iChromy is new browser app for the iPad that promises to bring ‘the best of Chrome’s interface and speed to the iPad’. I’m a huge fan of the Chrome browser on my MacBook Pro desktop; it’s my every day primary browser on the Mac, usually with a crazy number of tabs open all day long (26 as I write this post). I find it to be blazing fast generally and much, much faster than Safari.
So as soon as I saw iChromy hit the iPad App Store I was very interested and very keen to see whether the app could do a good job at bringing a Chrome-like experience to the iPad. I’ve had it on my iPad for a couple days now and have used it quite a lot. So far, I’m quite impressed with it.
This is not an official version of Chrome for iPad from Google. It is developed by Diigio inc.
iChromy offers you most of the features you have in the Mobile Safari browser on the iPad, and some very nice Chrome features on top. These include:
Tabs: Rather than using the pages metaphor that Safari does, iChromy uses tabs. Tabs are used by just about all mainstream desktop browsers now, and they’re a much quicker way (than Mobile Safari’s pages) to move between multiple sites within the browser. You just tap on the + button at the top right of the screen in iChromy to add new tabs.
Omnibox – like Chrome on the desktop, the address bar in iChromy can be used both to enter a site address and to type search keywords. The app’s features list misspells this as Ominibox, but I can’t bring myself to spell it that way.
– Having the Omnibox feature in an iPad browser is great. I’m used to using it in Chrome on the desktop and find it a real time-saver. It works well in this app.
– iChromy gains you a little extra reading space while browsing by hiding the Omnibox / Address Bar as soon as you start scrolling down through a site. It’s not a huge amount of space obviously, but it’s a nice little touch.
– The Omnibox also lets you tap on a star icon quickly to add a page to Bookmarks, and tap on an eyeglasses icon to add / remove a page from its Offline Reading List. Having the offline reading list built in is a nice feature as well.
– The app’s Share button offers a good list of sharing and similar options, including: Twitter, Facebook, email, Evernote, Google Reader, Instapaper, Read It Later, offers Open in Safari option, and more.
– It shows up to 5 tabs at once; then you swipe to scroll left and right when you have more than 5 tabs open at once.
– It’s solid and fast. I haven’t seen a single crash or any noticeable lag in using the app at all so far. It’s fast in just about every area – moving from tab to tab, loading new pages in new tabs, opening new links within pages, and so on. I’ve gone up to around 8-10 tabs open at a time before I see it start to slow down a little.
– It doesn’t take you straight back to the top of the page when the status bar is tapped as Safari and other 3rd party browsers do.
– There’s no .com button added to the keyboard within the app.
Both of these are items the developers have on their list for ‘What’s the Next Version’ – so hopefully they’ll be added in an update soon.
iChromy does a good job at bringing some of the slick features of Chrome to the iPad; the Omnibox in particular is great to see on the iPad. Tabbed browsing (which is offered by many 3rd party browser apps) is also a very nice feature.
I like those two features enough for this app to become my primary browser on the iPad for now.
Here’s an App Store link for iChromy; it’s a free app.