UC Browser Version 7 Beta 2 Is Much Improved - But Popular Sites Are Blocked By The "Great Firewall"

UCWEB 7.0 Beta 2 - CNN UCWEB 7.0 Beta 2 - Google Reader Desktop Version

There is a major new release of  the UCWEB browser in the works.  It's Version 7.0 and is already in its second Beta.  The official Beta releases are Chinese only but several users have created English translations and posted them to the UCWEB User Forum.

No one seems to have translated the Symbian S60 3rd edition variant of  7.0 Beta 2 yet, so I'm running a Java ME version on my N95, UC Browser 7 Beta 2 Java Script Improvement by Manojr Tiwari "mannuforall" and I'm generally quite pleased with it.  Rendering (always UCWEB's weakest point) seems generally improved and there are new fonts with bold support. But the biggest change is that for the first time a UCWEB Java version properly wraps English text (image below, right) rather than splitting words across two lines as 6.3 does (image below, left).  You can't believe how much that annoyed me.

UCWEB 6.3 - Word Wrap Broken UCWEB 7.0 Beta 2 - Word Wrap Works!

I'm hopping that the fact that UCWEB created new Latin fonts set and fixed the word wrap issue, which never effected Chinese rendering, means that we will finally see a new official English version.  The latest official English release is 6.3, which is getting to look pretty dated with it's word-wrap issue and lack of features introduced in versions 6.5, 6.7 and 7.0.

A new English release is really needed  because the 7.0 clients don't seem to work properly with UCWEB 6.3's US based English server farm.  While you can download an unofficial translation of  the UCWEB 7 Beta 2 which uses the 6.3 English server, when using it I get nothing but  a blank page with the majority of URLs I've tried.  It seems that 7.0 only works correctly with a 7.0 server and the only 7.0 servers currently available are in China.  Speed isn't a problem with the Chinese servers, however the fact that they are behind the infamous "Great Firewall of China" is. Access to many popular sites including Bloglines, Facebook, Blogger sites, Twitter.com and the all the third party Twitter front ends I tried seems to be blocked.  At least I think that's what happening as when I try to visit any of those sites I end up on some sort of Chinese language error page.

UCWEB 7.0 Beta 2.0's JavaScript support seems to have  been improved.  Sites that use complex AJAX, like Orkut and the desktop version of Google Reader, generally don't function properly  in UCWEB 6.3, or in Opera Mini 4.2 and 5.0, for that matter.  With 7.0 Beta 2, Google Reader  (image top, right) works as expected as does the desktop version of Orkut.

However, until the US servers are updated to support 7.0, which probably won't happen until there is an official English 7.0 release, the utility of UCWEB 7.0 for me is limited because two of my favorite sites, Twitter and Bloglines are blocked.  Which is a shame because UCWEB7.0  is otherwise a great browser, it's fast, does a great job with file uploads and downloads, supports tabbed browsing and has the ability to copy and paste page content, URLs and selected text both between pages within the browser and to other applications using the system clipboard.  My favorite UCWEB feature though is that it reformats all pages to fit screen width so that horizontal scrolling is never required.

The Great Firewall does let lots of sites through including Orkut, Googe Reader, My Opera, the BBC, CNN and ESPN, so depending on which site you frequent, the firewall may or may not be an issue for you.

This is also the first UCWEB unofficial English translation that doesn't send "ch-zn" in the accept-language  HTTP header.  That caused lots of sites to deliver their Chinese versions with no easy way to get to the English one. With mannuforall's 7.0 Beta 2 I get English pages for most of the  sites where I used to get Chinese.  The exception is with most of Google's products which seem to be looking at the request's IP address rather than the language header and still deliver Chinese content.

You can download UC Web 7.0 for Java ME phones from the UC Web Forum (registration and a least one post required) or  from Manojr's blog or by using these direct download links. .JAR, .JAD

Related Posts:
Speed Test – Opera Mini, Bolt, Skyfire and UCWEB
New UCWEB 6.6 Beta
UCWEB 6.5 English Beta
UCWEB 6.3 Official Signed English Version Released for S60
Official Release of UCWEB 6.3 For Java ME

11 thoughts on “UC Browser Version 7 Beta 2 Is Much Improved - But Popular Sites Are Blocked By The "Great Firewall"

  1. Cool article :)
    But the version you talk here is outdated by now.
    Leaked versions for both java and S60v3 has come out.

    The leaked java version supports zoom mode, which was much awaited, I'd say. But it ain't upto the mark though. But the rendering has been improved a lot. This version has been translated by Yakisara.

    The leaked symbian version is reportedly supports flash. But I couldn't manage to play a single flash video. Nevertheless, I was able to download and play flash games inside the browser itself. The link to flash games is available at the bottom. Akushah said he has translated it and will give me a link.

    Until then, here is the link to download the Java Leaked version.

  2. I was waiting for your review, and finally its here and very nice description.
    Specially for this java script test ver.
    Also I like to inform that the old official 6.3 ver got some updates and moved to new server. You can try it at http://wap.uc.cn and go for english ver at bottom. Now its available seperat for USA, India, Indonesia and Russia.
    The recommended links updated as on location.
    I hope the UC 7 will available officialy in English.
  3. Nice article. I do enjoy it when you write articles regarding mobile browsers. Especially when it's UCWEB.

    Just to let you know, there is a translated s60 english version of UCWEB 7 beta 2. Though it's not available in the UCWEB forums but elsewhere.

    I think the biggest improvement in the new versions of UCWEB compared to the standard v6.3 is the added option for local caching. Instead of loading all page cache into the phone's RAM, it loads and stores everything in the memory card. It makes a huge difference in RAM usage. A site with dozens of images would take about 10-15mb of RAM when loaded in v6.3. Now it takes less than 5mb when loaded in v7.0. Huge difference.

    That being said. I still prefer the official v6.3 version. It's still much more quicker, usable, and has none of the china's blocking with the translated version. English server patches tend to be a hit or miss as well.

    Though one pet peeve I have with UCWEB that still hasn't been resolved in the latest builds is the lack of paragraph spacing in adaptive mode. It can get really annoying, at times, depending on the article you read in the browser.

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