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Puffin Web Browser review: Flash for the iPhone/iPad

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Puffin Web Browser review: Flash for the iPhone/iPad

Apple's ecosystem offers plenty of possibility, but when it comes to Flash support, iOS seems more like a golden cage rather than a place of free choice. Puffin Web Browser promises to set you free with Flash support on both the iPhone and iPad, but this promise comes with pitfalls. 

For a meager $0.99, this web browser brings Adobe Flash in almost all of its glory – heavy Flash websites, videos and banners (we just knew you'd care about seeing those) are now all viewable. 

Puffin is optimized to work with the iPhone, iPad and Android phones.

Puffin is optimized to work with the iPhone, iPad and Android phones."  

Interface and Performance:

The rest of its browser functionality is pretty standard, and that's why we'd rather focus on its performance. It's sluggish when loading pages, but its biggest drawback is navigating around them. Even though it supports pinch-to-zoom and double taps, those gestures are terribly laggy making zooming nearly impossible. These two combined render it pretty useless for casual surfing of the web in our opinion, so for that you'd better turn to any other browser. Then copy the URL of the page with Flash content you want to see and paste it in Puffin. 

Puffin Web Browser review: Flash for the iPhone/iPad
Puffin Web Browser review: Flash for the iPhone/iPad
How it handles Flash:

Puffin doesn't support Hulu and ABC's websites, but every other website we tried loaded. Those include shows like Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, South Park, sites like Jokes.com, but also major news outlets like BBC and sports events streamed on venues like NBA.com.  

Videos worked best when played in the full screen mode, much better than in alternative solutions. You could also watch them in page, but in that case framerates get really choppy, often to a slideshow rather than a video.

One word of caution - Flash games are not supported.

Flash video is best viewed in full screen mode.

Flash video is best viewed in full screen mode.


Let's make it clear – the Puffin Web Browser's main benefit is displaying Flash content. For all the rest it's pretty laggy, almost unusable. If you've looked at other Flash solutions like Skyfire, though, there's one other thing that you wouldn't expect to see – the price. Puffin is comparatively cheap with its $.99 price and availability for both iPhone and iPad, when compared to Skyfire's costly browser (currently $1.99) or the Skyfire VideoQ Flash solution (currently $2.99). Used only as Flash player though, it is better than these two.

At the same time, we find it hard to recommend. We hope we will see it improved with better performance and the functionality to be used as a stand alone browser with Flash support.

For this review, we've used Puffin Web Browser version 1.6.7 on Apple iPhone 4 running iOS 4.3.1.

  • Options

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 09:48 2

1. Mike from NY (unregistered)

Meh...i don't think many of us care ab out flash anymore... at least i don't, i kinda grew out of that flash thing. just use the iphone for everything else, how often you gonna watch some flash content?? Maybe if ur a college kid, otherwise, day job can keep you quite busy! Of course, to each their own.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 09:57 1

2. @mike (unregistered)

Maybe you use iPhone for everything else because you cant use flash. If you can't pull it up, you don't know what your missing.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 10:10 1

3. i<3symbian^1 (unregistered)

i bet those isheep who keep sayin flash sucks..blah...blah will b the 1st to download this app just so that they could xperience the awesome flash.....

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 10:29 5

6. PhoneLuver (Posts: 481; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)

Awesome and Flash in one sentence?? Really? That comment is straight from 2003!

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 17:30

15. kainy (Posts: 165; Member since: 10 Aug 2011)

Well first of all the only ones that will download the app are iSheep as you said, but no ... flash is no awesome ... i personally never had the "need" of flash ... i i wont have that need it's that simple everyone wined about flash cuz of youtube ... now everybody can play youtube videos from sites and it's easy and don't require flash ... so play your flash videos on you Android device and be nice...

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 10:16 2

4. Sirlandry (unregistered)

If you don't have Flash well...you don't have Flash.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 10:27 1

5. PhoneLuver (Posts: 481; Member since: 05 Jul 2010)

To be honest, I don't miss flash either! I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about!
YouTube videos work, who honestly cares about banners?

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 11:39 2

13. Heatfan316 (unregistered)

We know you don't miss flash, you do whatever your leader Steve Jobs tells you to do, he doesn't like flash so you don't like flash. If Steve Job sent you text, for you and all other fanboys to commit mass suicide, 90% of you idiots would do it.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 10:36 3

7. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3117; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)

Haha and this is why apple refuses to allow flash. The ifanboys sure did a lot of s**t talking about how "laggy" android is and yet look at this! Sure the fanboys will make any excuse they can, like how this isn't official, this isn't adobe flash blah blah blah but the bottom line is the iphone isn't good enough to handle flash.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 11:15

10. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

This is an app so it doesn't reflect the iPhone's performance.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 14:15

14. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

@rory. No phone is good enough to handle flash. And yes, this is exactly the reason why Apple won't allow flash NATIVELY on their iphone and ipad. It causes lag, instability, and vulnerabilities. It also holds up updates when Adobe takes a while to get their act together in compliance to a software update, making the EOM look bad, when it's actually Adobe who's taking forever to makes things work. So thanks, but no thanks.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 17:52 2

16. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3117; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)

No phone is? Apparently you have never used or even looked at someone using a SGS2. The phone handles heavy flash with ease, no stutters, no lags, no hang ups. But sure, maybe compared to the little tiny iphone, the SGS2 is a tablet lol.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 10:57

8. jeans94621 (Posts: 4; Member since: 15 Mar 2011)

I use the Puffin browser for my main browser. I have not experience any of the problems that the reviewer is writing about. I think it is about your internet connection. I have a good connection and my browser is fast and smooth. The videos play flawlessly just as well as my netbook. I have an iphone 4 and ipad 1 and I use the browser for both.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 11:00 1

9. drodriguezsd (Posts: 35; Member since: 10 Jun 2010)

Why would I need flash when I have a MacBook Pro? ;-) Boo ya! But seriously....how is it unusable? If it works....it works.

posted on 12 Aug 2011, 11:18

11. Puffinboy (unregistered)

I have been using this browser on both iPhone and iPad and have not had any problems the reviewer speaks of. The few times I want to view a flash video I use this browser.

posted on 13 Aug 2011, 02:11

17. xenover (Posts: 174; Member since: 27 May 2011)

This video shows that Android 1 ghz phones can handle flash a f**k-load better than iPhone.

posted on 13 Aug 2011, 07:01

18. PeterIfromsweden (Posts: 1230; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)

I thought that the web browesr on apple store wheren't allowed to use flash ?
Has apple changed their policy ?

posted on 13 Aug 2011, 20:03

19. rex0422 (Posts: 30; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)

I dont like this app, it cost me $.99 and i got something that sucks like s**t!

posted on 08 Oct 2011, 16:57

20. Mary (unregistered)

I have this application, you klik and after some seconds you hear and see what you pressed(flash games etc) so.. Yes it is slow.. I bought it and dont use it.

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