Portal For iPhone

Safari for iOS is good. Very good, even! But you might want an alternative - an extremely sexy alternative. Portal takes the same web-searching, bookmark-keeping, pinch-zooming functionality of Safari and adds an expandable radial menu for attractive fullscreen browsing.

What is it?

Portal, iPhone, $2.49. A fullscreen web browser with an expanding radial menu.

Who's it good for?

Aesthetes. You want pretty? Portal is very pretty. Smooth menus, tasteful transitions. But it's not just a gorgeous face - the minimalist menu system puts all of your commands (reload, forward, back, search, etc.) into a compact dot. Just hold it down, and it expands only so much as is necessary. Anyone wishing they had more iPhone browsing space will be pleased with the unobscured view.

Why's it better than alternatives?

The alternatives are, for the most part, crap. Most non-Safari iOS browsers are alternatives for the mere sake of being alternatives. They don't have much in the way of allure. Sure, Portal is another browser, and it does pretty much exactly what Safari does - let you view websites on your phone. True. But the radial menu - which just sounds like a gimmick - is executed quite well. Add that to a bounty of visual flourishes (including the extremely awesome crosshair that locks onto in-page search queries), a bevy of search engines, stability, and speed.

How could it be even better?

It's a little buggy (I got stuck in the find mode). Most importantly, the hierarchical ordering of the radial menu could use a little shuffling. High priority browser buttons (like reload) should be closer to the centre than, say "browser actions" or tab management. As well, because of its extra features (multiple profiles, a "research mode" that highlights flagged topics), it isn't the lean and mean app that Safari is.

Portal, iPhone [iTunes]

For more apps, check out our weekly app roundups for iPhone, iPad and Android.

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