China-based Maxthon, makers of web browsers for numerous platforms, is now venturing into new territory: the Mac. The brand-new Maxthon for Mac has just been launched, and is based on the Google-run open-source Chromium project that also forms the basis of Chrome browser.
That means, from day one, Maxthon for Mac supports all of the tens of thousands of useful Chrome extensions that have already been made. Maxthon has set up its own extensions portal (see it here) that currently only features six. But you can head to the Chrome store and download stuff directly from there instead:
Unlike with the rather awkward feel of the QQBrowser for Mac (actually the first Chinese-made browser to hit OS X), being based on Chromium makes Maxthon for Mac feel very familiar – and speedy. It’s a thoroughly modern browser too; it passes the Acid3 test web compatibility test with full marks, and its HTML5 ability gets a score of 385 – beating the 346 I see on my newest Firefox 15 beta.
Maxthon’s Karl Mattson, chief of product development at its San Francisco office, told the SF Examiner this week that Maxthon now has 130 million users worldwide across Windows, Android, and all its other platforms. Taking a veiled dig at Google, he told the paper:
Users will often literally tell us they don’t want a single company providing and maintaining their web mail, search and web browser.
That is indeed one reason to use Maxthon over Chrome. And to keep cross-platform users happy and in sync, there’s also support for the Maxthon Passport via the smiley-face blue square that’ll be familiar to its fans.
But in some areas Maxthon for Mac lacks the attention to detail that most Mac users would expect. A prime example is the way that the makers failed to use an icon that is at least 512-pixels square, so as to show clearly in “cover flow” view. The result is that it looks pixellated:
Another gripe is that Maxthon hasn’t bothered to revamp (as it could, in an open source project) the very awkward downloads process in the browser, which is reminiscent of much earlier versions of Chrome when the browser window elongates slightly to give you the “Discard” or “Save” options. My main issue during my short test was that Maxthon for Mac was a memory hog. A check in my Mac’s Activity Monitor showed that a process called “Maxthon Worker” (separate from the main Maxthon process) quickly grabbed 100+ MB of my RAM, and was sometimes running a quarter of my CPU as well. And that was with just two or three tabs open as I was taking the screenshots you see here. You might have better luck with it.
Maxthon for Mac is a 40MB download from its new homepage, and is 120MB once installed. It requires OS X 10.6 or later. It’s not yet in the Mac App Store. Here are a couple more shots of it in action: