The xScope mobile browser seeks to be functional and simple for people who are looking for an upgrade from the stock browser. It claims to be the fastest mobile browser available for Android users, and with the second fastest loading times in my browsing experience it is, if nothing else, faster than most browsers currently available. It does have a limited number of features but the true tabbed browsing is a nice experience.
- Too many menus
- Occasional page-display problems
- Long clicking slows downs the experience
- Initial learning curve too steep
Speed: Second only to Opera in terms of speed, the xScope browser loaded the mobile CNN site in about 6 seconds and the full CNN site in 33 seconds. It was faster than the other browsers except Opera, which loaded the two sites in 5 seconds and 25 seconds respectively. We found scrolling on par with most mobile browsers in this roundup, meaning it was slightly jerky when scrolling through pages or using the zoom feature. Pages did seem to load quickly and we didnt encounter any rendering issues a definite plus.
Page Display: The pages in xScope render well, and its easy to switch the mobile or desktop versions of a website. However, xScope did occasionally have difficulties rendering all aspects of a complex page on screen at one time. For example, on some sites a few graphics wouldnt load properly or text wrapping would be a bit off. It is a minor annoyance, but compared to the seamless performance of browsers like Dolphin HD or Opera, it is one that stands out as a fairly large misstep.
Navigation: xScope does a good job navigating from page to page, smoothly transitioning between all the navigational tasks. The true tabbed browsing feature stands out the most: it actually had animations when switching between tabs. The tab also tracks the exact percentage of the page loaded, so theres no need to guess how much of a page loaded.
Extra Features: The mobile web browser provides a decent amount, but most are hidden in long clicks or menus. xScope is the king of long clicks out of all the browsers. (Long-clicking refers to the act of holding your finger on something on the phones screen. Holding a link allows you to open it in a new tab, or copy it among other options. You can long click virtually anything in xScope to bring up context sensitive menus.) It offers many of the same features found in other browsers, but requires long-clicks and deep menu navigation to access them.
Overall: xScope is a perfectly good browser, but not as fast as it claims. That said, it is among the fastest we tested. The true tabbed browsing is a nice feature and it is clear a lot of thought went into the feature. The long click navigation and menu digging slows down the experience and accessing features isnt what wed call intuitive. This browser will appeal to those who can take the time to master it, but those looking for a more intuitive experience should steer clear.