capsule review

Xtravo Web Browser (formerly Xtravo Explorer)

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Xtravo Web Browser (formerly Xtravo Explorer)

Xtravo Web Browser 4.0 is one of many alternative browsers. While competition is always good, and a wide range of choices is never a bad thing, it's hard to find a specific niche Xtravo fills which the others do not.

Formerly Xtravo Explorer, Xtravo Web Browser makes two major claims to fame. First, speed. It is quite responsive, in general, though it looks like the engine sometimes tries too hard to render everything at once and pauses while it collects data. Otherwise, though, it is quite fast, even on image-heavy pages with complex formatting. Second, Xtravo is integrated with Jawoco Instant Search (though this site works in any browser), which will populate search results as you type. It does so with fairly impressive speed, even on image or video searches, but limits you to a single page of results, which makes it less useful.

Xtravo Web Browser has a Chrome-like sparseness, which is a feature users with smaller screens may appreciate. It also has a built-in "boss key"--click a button, and Xtravo vanishes from your taskbar and desktop until you hit Ctrl-E to restore it. Anyone who doesn't see the utility of that has never been a bored cubicle drone.

Some other features of Xtravo deserve positive mention: The image sniffer will download all image links on a page, very useful if you're harvesting pictures from a site. The code browser goes well beyond the typical "show source," to provide a useful, detailed, and syntax-highlighted look at the underlying HTML of a page. Last, it has a built-in cookie viewer, which is a nice tool for seeing just what kind of information is being logged.

Beyond that, though... it's a browser. Xtravo doesn't have specialized features for particular types of users, or unique functions like Opera's Unite. Since I do have horizontal screen space to spare, I would have liked some kind of sidebar or docking functionality.

Xtravo Web Browser's limited documentation and support are in somewhat fractured English, and it seems that the main audience is Middle Eastern, not American. It is quite possible I am overlooking features which may be welcome outside the U.S.

Other than some under-the-hood modifications to the rendering engine, there are not a lot of changes from the prior version, and it still has some of the same flaws, such as changing the default search engine in Explorer. It actually has removed some things, like the pre-defined list of suspicious sites, though the filtering is still present. The earliest version of Xtravo I reviewed included a prototype web-based OS; this was removed from later versions. With each iteration, Xtravo seems to cut back on unique features to focus on core browser functionality. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except that there are already several very strong "just surfs the Web" browsers out there, and the only reason to use another is if it has niche functionality.

In summation, there's nothing noticeably wrong with Xtravo Web Browser, and if the image-grabbing, code-viewing, or boss-hiding functions are at the top of your list, it will cruise the Web about as well as anything else. If not, there isn't a compelling reason to add it to your browser collection.

--Ian Harac

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At a Glance
  • This somewhat different entry in the browser wars is uneven, but very interesting.


    • Image grabbing; code viewer; boss key


    • No special focus, limited documentation, interface oddities
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