Javelin outclasses Chrome with one-handed gestures, ad blocking, built-in VPN

Javelin app

Right now, if you aren’t using your Android phone’s built-in Web browser, then you’re probably using Chrome, but there are a number of popular browser alternatives out there, and one of our new favorites is Javelin. It’s one of the first browsers built around the idea that we’re using it on a mobile phone, not a desktop.

Javelin packs a slew of features you rarely see on mobile browsers, especially Chrome and the Android browser. These features include one-handed gestures, a special viewing mode, a built-in VPN, its own incognito mode (Chrome does have this), and even an ad-blocker. This all revolves around a very straightforward, simple UI featuring a bit of Holo-style color and flair.

Javelin packs a slew of features you rarely see on mobile browsers.

According to Javelin’s developer Steven Goh, the idea for Javelin began with building extensions for desktop browsers like Chrome to get around things like porn filters in the UK. He wanted to design a mobile browser based off of an older, super-fast browser called Lightning Browser that could offer that same functionality too, plus a few other added features. The VPN is offered as a “Spirit Mode” on the browser, allowing one-click access to a direct VPN that will help secure your Internet access so you can get around things like blocked webpages. Spirit Mode comes at a price though – about $2 a month. Javelin does come with a one-month free trial though.

Experiencing the Web on Javelin is pretty much as you’d expect on a speed-oriented browser like Chrome. Pages render quickly and the interface is responsive and easy to use. Javelin comes with some gesture options too, such as swiping to switch between tabs. It’s designed so you can do anything you normally could on a browser with just one touch, whether it be going back, entering a URL and even zooming in. Javelin also includes its own “Incognito” or private mode so you can browse without logging a search history or accepting cookies.

Another feature we like about Javelin is called reading mode, which extracts the text from a webpage and presents it in an easy-to-read format with no images or fluff in between you and the content. You can access reading mode by clicking on a small picture of an eye in the browser, and it’s possible to adjust text size and invert the colors depending on the time of day. It’s not perfect with every page because it doesn’t know when an article ends and other content (like comments) begin, but we are impressed by how much easier it is to read news and webpages with a built-in reading mode.

Javelin isn’t perfect, though. One major flaw is that the address bar won’t expand when looking at URLs in greater detail, making it hard to type things in and see your Web address. There’s also no suggested search option, which would offer a drop-down of possible search results as you type in your query. While this isn’t necessary, we’ve gotten used to it on browsers and it can be helpful since you don’t have to type everything out when searching for something. The lack of a help page that explains all the features and gestures is also something we wish was there. If you’re a heavy user of Chrome, you’ll also have to remember there’s no syncing with Javelin, meaning you can’t share bookmarks, webpages, or other content between your desktop and phone.

Javelin also recommends you use its built-in ad-blocker, which helps speed up load times. While downloading an ad blocker is already possible from the Play Store, Javelin gives you single click access when you first open the browser. While this does improve the end-user’s experience, many websites (including Digital Trends) depend on ad revenue to support themselves. Goh defends his inclusion of an ad-blocker, saying that the quality of advertising on mobile is poor and non-intrusive ads like Google Search ads are not blocked.

So, it’s not perfect, but Javelin offers a slew of features built around a slick looking interface. If you’re bored of Chrome, want a VPN built right into your browser, or just want to try something new when browsing the Web, Javelin is a download away.

Home Theater

Phiaton’s active lifestyle headphones do noise canceling on a budget

Looking for a set of active noise-canceling earbuds that can keep up with your active lifestyle, without breaking the bank? Phiaton's new Curve BT 120 NC could be just the ticket.

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save more time!

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.

You don't want to sleep on these red-hot bedding deals

We've rounded up some of the best discounts and sales happening right now, so you can buy yourself (or your loved ones) new bedding without breaking your budget. Trust us when we say these are deals worth losing sleep over.

This mystery Asus tablet may offer 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage

Asus may be prepping a new device -- an Asus-branded tablet has showed up on GFXBench with some very interesting specs. For example, a 2.1GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a cool 64GB of storage.
Movies & TV

Watch Netflix on your phone? You could soon get content made just for that format

Netflix is considering making a special version of its shows just for the mobile generation. Neil Hunt, Netflix chief product officer, said the company might be exploring "mobile-specific cuts of its original movies and TV shows,"

YouTube may be letting anyone live-stream straight from their phone

It seems as though YouTube is opening up live-streaming to a much wider range of people, according to recent reports. A number of users with less than 10,000 subscribers are reporting being able to live-stream through YouTube.

Windows 10 Cloud is on the way – but what is it, exactly?

Rumors abound that Microsoft is planning to release a new version of Windows 10 for low cost systems. Check out the latest Windows 10 Cloud rumors, leaks, and updates to see just what Cloud offers, and what devices it will be on.

LeEco reportedly sells its Silicon Valley HQ less than a year after buying it

It's no secret that LeEco is struggling to make waves in the U.S., but the results have so far been somewhat under wraps. According to reports, the company recently sold its Silicon Valley headquarters less than a year after buying it.

This photo app uses VR to help you plan your shots — and it’s now cross-platform

Need to know just where the Milky Way will be in the sky, to scout a location or calculate depth of field? PhotoPills, previously available on iOS, is now on Android.

What’s more stressful, losing a smartphone or a terrorist threat? You may be surprised

Priorities: we may not have them totally in order. As per a recent report from the London-based Physiological Society, the stresses of today are not only completely unimaginable to those from previous generations, but may also seem petty.

5 songs you need to stream this week: Frank Ocean, The Shins, and more

Not sure what new music to listen to? We'll let you know what new tracks and albums dropping this week are worthy of your attention. Up this week: Frank Ocean, The Shins, and more.

You now have up to a year to add AppleCare+ to your iPhone, so go insure yourself

According to a new report from MacRumors, customers that purchase a new Apple smartphone now have up to a year to add on AppleCare+ to their delicate devices. So if you doubt your ability to protect your phone, this may be the time to act.

The 5 best cases to keep your Galaxy A5 (2017) looking good

Samsung's Galaxy A5 might be water-resistant, but the smartphone's glass-and-aluminum body is still easy to damage. Fortunately, these cases and covers can help you better protect your new purchase.