#7 Symbaloo

symbaloo sceenshot

Symbaloo is an icon-based start page, where colorful images serve as links on a dark background.

Performance:
Loads quite quickly.

UX:
This start page has a nice and clean design. Background can be changed to white if the black is too gloomy after a while.
Playing with the tiles can be satisfying, but only to a point. It takes a long time to add each link, and there is a limit of 52 bookmarks per page.

The central 8-tile space is also a bad decision for usability purposes, because every time I want to read another RSS feed, I have to click it for it to appear in the center square. This defeats the purpose – might as well open in a new window. Search also appears there, but disappears when reading an RSS feed. At least links open in a new window.

Features:

  • Bookmarking
  • RSS feeds
  • A couple of basic widgets to choose from
  • Custom backgrounds
  • Pages can be shared

Export:
No export available

Available for:
All major platforms and browsers

Pricing:
Free to use. Paid versions available for Educational organizations and Businesses.

Try Symbaloo now.

#6 Awesome New Tab Page

Awesome New Tab Page

Awesome New Tab Page provides a highly customizable and powerful start page. The UX is quite tricky: you can add new widget, but you need to press Esc to release the widget. There is a shop of third-party widget builders you can integrate into your pages, which is nice, but also raises questions of privacy and security. Do the rights you grant these other developers extens to ANTP too? Or vice versa? Many questions for a product that’s still popular.

Performance:
Works fully locally on your machine and therefore loads very quickly.

UX
The interface feels both versatile and clunky at the same time. It’s easy to add and remove stuff on your page, but the design isn’t as elegant as some of the other alternatives mentioned on this page.

Features:

  • Dynamic widgets that do more than take you places
  • Rearrange, add and remove tiles to fit your needs
  • Create custom shortcuts (just like apps) anywhere on the web
  • Search websites directly from custom shortcuts
  • Resize apps, shortcuts, and even some widgets
  • If you’re a web developer, you can make your widgets using HTML/CSS/JavaScript
  • Sphere personalized content discovery experience

Export:
You cannot export your bookmarks or other data

Available for:
Chrome only

Pricing:
Free to use

Try Awesome New Tab Page!

#8 Protopage

protopage-11383062

Performance:
Quite fast, no complaints. A couple of seconds to load, but when loaded runs very fast & smooth.

UX:
The interface is mostly intuitive and fast. That’s awesome. Although the interface appears to be cluttered, most widgets can be quickly deleted and cleaned up, and theme & colors are configurable. Some functionality, however, is very poorly implemented. (Take for example adding bookmarks) If you’ve got quite a few bookmarks, you’re in for a nightmare. Another striking problem is the fluid state of everything: it’s like you’re always in edit mode, so half the time I’m changing my layout or my bookmarks without any intention to do so. True, it’s just as easy to change back, but why can’t everything stay in place once I set it right?

Features:

  • Extensive collection of gadgets available – including several user-designed gadgets
  • Bookmarking
  • RSS feeds
  • Export:
    No export functionality is available bookmarks? Forget it: no backup, no option to ever export them. If this start page dies, all your bookmarks die with it.

    Available for:
    All major browsers

    Pricing:
    Free to use. Paid version for $30 a year (to remove the ads).

    Try Protopage now.

#10 My Yahoo

My Yahoo - Personal dashboard

My Yahoo is a customizable web page with news, stock quotes, weather, and many other features. From all of the lists of New Tab Alternatives, it’s one of the oldest and most copied. Before the advent of the Google search page, it was surely one of the most important personalizable homepages. It’s still quite useful today.

Performance:
The loading speed is acceptable – though not very fast.

UX:
The user interface is clean and well designed. Rearranging your page content is done using drag and drop. Adding and removing content is easy, as well. All in all, My Yahoo provides an excellent user experience.

Are you looking for one place to go for updates from all of your favorite sites, blogs, scores, quotes, and other info? This version of a personal startpage is hugely customizable, and you can choose what you want to see.

Features:

  • Bookmarks
  • News
  • Stock quotes
  • Weather
  • Horoscopes
  • Custom Backgrounds

Export:
It’s not possible to export your bookmarks and feeds from your account.

Available for:
Web (all browsers)

Pricing:
Free to use.

Try My Yahoo now!

Myfav.es

A little impression of a Myfav.es homepage

Now this is a simple version of the good old bookmark manager: Myfav.es. What I really like about this version is the simple homepage you get. Once you build it, you’re good to go. You can’t use it to bookmark sites when you’re surfing, so it’s really built as a launchpad. You can only add sites from their catalogue, so if you can’t find the site you’re looking for, you have to ask the good people at Myfav.es to add it. This seems kind of limiting to me, not to mention time-consuming. Still, if you’re looking for a fast page to start from, this might be your thing.

Performance of Myfav.es

This site does perform well. It loads fast, and you don’t even have to take my word on it. Google agrees. Still, since there is not much interaction possible, I didn’t expect any trouble here.

Main features Myfav.es

  • Fast interface
  • Simple, uncluttered design
  • Many sites to choose from
  • In the onboarding process, you get to choose from top sites in many categories
  • Options to display or disable search bar
  • Some background images possible
  • Choose your own icons
  • Styling of the preferences section feels outdated

Compatibility

You can access the site from any device, though it’s not really designed for a small screen. After you’ve set up your pages, they are easily clickable.

Pricing

There are no mentions of prices anywhere, which makes you wonder what’s going on here. Who’s paying for this service? In the privacy policy, they state: ‘This is free, harmless and fun, but here is a privacy policy that we found on Google, if it makes you feel better.’ Well, I’m afraid they should do better than this before I entrust them with my most personal surfing data.

igHome

igHome

igHome tries to emulate and restore as much as possible of the old functionality and design of iGoogle (retired by Google in 2013).

Performance:
The website is a bit slow. Once you remove some of the default widgets and news feeds, it accelerates a bit.

UX:
There are a huge banner and a few lines of clutter on the bottom of the screen, other than that it’s mostly clean.

Edit processes are unnecessarily long and annoying. Adding widgets takes a long time, and even removing them takes too long (page has to be refreshed). Organizing bookmarks is impossible: can’t drag them or create categories. For a start page, I find this to be a big problem; The bookmarks auto-sort alphabetically. The color choices for most widgets are terrible and inconsistent, and the design is quite poor.

Features:

  • Bookmarking
  • RSS feeds
  • Lots of gadgets (e.g., weather, traffic, financial) to choose from

Export:
No export options for your bookmarks.

Available for:
All major platforms and browsers.

Pricing:
Free to use.

Try igHome now!

start.io

start.io screenshot

start.io offers a simplistic start page with primary white links on a dark background, with some colored stripes for coloring. Simplicity above all else here.

Performance:
Slowness is apparent when adding bookmarks, when switching tabs, and when saving or modifying options. Start page access is fast.

UX:
Can’t get any cleaner than an empty page. It’s your bookmarks, nothing else. Superb.

The bookmarks setup is very straightforward. It’s comfortable to use, navigate, and modify. It’s separate from the start page, as an admin panel, so it doesn’t allow moving categories around the page & you have to use trial-and-error to make your start page look the way you want it. Not good. The worst part is that links open in the same window, not smart for a start page. A few other annoyances: if you accidentally click a category, all the other bookmarks disappear, and when you click the start page logo, you go to the admin panel instead of the start page. A few themes are available, but the option was quite hidden in the admin panel.

Features:
Just bookmarks. No widgets, RSS feeds, or any other options to fill your new tab page.

Export:
It’s possible to export your bookmarks.

Available for:
All major platforms and browsers

Pricing:
Free to use.

Try start.io now.

Papaly

papaly

Papaly is a new cloud-based bookmark manager that you can use directly on the web or in the form of a Chrome extension.

Performance:
The loading speed of the My Way page is pretty decent – but not very quick.

UX:
The user interface is crowded with buttons and icons and feels noisier than it should be (considering Papaly only offers bookmarks). It’s easy enough though to add new bookmarks, lists or boards.

Features:

  • Share & Publish boards
  • Co-ownership and Private Boards
  • Reduce Open Tab Clutter and Save Memory
  • Ability to turn off New Tab and Results in Search
  • Social Bookmarks
  • Populate Boards from Browser’s Bookmark
  • Sync Searches and Bookmarks Cross Browsers
  • Explore Content
  • New Tab Speed Dial Functionality
  • Drag and Drop Searches with Bookmarks
  • Customizable Themes
  • Bookmark Manager Edit Mode
  • Rename Categories and Links
  • Bookmarking Made Easy
  • Display Name Customization

Export:
It’s possible to export your bookmarks your Papaly account.

Available for:
Web (all browsers)

Pricing:
Free to use.

Try Papaly now!

Startific!

startific

Startific looks like a duplicate of your desktop, for the web. Icons serve for links, and it includes some flashy 3D graphics, boldly going against current trends.

Performance:
The website loads quite slowly, likely caused by the heavy graphics that are loaded. Moving widgets around doesn’t snap them to grid so it causes memory errors & warning all over the place.

UX:
The website can be clean if you’re willing to do the work. Well, except for the huge “Ad” widget that keeps coming back. Pretty annoying. Also, I wish I could have the background in plain solid colors instead of images that make icon text hard to read, but I can take comfort in the fact that I can always just upload a solid color JPG will do the trick.

Slowness is a killer. And if you’re trying to add a bookmark: forget about it. Couldn’t be more difficult. You actually need to upload or provide a URL to an image for each and every tile you add! It’s an incredible amount of hard work. I just gave up halfway through and started uploading the same image for all of my tiles. Also when used bigger pictures, it just froze, multiple times. Updating is not easy either, as you need to click exactly on the center of a micro cogwheel, otherwise it just visits the link. Not good.

Features:
This site’s main function is to keep bookmarks organized.

Export:
Exporting your bookmarks is not possible.

Available for:
All major platforms and browsers

Pricing:
Free to use. Paid version available to remove the Ad.

Try Startific yourself!