If you're looking for a Windows web browser that bristles with power features, and don't mind a somewhat unattractive interface and some confusing configuration, then Maxthon 2.1 may be the browser for you.

Maxthon 2.1 has just about every feature that's built into competing browsers, and many that you won't find anywhere else - such as a "file sniffer" that makes it easy to download YouTube videos and a pop-up notepad for pasting or dragging text.

Power users will love Maxthon 2.1. Those who like sleek design will turn away.

The Maxthon 2.1 interface is quite cluttered, with a file menu, Address Bar, Favorites Bar and other toolbars, and stray icons near the top and bottom of the screen. Think of it as the anti-Google Chrome.

Maxthon 2.1 has so many features, they need to fit somewhere. And you can customise the interface, to cut down on the clutter.

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Among our favourite Maxthon 2.1 features is its handling of tabs and windows. You can create two side-by-side browser instances, each with their own tabs; create tab groups; "tear off" tabs into a separate browser instance and then recombine; and you can assign a shortcut key to any URL and visit it just by pressing one key.

Maxthon 2.1 also uses mouse gestures, so that you can navigate by moving your mouse in a certain way. There's a good tool for filling out web forms, and a built-in screen capture tool. An innovative search screen lets you do a search and then click on tabs in that screen to see the results from various search engines.

And then there's a CPU Saver mode that minimizes Maxthon 2.1's processor use, freeing up your CPU for other tasks.

There are some problems, mostly because Maxthon 2.1 uses the same Trident rendering engine as Internet Explorer. For instance: when you make a change to Maxthon's Internet Options screen, you'll also make changes to Internet Explorer.

Maxthon 2.1: Specs

  • 1.2GHz CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • 64MB free HDD space
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • Micorsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or above
  • 1.2GHz CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • 64MB free HDD space
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • Micorsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or above

OUR VERDICT

If you're a power user, you can get used to some Microsoft Internet Explorer-related eccentricities. If you're looking for the most features in a web browser, live with Maxthon 2.1 a while, and you may learn to love it.

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