First look at dual-engine web browser Polarity
Polarity is a dual-engine web browser that is powered by Chromium and the Internet Explorer Trident engine.
The browser, available for all versions of the Windows operating system starting with Windows XP and Android, ships with an impressive set of features of which several are usually only available as browser extensions.
Note: Polarity requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 or 4.5 on Windows depending on the version of Windows installed on the machine.
Polarity first look
When you start Polarity for the first time after installation a first-run guide is opened which you use to modify important preferences.
You may use the wizard to set a homepage, import bookmarks, set a tab limit, configure popup blocking, set up shortcuts and switch automatic update checks on or off.
The main interface is minimal featuring a tab row at the very top, below that the main toolbar and below that the bookmarks bar which you can hide if you have no need for it.
You will notice that the browser uses interface elements from Chromium, Internet Explorer and the Firefox web browser.
If you open the menu for instance, you may notice the resemblance of it with Firefox’s menu, while the tab bar looks like that of Internet Explorer / Edge.
The menu offers links to often used settings, to open a tab using Internet Explorer’s Trident engine, and other options such as opening the store to install apps or userscripts, Developer options, or one of the integrated tools.
You cannot customize it however like the Firefox menu as there is no such option available.
As far as built-in tools and features are concerned, there are a few like the password manager PolarPass or the synchronization tool PolarSync that are standard in every browser.
Others are not that common: PolarShot to create a custom screenshot of an area on the screen by drawing a rectangle, Reader Mode to improve the readability of web pages, or the YouTube pop-out option to play YouTube videos in a small overlay on the screen while working on other pages in the same browser window.
Polarity users, or those interested in the browser, may find other features of the browser useful as well.
It ships with a built-in adblocker, powered by Privoxy and available as a lite and full version, voice commands, a powerful control center to manage tabs, commands and settings (like that of Vivaldi), Feedly integration, and more.
To use voice, click on the microphone icon to activate the speech system and use command such as “go back”, “go forward” or “refresh instance” afterwards.
The browser’s settings provide useful features and customization options. It ships with more than two dozen search engines by default for instance (Startpage is missing), and an option to add a custom search engine to the mix.
You find easily accessible options to change the main download folder and other important preferences, detailed default theme customization options (element colors, background image, and more), and an under the hood section for advanced options such as turning on features such as Tab sleeping, WebRTC, Flash for YouTube or a user agent changer.
The browser has been optimized for low-battery use and low-memory use, and it shows when you open the Windows Task Manager as it uses little memory when it is running.
Polarity ships with two browser engines that you can switch between. It uses Chromium by default but lets you switch to Internet Explorer’s Trident whenever the need arises.
Since it uses Chromium, it benefits from the browser’s speed and web compatibility just like Google Chrome does.
The browser ships with a boatload of settings and built-in features that many users will find useful: from ad-blocking and the YouTube pop-out tool over extensive settings to default theme modifications that no other browser offers in this form.
There is a lot to explore in the preferences alone. Polarity supports Google and Bing when it comes to translations (which you can switch between), a night mode, or mouse gestures among other features.
You may discover useful features while you are using the browser. A right-click on any web page displays a context menu with an option to display all images linked on it for instance improving image browsing and saving.
Some flags and options let you enable or disable features like WebRTC that other browser’s don’t support, or only after you install browser extensions to add support for these features.
Polarity supports themes, apps and extensions, but not those of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. While that makes no difference for userscripts, it limits the extensibility of the browser due to a lack of options when it comes to browser extensions. If the developer would manage to integrate the Chromium extension engine, it would surely improve the appeal of the browser significantly.
A couple of options are missing. There does not seem to be a preference to block third-party cookies for instance. While you can configure Polarity to delete cookies on exit, access to a whitelist and an option to block third-party cookies would be handy.
Another issue is that the browser is only available in English and Spanish. This covers a large part of the world population but is a far cry from supporting dozens of languages which browser such as Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer do.
Polarity is a surprisingly versatile browser that works well out of the box. While it lacks some essential features, it supports others that are not integrated by default into most modern browsers.
The preferences that it offers and the built-in tools it ships with ensure that users don’t really need that many extensions that they would need when using other browsers.
The browser itself is fast and thanks to its rendering engines highly supportive of new Web technologies and features.
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