Browser Wars: the best 10 Android browsers go toe-to-toe, part 1
Now, benchmarking overall browser performance is a tricky affair. There's always the fear that one or all (in which case its fine) of the browsers you may want to test are going to game the benchmark one way or another. Moreover, browser performance is just so much more than a simple set of synthetic benchmarks – memory/storage consumption and start-up speed, to name a few, are just as essential for the overall experience. These are rarely (I could probably even get away by saying never, at least as far as mobile browsers go) taken into consideration when trying to construct a proper deathmatch. That's because it's burdensome and truly time consuming. So it's safe to say that some time has been spent crunching those for you.
Let's get real
5. daddysbeenabadgirl (Posts: 156; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
Dolphin is what I like. It seems to be work best for me and its one of the only browsers that I can get firstrowsports to work on. I'm definitely going to try Puffin though.
46. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Safari isn't there because it will beat them all
73. joey_sfb (Posts: 1481; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Safari is the only decent browser available due to Apple policy on not allowing third parties web engine.
Banning is the best policy to limit competition and frankly Apple user might not care. I love Firefox with Adobe flash brazing fast on the note 3.
92. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
Still firefox wins by having a cool 3D mode
94. ZombieHunter (Posts: 12; Member since: 13 Oct 2013)
Safari isn't there because "the best 10 Android browsers". Gotta love illiterate apple fanbois.
57. medicci37 (Posts: 532; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)
Just tried Puffin for the first time... It's f*cking incredible! Not just the speed, but looks great with some awesome features
59. medicci37 (Posts: 532; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)
1 thing I don't like the with chrome on my HTC 1 is that the cache gets huge(like over a quarter gig) on a regular basis & then chrome gets real buggy until I empty it. Usually have to do this once a week.
93. MobileKicker (Posts: 207; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
You play football dude
This is phonearena not footballarena
83. rob5150 (Posts: 77; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
I came here to post this exact same comment. Been an android user since it came out and no browser ever had such speed.
27. cezarepc (Posts: 422; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
Same. My main is chrome then I just install a "whatever" browser in case a page fails to load in chrome. The whatever browser is usually firefox and the AOSP browser.
3. brar.arsh (Posts: 73; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
Puffin?? The best one out there and many of us havent even seen it..
37. Dorothy69 (banned) (Posts: 498; Member since: 21 May 2013)
It's true - this is actually useful info so stop fighting it!!
55. JEverettnow (Posts: 95; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)
Puffin is pretty nice, but it doesn't have the appeal that Chrome has. I will give it another shot since it supposedly supports Flash
74. joey_sfb (Posts: 1481; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
Puffin, try on my iPad slow and buggy that why I fall back to safari. plus they have a paid edition that I did not buy as my experience with free is not good.
96. Kiiro (Posts: 6; Member since: 05 Sep 2013)
You're either a big troll or a big idiot. Read the title!
4. jphillips63 (Posts: 109; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
I just loaded Puffin guess we will see soon. I had been using Dolphin
6. veer.d (Posts: 80; Member since: 12 Jul 2013)
opera mini is fastest and best for casual browsing
8. sinple (Posts: 71; Member since: 04 Nov 2011)
i think you should also talk about how these sites handle flash.
Base on nexus 7
boat browser hangs while playing flash video
chrome plays html5 video very well
firefox is unable to play video in full screen
opera can hardly play any video apart from those in youtube
puffin is the only browser that can play from mp4upload.com(iphone and windows phone can play also)
Not only can puffin play more flash video, it has a special function that can render the video outside of the browser when playing video. It can somehow play the video in much more better quality than other video.
Also, puffin has a built in trackpad and gamepad that can be used for different website.
Butttt,puffin is a little bit laggy and force close more often than chrome and firefox
10. buccob (Posts: 731; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Who else downloaded Puffin just because of this article?
I am sorry Opera, old buddy... there is a new browser on my homescreen sitting next to Chrome
12. SellPhones82 (Posts: 323; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
Me! Never heard of it until now. Thanks for the info PA!
13. ady_lad (Posts: 47; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)
Yeah, i used to love Opera. I had Opera on my phone since i had my Nokia 6630, i used it on every phone until i bought my HTC One. On this phone opera seems sluggish. Opera used to be better on the PC too, but now it's Firefox and IE10 for me.
16. buccob (Posts: 731; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
Agree except for your final comment... IE10 in PC is really bad... I go with Chrome for a clean UI, what it sucks is that is such a RAM hog for Android... it even closes my music thats playing in the background
25. ady_lad (Posts: 47; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)
I think IE10 is a pretty good browser...there is no browser to be perfect, but i like Firefox for versatility, and i like IE10 too, i think it's a pretty solid browser to be fair.
50. Shatter (Posts: 1658; Member since: 29 May 2013)
Firefox > Chrome > every other browser > Internet Explorer.
I used to use Chrome but Firefox has received tons of updates since then and is faster.
58. user996 (Posts: 123; Member since: 25 Feb 2013)
poor guy your back in 2000? with IE5,6 or what? IE10 and 11 rules. chrome is mess up time to time. becomes unresponsive and not responding but at that time IE10 or 11 flies through web pages
68. ady_lad (Posts: 47; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)
I woukdn't be so harsh on him, but i did have some bad experiences with Chrome, for me it proved it wasn't an alternative.
81. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Same here, chrome is crap, plus the privacy concerns one must have when using any Scroogle product...
99. rusticguy (Posts: 2703; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
IE == Adware friendly!
FF is developer's paradise.
11. ady_lad (Posts: 47; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)
I use Firefox mostly, it's faster and has more features than Chrome, but guess waht...i just downloaded puffin and it actually feels a lot faster than any other two...
66. Joshing4fun (Posts: 966; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
Agreed. Firefox is the smoothest which is the most important aspect to me.
15. maherk (Posts: 67; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
I am stuck with dolphin mainly because of the bookmarks, I just love it when I swipe right to get to my bookmarks. And also setting up the volume keys to switch tabs. I don't know if there is any browser that has those features
19. buccob (Posts: 731; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
I tried Dolphin in the past, but I did not love it... so I stayed with Opera at the time... mainly because Opera was usable with an external Keyboard (using the arrows to control a virtual mouse)... but the latest update that dissed the Classic mode they took that feature out, which I used it a lot when mirroring to TV and using mouse and keyboard (turning my phone into a "pc")
So I started using Chrome more and more, but kept Opera for low bandwith usage and low memory, though Puffin is taking that place alongside with Small Web Browsers for Sony's Small Apps
Anyway ITS GREAT HAVING SO MANY OPTIONS...
17. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 253; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
Puffin has scroll lag until it fully loads the page...chrome is fast but still has some hiccups under page load and scroll is too sensitive, causes some kind of "vertigo". Same for Firefox, while loading Phonearena site can't view immediately the page, artifacts and low res text.
Opera overheats the phone and has some bugs with some kind of pages.
My vote goes to Dolphin, always smooth even under pressure. Who cares if it's 1-2 sec slower: at least I can read immediately the sites with a smoothness feel
18. PootisMan (Posts: 128; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)
Sorry, but Dolphin so far is the best browser on my Nexus 4. Really love the features.
20. ScruffyNerfHerder (Posts: 4; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
Doesn't the latest Chrome have Puffin like features that can be enabled? Same with the Kindle Fire Silk browser?
26. ScruffyNerfHerder (Posts: 4; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
Just to answer myself after some Googling, yes, Chrome (as of version 29) as well as Firefox, Opera, Silk and other browsers all support various implementations of SPDY which is a protocol for letting the certain web handling be done by a cloud server (in the case of Chrome, Google's servers) to reduce processing and page load times on the client browser. But in Chrome, it isn't enabled by default.
I'm not sure if Puffin uses SPDY and/or something else but it seems like this set of tests performed by this article needs to be re-ran with SPDY enabled for all the tested browsers for an accurate comparison of "server assisted" browsing benchmarks such as Puffin is doing.
21. boosook (Posts: 615; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
The problem with Chrome is its high CPU usage... but unfortunately CPU usage has not been taken into account in these tests. Just open some tabs and you'll notice that Chrome keeps on using the CPU even when all the pages have been loaded. What's more, if you exit with the Home buttone (i.e. you leave the tabs open with chrome in the background) it still uses the same cpu amount! You can really drain your batteries this way.
This does not happen with Dolphin: once you've loaded the page, the CPU is idle again.
22. Kitkat_4.4 (Posts: 74; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)
Wonder how much $$$ PA took from Puffin devs for doing this. Just checked Puffin on my Nexus 4. Woah, this things lags, haven't seen this much lag on even opera mini or similar browsers lol. Though after reading this, gave a try to firefox and it was quite good. Though I will stick to chrome. Just one flaw I found in firefox was that when loading up phonearena.com, it kept take my data when I even clicked on "X" to stop loading the page and just show me whatever is loaded till then, but still it was taking data. sad. chrome ftmfw.
23. Shatter (Posts: 1658; Member since: 29 May 2013)
It has scroll lag but the load times and benchmarks destroy 3 other browsers I tested: Firefox, Stock Browser and Chrome. Also the built in gamepad and flash player support are good if you like flash games. Its still a low slower than firefox on my i5 4670k @4.5ghz with a ramdisk caching the internet and its on a 500GB 840 Evo SSD which loads everything instantly.
24. Chris.P (Posts: 111; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)
Not a dime, unfortunately ;(
And precisely what is it that we're 'doing'? If you have it downloaded then go ahead and put it through the same tests and you're bound to arrive at the same results. No lie! :)
30. Shatter (Posts: 1658; Member since: 29 May 2013)
Tested on my worst android backup phone (LG Optimus L9 T-Mobile version) I killed all apps possible before running this.
Peacekeeper: 2986 (only one that appears to be hardware reliant, nexus 4 was a little higher than yours)
The other 3 score differences between the L9 and my Nexus 4 isn't that much but the nexus 4 does run the browser much smoother.
As said above load times are way better than the other 3 still, nexus 4 loads significantly faster than the L9, better than your scores show.
Speedtest for my home internet: 12ms Ping, 12.6mbps download 1.5 upload.
Tmobile LTE Test: 55ms ping, 38mbps download, 22 upload.
Tested on both load times were slightly better on my home since less latency.
34. ScruffyNerfHerder (Posts: 4; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)
Shatter and Chris P., from my brief reading about SPDY (mentioned above in my comment), bandwidth saving features (which may affect page load times) are enabled by default on at least some browsers (like Chrome) when connected over a wireless data service connection but disabled by default over a wifi connect. Anyway, one possible explanation why 4G and wifi testing could give different results.
39. Kitkat_4.4 (Posts: 74; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)
Then I guess benchmarks doesn't prove a thing. Real Experience says it lags even worse than opera mini on Symbian. Scroll , zooming the page, user interface... lags alot! Though firefox is really nice. Sadly puffin was on my phone for mere 10 mins and was installed.
65. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 817; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
You should add test notes such as the device used and your WiFi speed.
77. Chris.P (Posts: 111; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)
It was one possibility, but since the post got so long I decided not to burden it with stuff that aren't essential/go without saying.
Tests were performed on the PA Wi-Fi. I specifically ran SpeedTest like 10 times before I started, since I only got 2 lines of coverage in the studio and wanted to make sure I wasn't just having an exercise in futility.
DL was minimum 15 Mbit, all the way up to 35Mbit, UP was up to 20 or so.
35. Dorothy69 (banned) (Posts: 498; Member since: 21 May 2013)
I can attest to this one: not a dang-on penny.
I use Puffin and it really blazes compared to the other browsers - all of which I've used except UC.
This, amazingly, is an objective and professional article - kudos to the author. However - I would like to see a Puffin vs Safari comparison.
78. Chris.P (Posts: 111; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)
Am I missing something, or is there actually Safari for Android?
28. fistigons (Posts: 253; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)
I use Opera Mini on my iPad and S3, but it does crash fail to load pages a lot. I usually have to close out of the app completely. I'm not sure if there's something in the setting to change to prevent this. I think I'm going to try UC browser and maybe give dolphin another try. Thanks for the tests PA and showing me I have options.
29. mohann (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Apr 2013)
where is next browser? it is best of all !!!
31. bigstrudel (Posts: 399; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)
Tried them all many times. Dolphin delivers smooth scrolling, good load times and convenient favorites area that slides in from the edges for faster navigation. Any browser that takes 3 or 4 steps to get to favorites needs a redesign.
41. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)
That's my biggest complaint with Firefox, bookmarks need help. I still use it the most though, mainly because I like the tab experience, especially on tablets.