VirtualBrowser for Chrome: Bringing the Full Web to Your iPhone


Price: $9.99 (on sale for $3.99)
VirtualBrowser for Chrome: Written & Video iPhone App Review

VirtualBroswer for Chrome

Reviewed by Luke Patrick

If you’ve been a long-term iPhone user, you’re likely aware of one of the phone’s biggest drawbacks: It doesn’t happen to work very well with flash or javascript. For that matter, if you’re looking for a true blue Chrome experience for iOS, you’re going to be fat out of luck. Thankfully, though, you can now use a fantastic new application called VirtualBrowser for Chrome to get the job done. The application uses cloud browsing and browser emulation to bring you your extensions, games, and flash videos—directly on your iPhone. If your curiosity has been piqued, you’ll find our whole review contained below beyond the break.

Concept and Functionality

The idea behind VirtualBrowser is actually nothing new, but being contained within packaging this tight and attractive certainly helps. The app uses what’s called cloud browser technology: In essence, you’re not using an iPhone browser at all, but rather are accessing an emulation of Chrome contained on a server elsewhere. That gets messy though, so we’ll leave off there.

All you quite need to know is that this technology allows you to use Chrome extensions, bookmarks, javascript (with a full Java implementation, including Java-applets and JNLP/Webstart applications), and flash video on your iPhone. Some Java examples are Runescape, Etrade and Scottrade. All of this is served up to you within the application, and in a way, it’s exactly like using Chrome on your desktop. The performance is decent, and if you’ve ever used the Chrome browser before, you’ll know exactly how to get around here. The app can both emulate a mouse and respond to your touch. There’s also a handy touch-type keyboard to receive your input. All in all, it’s a near approximation of the real thing, and as the features are working, it’s a solid one too.

Performance and Design

VirtualBroswer for Chrome

VirtualBroswer for Chrome

Here’s where things begin to get tricky with VirtualBrowser, though. Essentially, the application has some serious lagging issues. Obviously, it’s not nearly as smooth as running the app natively on your desktop. That’s to be expected, but our concern is this: Sure, VirtualBrowser can run your Flash content and manage your extensions. And it works, too! However, is this added to the slowness really enough to make you want to use VirtualBrowser as your permanent browser? Or to play FarmVille, even? Obviously if traditional browsers are not getting the job done for you and you’re intending to use the app to manage items you need to use within Chrome, this can be an excellent fit. Otherwise you may find that a standard browser running locally is just fine.

Overall Value

The final spanner in the gears, in fact, is the application’s pricetag. It’ll cost you a whopping ten bucks, which is easily stretching the far-end of what we’re used to paying for an iPhone app. That’s a lot to ask for the experience you’ll get, so we’ll say this: If you need VirtualBrowser to do Chrome activities that are vital on the go, you’ll get your money’s worth. For everyone else, it’s really a crapshoot, here.

VirtualBrowserVirtualBrowser for Chrome requires iOS 5.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review, as well as a video production fee.

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2 Responses to “VirtualBrowser for Chrome: Bringing the Full Web to Your iPhone”

  1. […] happen to work very well with flash or javascript. For that matter, if you’re looking for a […] The iPhone App Review : iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad App Reviews Share […]

  2. Anonymous says:

    If you were to ask us why we bought our iPad in the first place, we would undoubtably reply without hesitation: Simply put, we bought it to stop taking paper notes. After all, what’s the point of having cloud-based note services and a giant, attractive screen if you can’t shirk the paper weight?

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