Great apps and a huge selection of great apps are a big part of what makes the iPad such an amazing device. There are excellent apps for just about any purpose you can think of – from serious productivity to pure entertainment. Better still, there are lots of great free apps for the iPad. Our Best Free iPad App of the Weekposts highlight these apps.
This week’s pick is Coast by Opera, an excellent new iPad browser app that offers a very good, and very different, alternative browsing experience for the iPad. I mentioned Coast earlier this week and my good early impressions of it. I’ve spent more time with the app since and I remain very impressed with it.
The app has an extremely minimal and gesture-based UI. I’ve not been enamored of some other iPad apps that have taken this sort of approach (for to-do apps and others) – but with Coast the experience is smooth, intuitive, and well executed. For me, this UI approach lends itself very nicely to a browser app. Just as one quick for instance, a quick swipe right to go back rather than finding and tapping a Back button is a pleasure to use.
The app’s card style view for tabs is also very nice to work with – making it even easier to quickly spot which tab you want to select.
When I say the app’s UI is extremely minimal I’m not overstating things. It renders all web pages in a lovely full screen view – with no status bar and only 2 buttons in a thin bottom bar. The centered grid button takes you back to the home screen where you have the grid of favorite sites shown in the screenshot at the top of this post and an omnibox-type bar where you can enter a site address or a search term. The More button at bottom right shows your currently open tabs.
Coast looks elegant on all its screens and feels 100% like an iPad app throughout – living up to its App Store description that says ‘every design element in Coast has been carefully crafted for iPad’.
Web pages look great in the app too, though some don’t load quite as quickly as in other browser apps. I expect Opera may address this in future updates to the app.
Coast is the browser app that has rethought an iPad browser app more than any other I’ve seen – and I like the result a lot. It’s got a place on my first home screen and would be my new default browser if Apple allowed us to make that choice.
Here’s an App Store link for Coast by Opera.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week. We’ve also recently put together a best of the best of our selections from the last year in a Top 25 Best Free iPad Apps list.