I’m not a big fan of browsing the web on my phone, mainly due to my browser’s terrible control scheme. Everything is too spaced out. The keyboard’s at the bottom of the vertically oriented display, essential controls are tucked into hard to reach corners, and I don’t want to risk dropping my phone by performing a little one-handed gymnastics for a new tab.
Photo: Guian Bolisay (Flickr)
Using the iOS/Android browser Smooz, however, you can avoid relying on an inaccessible interface and use one more suited to all the swiping, tapping, and browsing you do thanks to the app’s emphasis on gestures for control. Here’s how it works and how to get the most out of it.
Easy Syncing, Easier Tab Management
The hardest part when it comes to using a browser like Google Chrome is reaching the corners to browse to other tabs, enter new URLs, or access settings I need to change. Smooz relies on gesture controls first, letting you swipe to move between tabs, enter a new URL, and manage your current set of tabs. There’s also a tab manager you can use to pin, rearrange and restore current and recently closed tabs.
Smooz keeps your browsing history, bookmarks, and tabs synced across your devices when you associate your Facebook or Twitter account with the app. Its basic gestures are on par with other browsers, but the real useful feature is in its advanced gesture controls. More on those below.
Customise Your Gestures Yourself
The one-handed magic is present in the form of optional gestures you can enable in Smooz’s settings. There are five predetermined gestures, and you can program each with an action. Right now, I can open a new tab by swiping up and to the right, close it by swiping down and to the left, and close all tabs with a triple-tap.
There are over a dozen actions to choose from, so you’ll be able to open your bookmarks folder, restore a closed tab, or enter private mode without overextending your thumb, perfect for small-handed smartphone owners.
Browsing is Free, Ad-Blocking is Extra
Smooz is free, but offers a premium version offering features like ad-blocking and unlimited text recognition via your camera with “scan-to-search”. At $US3.49 ($4) per month, you’d better really dislike ads. The customisable gesture controls and simple tab management makes Smooz a pretty capable browser.
Other neat features, like image blocking for cutting down on data use, and an in-browser commenting feature that lets you see what other Smooz users have to say about a particular site (you can disable it), make it a formidable alternative to other available options like Safari or Google Chrome, an alternative I believe I’ll keep using for a while.