Looking for free iPhone apps? Here we continue our guide to the best free apps for iPhone, covering news, photography, entertainment, work and social apps.
Our next category is:
(For more on this subject, read our roundup of the best iPhone web browsers.)
Google's Chrome browser for iOS is well made and a pleasure to use, particularly if you're deeply entrenched in Google's ecosystem. If you use Chrome on the Mac, for instance, you can sign into Chrome on both and sync your tabs.
Like Dolphin (below), Chrome includes a voice-search mechanism, but this time it's bundled with the browser for free; and we all know how good Google is at voice control.
Chrome's tab management is excellent, if currently quite similar to Safari. You can quickly create new tabs, rearrange them and move between them in a 3D manager view; unlike in Safari's equivalent, swiping any tab to the right closes it.
The general interface is strong, too: back in the main view swiping right takes you to the previously viewed tab, and we like the user-friendly 'drag down to refresh' that you get on all web pages.
As with Dolphin, it's easy to invoke 'private browsing', although in this case it's called Incognito Mode. And like Opera Mini, Chrome offers to cut your data usage with a Data Saver optimisation mode. According to Google the reduction may be as much as 50 percent.
FREE | Download Chrome
Dolphin is a feature-rich alternative to Safari with impressive gesture support.
Dolphin supports tabs (just as Safari does) but we find it easier to navigate between them. Swipe from the righthand edge to bring up the tabs page and pick an option: an approach we prefer to the showier but generally less informative and intuitive '3D view' offered in Safari on the iPhone.
A horizontal swipe from the lefthand edge allows you to access bookmarks and navigation shortcuts.
Dolphin's gestures can be used to navigate to a page or refresh the current one, or open a new tab, among other things. The app lets you draw your own custom gestures directly on the screen, and we've found its gesture recognition consistently accurate.
Dolphin's range of features is hugely impressive, although this can be overwhelming for new users.
FREE | Download Dolphin
If you don't like advertisers tracking the websites you visit - and this is a widespread practice - then Ghostery is the browser for you.
The app is designed with anonymity as its primary aim. The app collects no user data, and there are no cookies and no signups. And if the web page you're on is using any ad trackers, Ghostery will spot them and warn you with a red icon.
FREE | Download Ghostery
Opera Mini takes the approach that speed is key. By some clever trickery involving proxy browsers returning static pages (don't worry about it), Mini is quicker than the most popular browsers.
In (very unscientific) tests it appeared to return pages in about half the time it took Safari and Chrome (oddly enough, Dolphin was the slowest, although it has the habit of returning a page fairly quickly but then sitting with the progress bar virtually finished for another 10 seconds, so the experience isn't significantly worse). It's also an economical browser, reducing your data usage significantly.
Opera Mini makes compromises to achieve these savings, but you are able at least to choose how extreme you want these compromises to be. There are three settings - Mini, Turbo and Off, of which the fastest, confusingly, is Mini - and you can choose to load or not load images, and at what quality you want them to appear.
The tab manager view is 3D, as is apparently industry-standard now, and like Chrome allows you to simply swipe a tab to close it. The tabs are arranged horizontally, though, and therefore swiped upwards. This horizontal layout also means (in this user's humble opinion) that it's a little easier to see at a glance what's on each page.
Opera Mini's keyboard, meanwhile, is masterly - the best of any browser in this roundup. It includes two handy shortcut buttons: one to input a QR code, and another to switch between default searches in Google, Wikipedia, eBay and Amazon. But its triumph is the central slider/rocker switch that deftly moves the cursor in the URL bar and, if you hold it down for a moment, selects text too. The only thing missing is a '.com' or 'co.uk' autocomplete button.
FREE | Download Opera Mini