Unless you’re an English-speaking citizen of China reading this particular review, you may not have heard of Baidu. But if you’re headquartered in Asia then you certainly know Baidu as a household name.
Baidu has been called by many the Chinese equivalent of Google, acting as a search engine foremost and a web services provider after that.
While Chrome and Baidu are similar in many ways, Baidu has some robust features even users of the Google’s Chrome browser will wish they had. Frankly, it’s difficult to describe Baidu Browser without comparing it to Chrome, so expect to see that app pop up quite a bit in our review.
Concept and Functionality
At its core, Baidu is a web browser, and as such it actually does this job with remarkable finesse. You’ll notice right away the app takes a very familiar and comfortable form on your screen, whether small screen or tablet. All the core functionality is there – tabbed browsing on larger screens, the hamburger menu with all your options and selections, but with many special features we’ll describe in detail below.
In our tests, we found that the browser was snappy and responsive. Baidu powers their browser through what they call the “T5 Engine” which is heavily driven by HTML5 web technologies.
In benchmarks from several rating sites, Baidu Browser keeps pace with and sometimes outpaces the Chrome browser and other popular browsers from the Play Store. You should expect no slowdown or compatibility problems which can occur with non-stock browsers.
Where Baidu Browser really shines is the feature set available right from the start.
As soon as you open the browser, you are greeted with a bright, useful new tab screen in the “speed dial” style. Quick links to the most popular websites like Facebook are baked right in and you can add and remove more quick links as you please.
If you currently use Dolphin or Firefox on your device, you’ll feel right at home.
A quick swipe from here brings you to a media recommendations page with video and photo recommendations ranging from the current viral hits to news stories you may have missed. It’s a handy feature for those who consume a lot of media on the go.
We also really enjoyed the paw print menu, a customizable shortcut menu that gives you quick toggles for your back and refresh, and easy access to common settings like a night mode for brightness adjustment.
Many of those settings can also be found in the hamburger menu as well, but it’s handy to have them at thumb’s reach. There are dozens more features and we could continue on for pages, but you’ll just need to explore to find more to love.
We’d be remiss in our review if we didn’t address that Baidu does have some censorship issues stemming from its base in the Chinese market, but the Western user shouldn’t encounter this as an issue.
The company is nevertheless a development powerhouse trying to go toe-to-toe with the big G and succeeding in many areas. Baidu Browser is a slick, feature-rich browsing alternative for your device and if you take it for a spin, you might just find yourself with a new favorite.
Baidu Browser requires Android 2.2+. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review.
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