It was back in January 2004 that the first version of Avant Browser, a freeware browser developed by Chinese programmer Anderson Che, was released to the public. Since then the browser grew in popularity and was downloaded tens of millions of times (more than 22.5 million times based on figures from November 2008). As of October 2011, there are two Avant Browser versions out there: Avant Browser Lite, which supports IE’s rendering engine, and Avant Browser Lite Ultimate, which supports IE’s and Firefox’s rendering engine.
If you’re going to download Avant Browser Lite, just like the millions of people mentioned above, you will not have to wait long to get the browser off the web and onto your computer. That’s because it’s a lightweight 3.5MB download that will complete in no time at all. Getting the browser up and running on your Windows-powered machine will complete in little time as well. A setup wizard will guide you through the steps you need to take. Advanced users will appreciate the “Custom” installation option that allows them to specify where the browser will be installed and what shortcuts they want to be created.
Once Avant Browser Lite is up and running, it is just as good as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer – it is based on IE after all and supports its rendering engine. You can rapidly browse to any site you want, you can open multiple tabs, you can bookmark sites, you can start a private browsing session, you can do just about everything you can in IE. I say just about because I couldn’t pin sites to the Windows 7 taskbar with Avant Browser Lite; that’s something you can do with IE9.
But I will not hold that against Avant Browser Lite, not for a long shot. What I like about it is that it has some aces up its sleeve that make it better than IE. I’ve never been a big fan of IE, but I am a fan of Avant Browser Lite. The extra features got to me. One such extra feature is “Split view”. It will split the browser in two; you can open one website in the left hand window and another in the right. Another thing I like is the fact that you can minimize the browser to the system tray. Yet, another feature I like is that Avant Browser Lite comes with a selection of skins you can use to customize its looks. There’s an Avant Browser Skins Maker you can download and come up with personalized skins.
Avant Browser Lite is also a screen capture tool. You can capture the entire screen, the current page, or a selected region and save it as an image.
Ads can prove to be annoying and the development team behind Avant Browser Lite seems to be aware of this fact. That is why the browser comes with an Ad Blocker feature. When Ad Blocker is enabled, content that matches a list of rules is blocked by Avant Browser Lite.
Mozilla and Chrome want to provide a synced experience across devices. That is why Mozilla included Firefox Sync in its browser; it will sync your bookmarks, passwords, and so on, across devices. If you bookmark a site on your laptop, it will show up on your desktop computer as well. Google does the same with its Chrome browser; just sign into your account and Chrome will sync your settings, bookmarks, etc.
Avant Browser Lite is just as good as Chrome and Firefox as far as syncing functionality is concerned. You can create a profile and your configurations, bookmarks, passwords, and RSS feeds will be saved online; you’ll have access to them from anywhere. Speaking about RSS feeds, you can follow them within Avant Browser Lite. I tried it with FindMySoft’s news feed and it worked just fine. This is the sort of functionality that could get me to forget about Google Reader.
The bottom line is that Avant Browser Lite is a properly good, powerful, and customizable browser that puts a smile on my face. It is a serious contender to the other, more popular browsers out there.
There are two installation options, Standard and Custom. The browser’s interface is easy to understand. It comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a web browser, plus some extra features and customization options that you are going to enjoy. A built-in ad blocker keeps annoying ads at bay, a built-in download accelerator steps on the throttle when you download data from the web, a built-in RSS reader helps you stay on top of your favorite sites. All of Avant Browser Lite’s functionality is free.
The fact that it’s built on IE’s rendering engine may put some people off. But if that is the case, just get Avant Browser Ultimate.
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Avant Browser Awards
Avant Browser Editor’s Review Rating
Avant Browser has been reviewed by George Norman on 31 Jan 2012. Based on the user interface, features and complexity, Findmysoft has rated Avant Browser 5 out of 5 stars, naming it Essential