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Although it originally started its life as a modification to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer called MyIE, the Maxthon browser which millions of people around the world know and love has developed beyond any kind of recognition since it officially moved away from the MyIE name in 2003. When talking about web browsers, the majority of people may conjure up thoughts of IE, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, but although Maxthon may not be on the top of those lists, it has enjoyed significant success with over 600 million downloads over its lifetime.

The developers behind Maxthon don’t seem to be put off by the current iOS browser battle between Apple’s own Mobile Safari and the fairly recently launched Google Chrome and have signaled their intention to compete with the big boys by releasing an iPhone and iPod touch version of their browser that had previously only been seen on Android devices and the iPad. Described as being fast, smart, secure and fun, Maxthon has been picking up awards for being the best browser over the last three years and is proud to tell the world that the technology that powers the browser consistently achieves the highest HTML5 score in testing. But do those two accolades make for an excellent mobile browsing experience?

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On the face of things, it seems that Maxthon has enough power packed in to compete with any browser currently available on iOS. Expected features like private browsing are available right away that give users the ability to browse their favorite websites without the browser tracking any usage statistics and saving the visited sites to the history cache. Maxthon for iPhone and iPod touch also has a very useful reader mode built into it that is something we have seen in other browsers, but with ad-filtering technology, it works extremely well in this instance and adds to the overall punch of the app.

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The interface of the browser is familiar enough for users to be able to get up and running immediately with the initial visuals presenting a best of the web list presented in a grid-like format that we have seen in other browsers like Opera and Firefox. Thanks to an extremely simple options button within the main browser, users can quickly add additional pages to the main grid for easy access to their favorite sites without needing to worry about bookmarking. Tabbed browsing, cloud synchronization and an overall fast browsing experience actually puts Maxthon ahead of Google Chrome in my opinion. Regardless of what browser you currently class as your favorite on iOS, Maxthon doesn’t cost a penny and definitely offers enough functionality to make it worth checking out.

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Download Maxthon for iPhone and iPod touch [iTunes link]

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