It’s been almost seven months since Dolphin released version 4.0 of its Dolphin Browser HD, an alternate web browser for Android users. Version 5.0 has been in the works recently, and the company announced a week ago that it would be starting a private beta for users to run it through the ringer of real-world tests. As of today, the company has lifted the restrictions off the test, opening the beta to the public and giving many of us our first look at Dolphin Browser HD 5.0 Beta1.
If you were a 4.0 user, the first thing you should notice is the UI refresh. Colors are more muted, with decreased contrast; Dolphin calls the changes “elegant and more modern”. There are still some flourishes like a menu underglow, but without detracting from the new, clean look. Bookmarks should now be easier to access, and there’s support for nesting them in folders. Jumping between sites should be a bit easier to manage, thanks to new tab controls that let you undo accidentally-closed tabs.
Progress is not without its price, as this release is admittedly unstable and buggy. It’s supposedly better than the build for the private beta, but you should still expect to see a few crashes. On the plus side, the browser claims to be faster than ever, so this could end up quite promising once the bugs are ironed out. If you want to give the beta a try, the APK is available for download straight from the Dolphin Browser website.