At a Glance
As an alternative to Internet Explorer we’d find Avant Browser difficult to recommend over the original.
Avant Browser is an independent Internet Explorer clone with some good ideas, but also some issues. Read our Avant Browser
web browser review. (Also see:
All software reviews.)
Outside the big hitters in the browser space (Chrome, IE, Firefox and Opera), there is a surprising number of smaller, independent offerings that cater to more specific tastes. Avant is one such creation, which boasts a few innovative technologies under the hood.
Typically a browser will use a specific rendering engine to display web pages. Chrome and Opera use Blink (a Google fork of Webkit), Firefox has Gecko, while Internet Explorer, at least until Spartan arrives, employs Trident. Avant is unique in that it offers all three.
The idea behind this rather nifty coding feat is that you can avoid issues with sites performing badly on any given engine by simply swapping to another. In principle this is fine, but browsers have now matured to a very stable state, and as such can usually cope with most things the internet throws at them. Sure, you’ll always find a few that are optimised for Internet Explorer 6 (thanks governments of the world), but these are disappearing at a steady rate. Never-the-less, Avant does give you the ability to overcome these difficulties, although we’d probably just have IE installed and ready to launch rather than fiddle with the rendering engine options here. (Also see:
How to delete cookies and browsing history.)
The reason for this is that Avant is not that much fun to use. While it’s a capable browser in its own right, it feels heavily dated, both in the user interface and extended functions you find on modern alternatives.
Launch Avant and you’ll see a simple address/search bar and accompanying separate search box design, with tabs displayed above. To the left of the search bar though are a series of cartoonish icons which feel jumbled and from another era style-wise. To find the menu options you click on a grid of dots in the top right corner, which drops a crowded, icon heavy tray. From here you can launch private browsing, organise the layout of your windows, access Google translate, and set up a few features. It’s perfectly fine, but certainly lacks a sense of polish.
One feature that’s initially interesting is the built-in ad-blocker, but in use it kept popping up a box reporting the things it had blocked (which was more intrusive than the ads themselves) and actually, it was pretty poor at cleaning up any pages we visited, with most banner and framing ads still being displayed. There were also issues with pages not loading, and the odd freeze, which was disappointing as Avant highlights the browsers memory management capabilities.
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