Firefox and Chrome have apparently become everyone’s favorite web browsers, thanks to their extensive add-ons/extensions support, excellent UI and countless features. Microsoft has also improved its browser in Internet Explorer 10 that was first shipped with Windows 8 and got released for Windows 7 as a stable build today. Though there are many other web browsers out there as well that are simply overlooked by most of us due our usual hesitation of making a switch to a different one. If you want to try out something different for a change, give SlimBoat a shot. It’s a free web browser for Windows, Mac and Linux that comes packed with plenty of features out of the box.
The first thing you’ll notice about SlimBoat is how extremely fast it loads from a cold start. When launched for the first time, the browser automatically asks whether you want to import any bookmarks from another web browser such as IE, Chrome or Firefox, though you can choose to skip this process if you wish. SlimBoat’s UI comprises of a menu bar at the top, a toolbar below it offering a few basic navigation buttons for back, forward, refresh, home etc, a bookmarks bar, and the tab bar. The home page will present you with speed dial links for some popular websites including Facebook, Amazon, eBay, YouTube, Twitter and CNN, among others.
Unlike Google Chrome’s minimalistic UI that gives more space to the actual web page, SlimBoat’s upper section contains several buttons that may seem to make things a bit cluttered. Though that doesn’t mean you can’t disable any unwanted element of the browser; just right-click the toolbar or tab bar, and the application will provide you with options to disable the stuff you don’t need. You can even send the tab bar to the bottom of the window.
Although SlimBoat is super stable, fast and works flawlessly when handling multiple tabs, you can can easily restore your last session in case of any application crash or system power failure, with a click of a button.
Another noteworthy feature of SlimBoat the built-in ability to switch the user agent to that of a different web browser. Apart from predefined parameters, you can also specify your own user agent by clicking Tools > User Agent > Custom. In addition. you can share the currently loaded web page with your friends on web services like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Stumble Upon, or email it to them.
While we’ve heard rumors about Firefox adding with a panel-based download manager in an upcoming version, SlimBoat has one built-in that’s quite powerful to say the least. It allows you to queue multiple downloads, add custom URLs for the download file, and specify separate folder for each item. Another great feature is its ability to let you download files in bulk from a web page.
The File menu of SlimBoat contains many features that aren’t natively available in Firefox and Chrome, such as the ability to save a full web page as a screenshot or PDF, or save its direct shortcut to your computer. You can also launch a private browsing session and restore your last session.
SlimBoat features a pop-up and ad blocker to block any annoying advertisements without having to install an add-on or extension for the purpose. You can modify a few ad blocker-related options straight from the Settings window. Other miscellaneous features that the application boasts include multilanguage support, auto fill feature for forms, groups option to save multiple tabs as one session, and a plethora of other features that usually require extensions or add-ons on other browsers.
In conclusion, SlimBoat is an excellent, versatile and intuitive web browser for Windows. It contains many advanced features that our favorite Google Chrome and Firefox only enjoy through add-ons and extensions. The application is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.