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Print 17 comment(s) - last by Myrandex.. on Apr 30 at 5:11 PM

Weak point of an otherwise strong phone is definitely the browser

I received my Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1VLumia 900 LTE over the weekend, after initially being informed it was sold out and on back order.  That message appears to have been a mere glitch in AT&T Inc.'s (T) systems.

First let me start by saying that I love my new phone -- it has thus far been a much superior experience to Gingerbread.  I will post my in-depth review shortly, but first I would like to highlight that Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), and co. have some potential issues to address.
 
I've been busy playing around with the phone over the last few days.  While I did not encounter the dreaded connectivity glitch, but I have been frustrated by the poor quality of the stock browser and some apparent bugs in it, not found in other mobile browsers.

Compared to mobile Safari and mobile Chrome, I would describe the mobile version of Internet Explorer as fast and usable, but difficult.  Admittedly, part of the problem is the learning curve.  After dealing with an icon list to bookmark in mobile Chrome, using the text "Add Favorite", which is a part of a slightly longer list in mobile IE felt more challenging.

More troublingly, the browser seems to be struggling to properly render fonts at their expected sizes on some webpages, including our articles (though the homepage appears to render properly).  While our code clearly defines the font size and the span size for articles, Windows Phone appears to be keeping the font size in pixels, even if the full span size is shrunk via the zoom level.

This seems a clear issue isolated to the mobile Internet Explorer browser.  Text that does not contain pixel size code in their HTML tags appears to be handled correctly and displayed at a reasonable size.

Text rendering bug Text rendering bug
(Highlights added for emphasis. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC])
 
The net result is that some items on webpages look huge, when they look small on other mobile browser or on desktop browser (including desktop Internet Explorer 9).

The browser also, auto jumps to the top of the page on some webpages on some websites and scrolling can be jerky.  Both issues interfere with navigating websites.  These issues are not encountered in the mobile versions of Safari, Chrome, Opera, or Firefox.

Yet another ubiquitous issue is that I find that text entered into various Javascript-driven authentication dialogues (text boxes) is not saved -- nor is there an option to save -- forcing you to laboriously type them (username/password/etc.) by hand each time.  Documentation led me to believe it should be saving these kinds of information, but simply isn't.

The "Incognito Browser" does not have the jumping/scrolling bug, plays video, and protects your privacy.  Thus I recommend it as a temporary replacement for Microsoft's fast but very buggy/poor mobile Internet Explorer browser.  Sadly, though, even this option is perfect as the Incognito Browser appears to use the stock rendering engine from IE and still goofs on the text.

Incognito Browser

I am reaching out to representatives at Microsoft and Nokia with regards to these issues.


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RE: The browser is just fine
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/13/2012 10:07:59 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I've used the Lumia 900 on many websites and it works fine in all the sites I visited. No problem with any font resizing. Of course there are tons of tricks a website can do with fonts and while it may work with some browsers others may not take care of it the same way. The site you tested could be something that uses non standard way of using fonts. All browsers have some or other limitations but there is no reason to panic over the IE on the WP7 since people have been using WP7 for browsing for a long time now and nobody else have complained about this font problem.
You can pretend the problem doesn't exist, but it does. Sherdog.com and Zimbra are two other large sites/services that are much less compatible with WP7 IE than Android Chrome.

Again, I just care about things working.

IE mobile -- not working so hot for me. Feel free to disagree.


RE: The browser is just fine
By nordicpc on 4/13/2012 11:02:23 AM , Rating: 2
Are you using the desktop mode? This just hasn't been my experience, nor has it been the experience of many others.


RE: The browser is just fine
By nordicpc on 4/13/2012 6:22:28 PM , Rating: 2
I also was very interested about Zimbra being broken, so I played around on the demo site. I did find the AJAX version was jumping back up to the top corner as it refreshed (as you described), but their HTML version was rendered very well, faster, and just as functional and pretty. And I feel that with other browsers, the HTML version would be a better fit for a mobile device anyways, as AJAX tends to be stressful on the client side.

Anything else you can point us to?


RE: The browser is just fine
By Flunk on 4/18/2012 11:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
I have an HTC HD7 and I've noticed a few text rendering glitches on some web pages due to the text flow algorithm mis-sizing some elements. It may not be up to the quality of the iPhone but it's perfectly readable and usable.

Internet Explorer Mobile 9.0 still needs a bit of work, but at least it beats the 7.5 version the first gen phones shipped with. That thing was slow as molasses in addition to doing a worse job rendering web pages.

It's pretty obvious that they did not spend as much time working on the browser as they should. I'm hoping they work it out for Windows Phone 8, but if they don't there is always Android, right?

Ars Technica actually mentioned this in their review of the Lumia 900 so this isn't exactly a scoop.


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