The release is 10.0.0.2 (April 06, 2011) to be exact; which is built using the Chromium 10.0.648.204 code, and includes all of that release’s goodness, with none of the call home features, but with a few things included that are not a part of its close rival Iron.

SRWare has made a great browser with Iron, and has been typically speedier with the upgrades to Iron than Comodo is with its upgrades to Dragon. This is somewhat interesting, as SRWare is releasing versions of Iron for Windows, the Intel Mac architecture, and also for Linux, whereas Comodo is concerning themselves with a Windows release only. (There have been threads in the Comodo forums concerning the release of Mac or Linux versions, but thus far, they are falling on the same deaf ears that are being asked for a 64-bit version of the Windows offering.) The updates to Dragon are coming at a faster speed, and with extra features courtesy of the Comodo coding staff.

Comodo differentiates itself from Iron in other ways, too. In the latest release of the Dragon browser, there is a very nice online help system, which not only explains many of the browser’s settings, it does so without any observable mistakes upon cursory examination. To this writer, that is amazing, when one thinks that it is something Microsoft, with its millions of dollars and thousands of coders, has, as yet, been unable to produce.

Another thing where Dragon is immediately distanced from Iron is in the small things, which may seem trivial to some, but my view is that if you put a feature into something, it should work as expected. In Iron, obtaining bookmarks from my default browser, Opera, is an exercise in frustration, as the transfer works, but not in any manner that I might wish for. The bookmarks get transferred, but in a manner resembling a lengthy trip through a high speed food blender – the hierarchy of the individual bookmarks is lost totally. In Dragon, not only is the process faster (though it does take some time, as my bookmarks in Opera occupy about 280KB on disk) is produces the same hierarchy when going to the Other Bookmarks area. Nice!

The download is a hefty one, and no one is divulging the details as to why Dragon 10 is such a large download, at about 40MB, versus much smaller sizes for Iron, at about 17MB, and another Chromium-derived browser, Chrome Plus, at 23MB. Since the majority of the help system is in the cloud that cannot be the reason for the heft. The sandboxing of the browser should not be much different than the sandboxing which is part of the base Chromium code, and should not contribute to such a difference. (Some have wondered aloud if the debugging code has not been stripped away, and that might be a part of the explanation, but should not account for that large a difference.)

One area, from where some of the code heft comes, is the ability to check for updates from Comodo, which is a nice touch. Such ability is not a part of the bare knuckles approach of Iron. Also, Iron, when allowing the user to get themes or extensions, points to pages set up by SRWare or their affiliates, instead of the equivalent, but much more complete, Google pages. This may be ultimately more secure, but it is frustrating for those who wish to differentiate their browser’s look with the widest choices available. With Dragon, when looking for themes or extensions, the user is taken to the Google pages, allowing the greatest choice, and the most current versions to be obtained (so as to be free of quirks and anomalies). Also, where some extensions fail to work properly with Iron, due to programming choices in the name of security, Dragon has shown not one of those problems, allowing my installation of any extension I wish to try.

Still another area where some code is found without analog in Iron, or Chrome, for that matter, is that once most of the set up of the browser is accomplished, Dragon asks the user if he wishes to use the secure DNS offered by Comodo, which is nice, but as the fine print attests, may cause some people problems. A nice feature, and also nice that the explanation is there for those not possessed of highest skills – no surprises for those who can read.

The user experience with Dragon is smoother than with Iron, which I can only compare to the driving of a individually built race car versus a factory effort – the home brew may be marginally faster, but the factory effort will be much more satisfying over time. Dragon has that feel which makes one satisfied. The details are all worked into the right fit, and the polish is applied, where Iron sometimes looks a bit ragged.

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The latest model Dragon (10.0.0.2) is found here.