The 5 Android browser apps you need to try out before you settle

The 5 Android browser apps you need to try out before you settle
Browsing the web is perhaps the most quintessential thing that anybody does on a PC, and, by extension, their mobile. Whether it's your tablet or smartphone we're talking about, the odds are that you're spending a good  chunk of hands-on time inside a browser app. 

But navigating the maze that is the web is no picnic, especially when you consider the considerably smaller form-factor of something like a smartphone, and even a tablet. The lack of physical keyboard and a mouse means that you're pretty much left with a clumsy tool at your disposal -- hands. Extensions of our natural body they might be, but it turns out that they're not all that dexterous as we like to think, which likely explains the rush towards bigger screens. At least partially. Unfortunately, we're nearing the limit of how much screens can grow, and there's no reason to think that touchscreen are going anywhere for the foreseeable future. So are we damned to adapt or suffer? Not really. A distinct few browser apps out there are, arguably, better suited for use on a smaller screen. In our view, those need be extremely simplistic in their approach to the format (Chrome), or thoroughly and meticulously thought-out (Dolphin). In today's pick, it was our aim to shortlist the 5 browser apps that either strike a masterful balance between speed, ease of use, and functionality, or truly excel in one particular area, without completely massacring the rest. Take a look

Note: you can check out our complete Android browser apps performance comparison here.

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28 Comments

1. GeorgeDao123

Posts: 432; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

I am wondering why Opera is not in the post. To me, Chrome and Opera are the first and second best.

3. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

true...........i use both browser. mostly opera.

18. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I used to have Opera since Blackberry times... and up to my third Android device in 2013... but last year they change to a newer look, with a better feel BUT they ditched a lot of functionality that I loved about the "Classic" app... I used to love the shortcuts, turbo mode was an option EVEN on desktop mode... and keyboard integration was so good that you got a virtual mouse when using directional Arrows... Finally I used to love the way you could open EVERYTHING on desktop mode, unlike Chrome that you need to check the option everytime... Now I just settled for Chrome, since has also won me on my notebook and syncing is great... But since Chrome is such a RAM HOG and I still have an old phone, I mostly use Small Browser for Sony Xperias... a tiny floating browser which is extremely limited in features and you only get 1 tab... but it is fast, and floating so you can be on top of, say, twitter looking for links to open, while Small App is loading your current link on the top half of your screen... So for me is: Chrome for heavy browsing and Small Browser for casual browsing....

21. varezhka

Posts: 5; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

The new Chromium based Opera has been quite terrible. Same level of resource hog as Chrome without any of the nicer features of Chrome or the older Opera. I am very glad that they at least kept the traditional version as Opera Mobile Classic on the Google Play Store though.

24. GeorgeDao123

Posts: 432; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

Well, I like the new Opera, but the traditional Opera is still better.

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Chrome all the way!

20. dratomic

Posts: 483; Member since: Oct 09, 2013

i dont know why i hate chrome for android so much. i even prefer uc to it!

4. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

I'd prefer Dolphin over Chrome on Android. On PC though, hands down Chrome is king.

12. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Chrome is unbelievably good browser. Mobile, I like Dolphin, too, but I use Chrome because it synchronizes so well between devices and has Finnish language.

5. AliNSiddiqui

Posts: 382; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

AOSP browser all the way! All it ever needed was tab syncing and a name change to 'Chrome' and it would've been a thousand times better than the current chrome.

6. NIK01

Posts: 40; Member since: Apr 29, 2013

For one-handed-use, you need zoom-button onscreen, so Dolphin or Sleipnir or Boat. Sleipnir even remembers zoomlevels, very fast, simple and some other great features.... I recommand to try out that one.

19. buccob

Posts: 2978; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Chrome recently added the 1 finger zooming feature just like the one on Google Maps... 2 taps, but the second tap hold the screen and slide up (zoom out) or down (zoom in) Great...

7. sinple

Posts: 132; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Chrome and FF somehow drains battery very fast while browsing.FF crashes more often than dolphin. Dolphin does not play some of the video but it has night mode. Puffin crashes quite frequently but plays supported video well ( it does not provide full support for daily motion).

8. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Dolphin works best on KitKat, by far the fastest, has a lot of add-ons, supports Flash and can do text reflow.

9. hafini_27

Posts: 951; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

AOSP browser forever!!!

10. SonyPS4

Posts: 347; Member since: May 21, 2013

Opera > Everything else

11. maulgandhi unregistered

Chrome All the way. To my surprise, why all the cell phone manufactures doesn't provide chrome as a default browser. i have had samsung and Htc phones, none of them comes with chrome. Im glad google and samsung made a deal, that will eliminate all the samsung crap apps.

13. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Firefox does weird text formatting things on certain websites, where some text is tiny and other text is huge, when it should all be the same size. Chrome does the same. I didn't care much for Puffin. I like the zoom window the other browsers pop up when you fat-finger links, and Puffin (when I tried it last) didn't do that. Dolphin is my prefered browser. I prefer viewing desktop pages rather than mobile pages, and with Dolphin, the desktop pages look just like they do on my computer, without the weird text size formatting. I also have the stock ICS browser on my phone (Droid Razr Maxx) with Flash, so it's my second choice if I need it for videos. My phone is also rooted, and I use a root ad blocker, which makes browsing faster and less of a hassle, regardless of browser.

25. ojz0r

Posts: 22; Member since: Dec 30, 2013

The text formatting works better if you decrease the font size to smallest in firefox settings.

27. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I'll try that, thanks.

14. Killertech2099

Posts: 148; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Dolphin hands down i also like chrome but use it mostly for my pc

15. HildyJ

Posts: 341; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Firefox may not be the best browser for a phone but for my device ecosystem it is a single set of apps/applications that can synchronize passwords (as well as bookmarks and history) and can be customized to do a number of things via add-ons. Most importantly, one of those add-ons is AdBlock+. Also, I'm not entirely sure I want yet another company watching me browse in order to compress it.

16. GeekMovement unregistered

I used to use Firefox on my Galaxy S3, but now I'm just sticking with Chrome on my Note 2. I've tried all of the browsers mentioned above and more and liked all of them so I'm too lazy to think about which one I like best lol.

17. alrightihatepickingusernames

Posts: 474; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

I use Chrome, Puffin, and the previous AOSP browser sometimes. I used to use Next because I liked the UI but the loading times were atrocious so I stopped using it.

22. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

If you decide on Chrome, get Chrome Beta - also get Flash Fox, if you want a Firefox browser

23. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

I tried all these browsers. Puffin is a browser unlike any other. The desktop rendering and Adobe Flash support are quite good. But what really makes the difference is the virtual mouse and gamepad. It is worth the $3 for the full version. The only complaint I have is it can get a bit slow when scrolling graphics heavy complicated sites like wsj.com.

26. ojz0r

Posts: 22; Member since: Dec 30, 2013

I've alwats used Opera since i had it on symbian several years ago but since the new firefox update in december i use firefox all the way. Adblock edge and ghostery is to great addons to ever give up.

28. CrabQQ

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Dolphin + dolphin jetpack = super browser

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