Updated 23-Nov-2009: with current download links. Regular Wap Review commenter and tipster, JBpseudo emailed me that UCWEB has released an official English version of the free UCWEB 6.3 full-web browser for S60 V3, V2 and V1 phones . These are signed. sisx/.sis files and can be installed on unmodified, unhacked phones unlike the unofficial (and unsigned) English translation of 6.3 released a few months ago.
So what's new in 6.3? The change log in the forum post announcing the release appears to have been machine translated and is pretty rough.
1. Brand-new interface, as well as the theme of model
2. To increase the use of prompts to guide
3. New page layout, the arrow keys to switch columns more efficiently Home
4. The new night-time mode, the darkness take better care of your eyes
5. WAP pre-read the page to "move forward and backward" will remain in force after the operation
6. Download operation optimization: including download prompts, menu optimization, re-download, open the file after the download is complete operation
7. The shortcut menu to switch to increase font size
8. On the part of NOKIA E Series full-keyboard phones to increase the default keyboard shortcuts in support of the whole (covering the installation will not change the existing shortcut keys, to use the default-wide keyboard shortcuts, please do the "restore default settings")
9. Increase in information to receive pop-up switch
10. Increase the Web to accelerate the setting items, visit the Web faster Station
11. Perfect website click direct telephone dial function
12. In the page properties to increase page size information
13. Increase the monthly traffic statistics to help better control the flow of the use of
14. Text, photographs, and other layout optimization, a different screen size displayed a more reasonable
15. Optimization of the time display position, the default display time in menu bar
Main Bugs fixed:
1. Home switch appears 1-2 seconds of a blank page
2. The replacement of a theme, other window automatically refresh failure
3. Enter the URL in the prompt window when asked to download will automatically exit
4. UCWEB resolve to change the download settings, the problem can not play video.
I'm not sure I completely understand all of the above. However I immediately noticed the new look thanks to an attractive black default skin. If you don't like black, you can switch to the "classic" blue UCWEB 6.0 look or choose a pink or reverse video "night" theme. Also new is an extensive set of default bookmarks (image top, right). I wonder if selling default bookmarks is part of UCWEB's revenue model, like it is with Opera Mini?
In initial testing of the new release on my N95-3, it seems fast and stable. I'm somewhat disappointing that the rendering quality, UCWEB 6.0's weak point, doesn't seem to show much improvement. Don't get me wrong, all the sites I tried in the browser's fit-to-width "adaptive mode" where completely usable, if a bit unattractive due to uneven spacing between words and inconsistent font sizes (image above, left) . The "Zoom" or desktop mode still tends to overlap images and text with obvious consequences for readability (image above, right). I prefer fit to width view anyway as I absolutely hate horizontal scrolling so the zoom mode's faults are of little consequence to me.
Other than the rendering issues, which are cosmetic, UCWEB, has a lot going for it. Its best features are:
- Tabbed browsing - up to 10 tabs can be open at once.
- Copy and paste is fully supported including copying text from web pages.
- UCWEB can load pages with hundreds of images and render them all - Opera Mini runs out of memory and stops displaying images on pages over about 200KB.
- No limitation on the types of files that can be downloaded and saved - unlike Opera Mini which hands off.sis, .sisx, .jad and .jar files to the phone's built in browser rather than letting you save them.
Page loading is fast and the user interface is very responsive. There is a bit of a learning curve to the UI, but it actually seems fairly logical once you get the hang of it. Hint: avoid the menus by using the many one and two key shortcuts. A long press on the "#" key brings up a list of all the shortcuts (image bottom, right).
I definitely recommend UCWEB 6.3, it's a very robust and capable full web browser. It hasn't replaced Opera Mini as my primary browser but I use it a lot to open multiple sites in the background without losing my place in Mini and for downloading.
A word of caution though, UCWEB, like Opera Mini, Bolt and Skyfire, is a server based browser. All server based browsers break end-to-end HTTPS security. I do not recommend using any of them for online banking or shopping. If you are not sure what this means see Martin Sauter's Breaking HTTPS Connections in Two Parts Considered Harmful for a clear, jargon-free explanation.