First look at dual-engine web browser Polarity

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 15, 2016

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.

youtube popout

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.

There you find options to turn off JavaScript or the loading of images, something that several other browsers are not offering anymore by default.

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.

The Good

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.

Closing Words

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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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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