While there are many different browsers to choose from in the iOS App Store, when it comes down to actual performance, they are all the same. Because of how Apple restricts 3rd party apps, the super fast code that powers Safari is off limits to 3rd party developers. To make up for the speed crutch, developers resort to custom designs and features to make their browsers stand out from the rest. A couple big names you might recognize: Dolphin, Chrome and Atomic. Time to add a new browser to the list: Crux.
Developed by 16-year old Maximilian Litteral (developer behind LauncherApp), Crux is the result of 4 months worth of hard work and dedication. The goal, according to Maximilian, was not only to make a fast, lightweight and feature packed browser but to also make an app that can handle many different types of files.
In its current 1.0 form, Crux is simple a fast, clean iOS browser. It features a unified URL/search bar up top and basic navigation/controls along the bottom. The only real customization to speak of for now includes setting your own custom home page and choosing between the default silver or alternate dark themes.
It really is a great 1.0. In the week or so we’ve been using it we’ve had zero issues with Crux. While we do notice that many heavier web pages load quicker on Safari, this is again no fault of Crux. It’s a limit imposed by Apple (and one that they’ll hopefully remove in future versions of iOS).
Buying into Crux app now while it’s simple and straight forward will set you up for a very active update schedule for the months ahead. Touching on what we said above, Maximilian plans on building in robust file download/opening support directly into Crux as well as interoperability with other apps such as Dropbox, Cloud.app, iCloud and other sharing services/options. More unique, however, is the multi-search engine feature that can be set per-tab. Real-world scenarios where one would want different search engines easily set per tab instead of having to jump deep into settings is probably quite low. But the uniqueness of it and the small attention to detail is refreshing to say the least.
One small omission from Crux 1.0 you might notice that will be coming in a later version – a loading bar. It’s not really a big deal all things considered. But when loading web pages it is super handy to have that visual indicator of how far along a page is in loading, or if something isn’t appearing, seeing if the page is still loading of it is a rendering issue.
Crux is still roughly 4 days into the seemingly infinite Apple approval process. But once it does officially get the green light and is posted to the App Store, look for Crux to start at $0.99 for the first week of release and move to its regular price of $2.99 thereafter. Similarly, the HD version will start at the same $0.99 and move to $3.99 after the first week of availability, too.
While we have a long history of using Google services, we’ve refrained from jumping on the Chrome for iOS bandwagon. Even considering the syncing of your Google Chrome information between the desktop and phone, we still use Mobile Safari for its combination of appearance, speed and native status. While Crux won’t get close to the native feel of Mobile Safari anytime soon, the simple UI and promise of many awesome features is enough to keep it on our phone. Crux is an app to keep an eye on once it launches for sure.
Update: Crux is now out!