Firefox for Android Review

Firefox for Android Review
Mozilla has released an upgraded version of its Firefox browser for Android, polishing all of the cool features found in Firefox Beta and moving them over to the real thing. So, the browser is now up for grabs at Google Play, and with Firefox being a big name as far as web browsers go, we decided to get the new Firefox and take it for a test drive to see how it stacks up against the competition.

Of course, a Firefox web browser should first and foremost appeal to its own user base, so it doesn't come as a surprise that there are features such as Firefox Sync. It basically lets you synchronize your tabs, passwords, bookmarks and saved form data between your PC and phone. Just like that, you have your whole Firefox experience right on your handset, saving you the trouble of having to enter passwords and other data with the small on-screen keyboard.

Next comes the ability to enhance your browser by installing various add-ons. All in all, the catalog of add-ons available for the mobile Firefox is quite small right now, but you can tell there's potential in it, when you look at examples like 'Full Screen'. Installing add-ons is a piece of cake, as you simply go to the respective menu, choose the one that you want, hit 'Add to Firefox', and then it automatically installs and activates in a matter of seconds.

Mozilla has also done a pretty good work when it comes to privacy. The 'Do Not Track' feature deserves a mention here – it allows you to tell sites not to track your browsing behavior, which is primarily done to personalize the advertising that you're going to see. Additionally, you can set a Master Password to prevent others from logging into services using your phone and the account credentials stored in it.


In terms of user interface, Firefox for Android is doing a good job of keeping it simple. The so-called 'Awesome Bar' is a good example here. It's basically your address bar, but when you tap it, in addition to the ability to type the name of the site you want to go to, you also get quick access to your Bookmarks, History and tabs from your other Firefox-running computers. Speaking of tabs, Firefox's implementation may not be full of eye candy, but it's definitely functional.

Perhaps the coolest thing about this new Firefox version is its outstanding performance. We tested it head-to-head with Chrome Beta, the stock browser and Opera Mobile, and found that in most cases Firefox for Android had the smoothest frame rate. Plus, it does a very good job of inflating the fonts. This is when the browser decides to increase the size of certain fonts to make them easier to read without the need of too much zooming. The end result is that you get a wonderful browsing experience that easily rivals, if not beats, that of the competition.

As you might guess, however, not everything's so perfect with Firefox. There aren't so many issues, but still we found a couple. The first one has to do with multi-touch zooming. Although this works fine most of the time, there are some occasions when it is like the sensitivity drops significantly, requiring you to do some really serious pinch-zooming in order to zoom in/out at the needed distance. Watch our video to see exactly what we mean.

The other issue we encountered was with Flash performance. Firefox for Android supports the Flash Player plug-in and it displays the content properly, but its visible that most animated elements aren't as fluid as they should be. In addition a Flash video that we watched using the browser had the sound lagging behind the video. We really hope that these kinks will get worked out soon, as the rest of the browser is really top-notch.

All in all, we had a pretty good time with the latest Firefox for Android. The browser has gone a long way from what it was in its initial builds, and has now become so capable that, as we said, it can easily rival the other popular offerings. We definitely recommend that you check it out, if you happen to be unsatisfied by your current Android browser.

Download Firefox for Android [Google Play link]



FEATURED VIDEO

16 Comments

1. thunderising

Posts: 232; Member since: Nov 25, 2011

Yeah I'll be using this!

2. xplayer

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

thumbs up if u r reading this review using the new firfox

3. poddey

Posts: 77; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

I think the Google Play link is to the older app? It seems this new version is still in Beta. And at 17MB... it's still freakin huge compared to other capable browsers.

4. Ray.S

Posts: 456; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Nope, the new features from the Beta are now moved over to this version.

5. poddey

Posts: 77; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

I guess they haven't updated the app screen shots then.

6. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Wow!!! I must say, I updated my Firefox this morning and the speed more than doubled!!! It has Opera and the stock browser beat for sure. The computer sync feature is a winner hands down. Well done.

7. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

Good Job Mozilla, it runs like Chrome or like ICS stock browser ;D

8. Non_Sequitur

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

I'll still be using Chrome Beta when I get ICS, but this is very nice. One question though. I hate that you can't set a home page and that I have to go straight to the other stupid page. Any way to set a home page at all?

10. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Create an account and you can set a home page.

9. nb2six

Posts: 298; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

Is there a reason you guys didn't test this against Dolphin HD? I still consider it better than the chrome browser right now.

11. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Dolphin works just fine for me - I am getting browser overload...lol

12. aoikemono27

Posts: 177; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I've never tried anything besides the browser that comes with the phone. You always see browser performance in phone reviews so I am under the impression that the accompanying browser is heavily optimized for that particular phone. So how well do third party browsers like this one work and are they optimized as well?

14. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

IMHO, it works much better... try it and be the judge...

13. cthunder

Posts: 126; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

Yes! This is what I have been waiting for from Firefox. And the ability to sync with my desktop? Out F..king standing Pyle! *cheers*

15. spoks

Posts: 46; Member since: Jun 01, 2012

uninstalled. still nothing compared to the ICS browser in my galaxy note... i dont even need chrome beta as syncing with my chrome browser is just a touch away and vice versa with my ICS stock browser... and it loads faster than this firefox... firefox lags when the site is full of flash, in my browser no sites are heavy, it just loads so fast...

16. fabioleal11

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 27, 2012

It works with android 4.0 ??????? i have evo lte . what app can use to make flash work on it , thanks :) all the androids phone who has 4.0 it's having a problem with flash .

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.