Developer: Little Pillar
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.01

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

So wait, this app isn’t made by Valve?

No, Portal – Full Screen Browser is an interesting little web browser designed to give you the ability to browse the web without on screen distractions. The tradeoffs here are obvious; you get to view each website in glorious full screen mode, but the controls are obviously not as intuitive as the normal browser. It’s clear that a ton of effort was but into making Portal as simple as possible, but it’s really hard to beat the painfully simple on-screen controls in Safari.

The entirety of the controls in Portal are performed via this little ball in the bottom of the screen that vanishes with a shake. If you hold the ball, this frighteningly futuristic control panel wraps around it with all sorts of controls. Slide your finger up and left a bit and you are instantly in the search field. Up and right and you can type in a URL. Left a bit and you can access your tab menu. It definitely takes a bit to get used to, but with enough use it’ll become almost second nature. Almost.

What Portal lacks though, it makes up in features. Unlike Safari, Portal does a few things great, like letting you save images (not just copy them), use Air Print, search for words on a page, create different users (complete with data restrictions), and switch between search engines with a simple click. The experience that Portal offers is much more comparable to desktop browser, and many of these features have really come in handy in my daily browsing.

Even still, there’s no comparison as to which browser is easier to use. Safari throws everything that you could possibly need right out there for simple consumption, leaving nothing to wonder. As a full screen replacement Portal is nice, but it would take something truly revolutionary to get me to stop using Safari on a daily basis. If you absolutely need full screen though, or are just tired of the diminutive Safari feature-set, Portal is a very nice solution.


Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Utilities

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