Is Chrome for Android really all that?
I have a Galaxy Nexus, and tend to use the stock ICS browser over Chrome, although I do have both installed. I'm a little disappointed to learn the Nexus 7's default browser will be Chrome, as I still think I would prefer to use the stock one. As I see it, the ICS browser has the following benefits over Chrome:
- Look and feel - it's just more in keeping with the rest of ICS. I have to say I really don't like the "chrome" (ie. grey) in Chrome - just too reminiscent of a boring old desktop. Don't get me wrong, I love chrome on the desktop, but on my phone I much prefer the clean black stylings with blue highlights used by stock. It feels much more "holo" to me.
- Status bar hiding - although it took a little while to get used to, I really appreciate the status bar getting out of the way in the stock browser. On a phone, even a Galaxy nexus, screen space is at a premium when browsing, so for chrome to keep the omnibox on screen at all times is a bit of a pain. It is most annoying in landscape, particularly if you're trying to play video content on a web page as you can't really fill the screen.
- Inverted rendering - this is a nice feature of the stock browser that I like to use if I'm browsing at night. It saves battery and eye-strain.
- Tab management - ok, not really, Chrome is great at this. But ICS is fine too. You don't get quite such a large visual preview of tab content, but you usually get enough and again it is more in keeping with the rest of the OS (looking a lot like the multi-tasking list).
As an aside, I think it might actually be good to integrate browser tabs into the main Android multitasking menu, rather than (or in addition to) having a separate list for tabs. What do you think? For a couple of months after I first got the phone I found myself hitting the multitasking softkey when I should have hit the tabs key at the top of the browser. I'm not sure my brain instinctively distinguishes between different web content and different apps. Should recently viewed content in The Guardian app really be treated differently from recently viewed content on The Verge's website?
Anyway, back to chrome. The one big selling point seems to be tab syncing, something I use vary rarely indeed. I do tend to find chrome-to-phone useful for when I'm leaving my computer and want to take a webpage with me. But in general if I want to go to find a page I recently viewed on another device, googling it is so quick it often seems better than looking it up in my chrome history.
Does anyone else find themselves using the stock browser most of the time? Or am I just backward?