and perhaps one of the key features are all the add-ons that you can get for it. If you look at the screen capture you'll see some of the add-ons that I use. Forecast Fox to give me the weather, FoxClocks to show me time in different places, FoxyTunes for playing music, FlashGot for downloads, ReminderFox for remembering things, and plenty more. The introduction of add-ons and extensions for Firefox gave people a way to truly customize their Web browser and make it their own. My collection of add-ons is relatively modest, but some people go all out and you can find add-ons to do just about anything. Mozilla Firefox is loaded with all the features anyone needs for browsing the Web. It imports your bookmarks from Internet Explorer and makes it easy for you use them. One feature I thought was really cool is the ability to create your own toolbars. Yep, that's right -- just drag and drop. Slick.

Firefox also has all the key things you need like blocking popups, clearing private data, and being secure. You can also read RSS news feeds within Firefox and if you don't like the default system there are a number of add-ons you can pick from. In my opinion one of the most compelling features of Firefox is the huge range of extensions and add-ons that you can incorporate into it. So, if you're ready to take a walk on the wild side, take the time to really look at Mozilla Firefox. It's won the Shareware Industry Awards and the People's Choice Awards and every day more users switch to it. Give it a try, I think you'll like it and it's also Free.

Avant Browser, by Avant Force is a free browser that's gaining in popularity. The company does accept "donations" and I think once you try this product out you'll want to donate. Like Firefox and Opera, Avant Browser is loaded with cool features beyond just what you'd expect. Like the others it supports tabbed browsing so you can have multiple pages open at once. You can also read your RSS news feeds right from the program. Ad you can see in the screen shot, Avant Browser has a very clean, sleek look. It looks very professional. One feature it has is a real knock out and that's it's true full screen mode. When you toggle this one be prepared to see nothing but Web. Everything is gone ... toolbars, menus, icons, and so on. Really a neat effect. If it makes you feel hemmed in you can select the full desktop mode that lets you see the toolbar. It has mouse gestures that you can use for navigation, helps you to fill forms and passwords, blocks popups, and much more.

Avant Browser has another cool feature that lets you store key tings in a private, online account. That means you can put things like your news feeds, your bookmarks, your important settings, and then be able to get at them from anywhere. Another thing I like about that feature is that when you move to a new computer all your key browser info is right there waiting for you. Nicely done. If you're looking for a new browser that has class, a sleek look, and a bundle of nice features, take a look at Avant Browser.

27 Tools-in-1 Wichio Browser, by Wichio is a program they could have called Wichio - Everything But The Kitchen Sink. The baby has it all. Yes, it has everything you'd expect from a Web browser, but the list of extras is staggering. I've reviewed it once before and in coming back to it I still can't get over what's included in the product. It can find song lyrics, tell you your IP address, give you WhoIs information, and tells you who is connected to your machine. One feature I really like is the Web Update Alert which monitors Web pages you specify and then tells you when any changes have occurred. Slick. 27 Tools-in-1 Wichio Browser has tons of other features. There's a Download Manager that tracks all your downloads, built-in screen capture for snagging information, quick access to dictionaries, translations, weather, currency conversions, maps, and still more. Like an Email Alert that notifies you whenever you have email come in. It handle POP3 accounts and Web-based email as well. I tested it out on Yahoo and it worked great.

27 Tools-in-1 Wichio Browser blocks pop-ups and can also delete all of your Web "history" along with the cache, cookies, addresses, and more, automatically. It can show you your system resources, auto refresh at a rate you specify, and if you use a dial-up connection, it can automatically connect for you. And disconnect all based on criteria you set. 27 Tools-in-1 Wichio Browser provides an option called Private Surfing that lets you password protect your own private list of URLs. It can open new pages in tabs and you can close those tabs with nothing more than a right-click of the mouse. Cool. It has support for "skins", you can change the text color, the background color, and also configure the buttons. The program also has the ability to fill in forms, open links in the background, and reopen pages you've closed.

27 Tools-in-1 Wichio Browser is a Web browser plus a whole lot more. It's really like getting a browser and a whole bunch of utilities in one, neat, package. It's really a very handy package that's easy-to-use and it has lots of configurable options. I like it so much that it's not only a Pick, but it's also a Dr. File Finder Favorite and in 25 years of reviewing software there haven't been many of those. Take a look!

I hope this roundup of alternative Web browsers has been helpful. I've had so many requests that I decided I'd better get to it. Internet Explorer is a nice browser, but you may think that some of these are even nicer. Give them a try.

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can ask me and I'll review some software and give you a solution to your problem. You can email me by clicking HERE You may not receive a reply, but all requests will be considered.

About Michael E, Callahan

Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.

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