App Reviews

Arc Browser Review: A neat new way of browsing the web

The Arc Browser in Windows
The Arc Browser in Windows 11.

In this article...

The Browser Company has created a new, modern, minimal, and neat web browser called Arc. Here's everything you need to know, how it performs, the features it has, and how it focuses on making the web less chaotic.

I’m always up for some fresh ideas when it comes to browsing the Internet. As a tech nerd, I love trying new web browsers from companies that are focused on changing the way we use our devices, and Arc Browser is a nice addition to my addiction.

When I heard that Arc Browser released a stable version for Windows, I immediately headed to their official website and downloaded it. And boy oh boy, speechless have I left, a simple word to describe this little beautiful monster. But do we need another web browser on our devices? Maybe.

What is Arc Browser?

The TechWise Insider Website in Arc Browser
The TechWise Insider Website in Arc Browser.

Well, put simply, Arc is a new web browser that is based on Chromium and has been developed by The Browser Company (cool name for a browser company, I’ll give them that). Founded by Josh Miller and Hursh Agrawal, it’s here to bring order to the online chaos that exists in our everyday lives. It’s simple, modern, fast, and as minimal as it goes. It’s also different, but in a good way.

While still in its early stages, Arc comes with the most important features, including support for multiple profiles, synchronization, importing your bookmarks from other web browsers, and slip tab view, which is pretty useful if you’re using an ultrawide screen as I am. It’s also the browser that has “Spaces“, but I’ll come to it soon, and “Archives“, in case you accidentally delete anything.

Instead of a standard address bar at the top of your browser’s window and bookmarks just below, the Arc browser uses a different style, where there’s a sidebar at the left side of the window. In Windows 11, where I am testing the app, it has two theme options in its Settings page; Mica (default) and Acrylic, with the first having a solid kind of style and the latter more transparency.

Arc Browser in Light Mode
Arc Browser in Light Mode in Windows 11.

Both themes take the colours that you’ve set up in Windows, and they support both dark and light modes.

Arc Browser in Dark Mode
Arc Browser in Dark Mode in Windows 11.

It fits great with Microsoft’s operating system, so let me just say that your eyes will feel pretty comfortable looking at it – which ironically is important as browsers are the most-used apps for most people.

The browser is currently available on macOS, iOS, and Windows, and you can download it for free from the website.

Migrating to Arc Browser

Downloading and installing the Arc browser is as easy as it gets, and the installation only takes a few seconds to complete. Arc will ask you if you want to import your bookmarks from another browser, and this is where things get real; It was even capable of recognising the multiple accounts that I had on my Vivaldi Browser, enabling me to choose from which account I wanted to import my bookmarks, history, saved passwords, cookies, and other information.

If you skipped the step or want to import bookmarks from another browser, click on the Arc’s logo at the top left corner and click on “Import from Another Browser“. Arc will recognize how many browsers you have installed on your device and then you’ll be able to choose your primary one. Once you do, if you have multiple accounts, you’ll also have the option to choose and import everything from either a single one or multiple accounts at once. Click on “Next” and let the Arc browser do its magic.

Importing Bookmarks and History in Arc Browser

Thankfully, Arc will place all the bookmarks inside one folder, so you can import as many as you want without getting the browser immediately bloated. You can then move those folders and bookmarks from one place to another, and just make it your own.

Using Arc Browser for the first time

Searching in Arc Browser
Searching in Arc browser.

Once the installation has been completed and you’ve imported all of your bookmarks, this is where the journey begins. For a minute, I wasn’t moving my cursor nor was I clicking at anything. It took me a bit to understand what I was seeing, and how different it was from what we’ve used all of those years. As minimal as it seems from the pictures, it may take you a bit to start learning how it works.

But that’s good, we don’t need another browser that looks and does the same as all the others, we need more innovative things, with cool names. The Browser Company was able to do just that; Give you a modern and different browser that makes things easier, faster, and more comfortable (give it a few minutes, and it will rule you in) to your eyes.

Arc Browser - Sidebar

I started with my bookmarks and folders, organizing them was my top priority as they’re important for my work. Dragging and moving the bookmarks and folders was easy, so it took less than a minute to put them in order and start looking at all the features the browser had to give me. Removing the default top bookmarks and adding the ones that I use the most was also simple, and if you ask me, they look pretty neat.

Spaces are another nice addition to the table, and they’re very similar to Vivaldi’s “Workspaces” which I use. This feature gives you the ability to switch between those spaces and have a totally different sidebar without your current active windows and folders. You can have one space for work, one for personal surfing, and maybe one for watching Formula 1 and having all the windows ready just before the start of the race.

Arc Browser Split Tab
Split tab overview in Arc Browser.

You can also split windows, having them side by side. What’s even more interesting is the auto-archive option in Arc’s settings, which automatically archives your tabs after 12 hours (default), 24 hours, 7 days, or 30 days. Last but not least, you get an Arc Card, which I still haven’t figured out what exactly it does.

Arc browser is a modern and clutter-free web browser

I had to spend at least an hour using the Arc browser before starting to understand what their creators were focusing on. For some weird reason, I found myself using fewer and fewer active tabs, having active only the ones that I totally wanted for that specific moment. What I mean is, that you get a clutter-free experience, and the chaos of surfing the web becomes a bit less.. chaotic.

What I like even more when searching using Arc is their fantastic – and I can’t stress this enough – pop-up window which will show the page without redirecting you to another tab. That is such a nice addition to surfing the web even faster, and without having to go back, and instead, just close the pop-up window – which you can pretty much disable.

Here’s what it looks like when searching in Bing for some scrambled egg ideas:

Bing scrambled egg in Arc Browser
Search for scrambled egg recipes in Bing using the Arc Browser.

And here’s how the Arc browser displays a website when clicking on it from the results:

Inspired Taste - Scrambled Eggs - Arc Browser
Arc Browser displaying through its preview window from Bing’s results.

What I don’t like is that you never really know if it’s going to work or not, as oftentimes it won’t open the preview window and instead redirects you to the website.

The browser feels fast and smooth, it has handled every website I’ve visited without any issues, and thanks to being built upon Chromium, it supports all extensions found in the Chrome Web Store. For an even more minimal experience, you can also toggle and hide the sidebar, surfing through web pages without any distractions.

Everything I didn’t like in Arc Browser

One of my biggest problems with Arc is navigation. Navigating through your bookmarks and folders sometimes can make you go crazy, as most of the time I don’t really know which of my tabs are active and which are not. When opening a folder and visiting a website, the latest website will pop under the folder, letting me know that this tab is active, but where are the other opened tabs?

Hey, maybe I am just new here and still figuring things out.

If you have a large amount of bookmarks inside your folders, you’re also going to experience one of the slowest scrolling in the history of web browsers. They absolutely need to fix that, and make it faster, because the time it saves me by quickly surfing through the web, gets lost in scrolling through my hundreds of bookmarks.

If you’re using extensions, then you may find them missing from your browser. That’s because they’re hidden inside the Control Panel Center which has been placed at the top. Clicking on it will show all the extensions that you’ve installed, but you can’t add them at the top and make them constantly visible, which will take another click to open. Although I can see what that is, keeping everything minimal, and having some small extensions at the top would be a great option for me.

Last but not least; Shortcuts. As a new app, Arc is missing lots of shortcuts and you don’t have the ability to make any adjustments. What I hate, and I can’t stress this enough, is my mouse’s wheel, which instead of opening my bookmarks at a new tab, it just deletes them, which is frustrating because I did that lots of times by accident.

Conclusion: Is Arc Browser right for you?

Maybe. It’s kinda difficult to portray the app without using it first. I think many people are going to love Arc’s simplicity and minimalism, and it’s far more modern and slick than any other browser right now. If you’re feeling that the web has been too chaotic lately or looking at something interesting and new, I would highly recommend taking Arc browser for a spin.

As for me, I am happy staying with Vivaldi for the time being, as it’s more robust when it comes to features and options, and if I want, I can actually make it look like Arc – well, not exactly, but you get the point. But as I am using the browser I can stop but go back again and again, most times when I want to quickly search for something. I was using Microsoft Edge all of this time as my second browser, which I kept minimal and disabled almost anything Microsoft-related, but Arc looks like it’s going to take that place.

I look forward to seeing what The Browser Company has to offer next, and what their plans are for their new web browser. I will also keep updating this review with all the new features and options that The Browser Company is implementing, keeping you updated with all the latest.

Have you used Arc Browser? And if so, what was your experience and what did you like and hate the most? I’d love to hear all about your thoughts, ideas, and personal preferences in the comment section down below.

Panos Sakalakis

Meet Panos Sakalakis, a web wizard, blogging buff, podcasting pro, and SEO sorcerer with over 15 years of enchanting experience. When he's not weaving digital spells with his keyboard, you'll likely spot him conquering mountain trails with his trusty Hard-Trail MTB bike, in hot pursuit of the ultimate adrenaline rush and the perfect blog post inspiration.

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