Have you ever felt like Safari on the iPhone didn’t quite get the job done? That it just wasn’t fast enough, didn’t have enough options, or had a cumbersome interface? Then iLunascape Lite is here to fix those problems. Well, some of them, anyway.
All necessary controls for this app work very well. The bar at the bottom that lets you switch tabs at the slide of a finger is convenient and shows very little lag, and the menus work just as they should.
iLunascape Lite’s layout is for the most part quite clever. You have a tab at the bottom that manages all of your open windows, and you can slide with your thumb to switch between them. This is definitely a nice little feature compared to other web browsers. In addition, the layout of the menus is nice, non-intrusive and very quick and responsive. This iPhone app’s layout is definitely better than that of Safari, and the slickness and easy use of it definitely makes it feel better. I especially like that the address bar pops up with just a touch to the top of the screen, rather than having to scroll all the way up the web page like in Safari.
This is unfortunately where I’m going to have to dock the most points from this app. Though the interface is nice and slick, the speed of its browsing doesn’t always meet that standard. And though it’s a free iPhone app, the fact that there is a web browser that’s faster and preloaded onto the iPhone is immediately an issue. I didn’t notice much of a difference on 3G when comparing iLunascape Lite and Safari, but on Wi-Fi there were definitely times where iLunascape Lite was taking so long that I just switched to Safari. Note that this was not always the case, but frequent enough that it got a little bit annoying. In addition, one time when I logged out of a university mail account, it left me on the logout screen, whereas Safari always closes the tab and takes me back to the main page of my profile. It was a minor inconvenience, but a noticeable one that required me to type in the address again.
The trouble with reviewing an app like this is that from the moment it’s created, it has the odds against it by going head to head with a pre-installed iPhone program that works pretty well as it is. It’s meant to say that though a browser like Safari is good, this one is better and deserves to replace it. Unfortunately, iLunascape Lite did not quite convince me of this. It has a more convenient and eye-pleasing layout than Safari, which makes it worth at least checking out for free, but unless the speed is improved, it is difficult to consider making the switch. I do see potential with this iPhone app, and look forward to future updates.
iLunascape Lite iPhone app [ iTunes Link ] requires iOS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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