Best of the Mobile Net

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Browser Shootout

Overall, Apple's Safari leveraged its sophisticated interface and the iPhone's spacious screen to create the best browsing experience. We also looked at Palm's Blazer, RIM's BlackBerry Internet Browser, Symbian's S60, and, in last place, Microsoft's Internet Explorer Mobile, a slow and clunky affair that had trouble with all but the simplest of Web sites.

Safari Mobile

iPhone's Safari, our mobile browser winner, displays Web pages the best.

iPhone's Safari, our mobile browser winner, displays Web pages the best.
Photograph: Rob Cardin
No matter what you might think about Apple's iPhone, the Safari browser it runs is the best-looking and easiest-to-use mobile browser you'll find today.

More than any other mobile browser, Safari renders Web pages so that they look like pages rendered on a computer. Of course, few Web sites fit readably on the iPhone's screen, but that is where the killer features of mobile Safari kick in. It lets you drag the cursor around and zoom in and out with extreme ease. And by using the two-Finger "pinch" gesture on the iPhone, you can zoom in to whatever size you'd like, then use a single finger to scroll the page. This simplicity makes reading text faster with Safari than with any of the other mobile browsers.

Safari is adept at more than just text: It renders most Web pages perfectly, even ones using complex CSS layouts. Its ability to display multiple Web pages is the closest thing to tabbed browsing you'll find on a phone. Its integrated search system, which works in much the same way as the Google toolbar, is a godsend.

All this overhead means Safari isn't fast, but it isn't as slow as you'd think, even on AT&T's pokey EDGE network. Use it for a day, and you'll find switching to another mobile browser painful.

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