Better, faster and more intuitive, Internet Explorer is poised to become the chief Windows 8 app for innovation and intuitive controls. It is not an overstatement to say that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) has improved the experience of surfing the Web on a touch device. Using a multitude of touch screen laptops and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) Ultrabooks from Samsung, Sony (NYSE: SNE ) and Asus, Benzinga took the new custom app for a spin and walked away very impressed.
Internet Explorer takes a few cues from its tablet and smartphone predecessors by including the usual crop of pinch and zoom features. Users can touch and drag to scroll up or down, as expected.
Opening New Tabs
Instead of placing tabs up top, Internet Explorer hides them in a window above the browser. The window remains out of sight until a user scrolls downward from the top of the screen. By doing so, the window will drop down, revealing all of the user's tabs. This window also provides users with the option to open new tabs.
On paper, this may sound like a small change. But it is actually an important step in improving the browser experience. By keeping tabs off screen until they are needed, the user has access to a greater degree of Web real estate.
Jumping Across Pages
On Windows 7 machine, users click the left and right arrows to move between pages. On an iPad, they touch the arrows. Mac users can scroll through them by swiping with three fingers, but the page will have to load every single time.
In Windows 8, this finally changes. When a page is loaded, users can instantly go back to it by swiping -- with only one finger -- to the right. To move back, users may simply swipe to the left.
As the user's finger begins to drag, the previous page begins to slide onto the screen. After completing the swipe, that page is right there and is instantly accessible. Links can be clicked and text can be read without any breaks in between.
This is -- without question -- the single coolest feature in the Internet Explorer app. It makes surfing the Web a smooth and seamless experience, just as it should be on a touch screen device.
Old-School Surfing Still Available
While the new Windows 8 User Interface is receiving a tremendous amount of attention, the OS also includes a standard desktop mode that allows users to run an old-fashioned version of Internet Explorer. This should help ensure that every user is satisfied, regardless of the Web surfing experience they desire.
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