Browser Showdown

Browser Showdown
There are N numbers of mobile browsers available in the market today and as a matter of fact each one claims to be better than the others. Each and every Android mobile browser try to claim their own merits like we offer great experiences, some boast that they are simple and just get the job done. Let me just point one thing out. Most of them are slower then stock browser.

Generally there are two types of browsers designed for Android phones and they are:
  • full-featured mobile browser
  • data-economical mini mobile browser

Dolphin HD Browser dolphin-browser.png

Dolphin HD appears to draw a lot of inspiration from Mozilla’s popular desktop-based Firefox Web browser. Dolphin HD has a tabbed interface and can install add-ons that extend functionality. Forty-two such add-ons are available till date. Some of the best ones are QR Share, Adblock Plus, Tab History, Bookmarks, Wikipedia Search and so on. To free up memory you can also disable the options that you don’t use often. Several themes, which change the appearance (mainly the colour) of the browser, are also available.

features of Dolphin Browser:
  • less space for webpage
  • hand Gestures to manipulate windows
  • scrolling is fast in response.
  • thin tab styling and management, resembling Chrome’s
  • additional tools and plugin’s can be installed from the Play Store
  • it has enormous cool features

Opera Opera.png

Opera since last few years has become very popular amongst mobile users and making a good space in the Android devices. According to a recent study, there are roughly 100 million mobile users who use the Opera Mini 6 on a monthly basis. There are two versions available: Opera Mobile Browser, aimed at higher-end devices, and Opera Mini, which is aimed at older and lower spec devices. one of their best desktop features over to the Android version, and that feature is Opera Turbo.
This optional feature uses external servers and routing to compress data before it’s sent to your device, much in the way Amazon’s Silk browser operates. As a result, you end up with less data being broadcast to your device, so pages load faster and your mobile data plan will last you longer.

features of Opera:
  • supports Flash
  • offers Opera Turbo for quicker and less data-intensive browsing
  • versions available for high-end and low-end devices
  • occasionally slow on some devices, but performs well otherwise
  • lack of customization, does not support any plug-ins or themes. This is a shame as plugin’s can greatly increase the functionality of the browser

Firefox Firefox.png

Firefox is coming with enhanced performance, faster browsing speed and other security & privacy features. You can also customize your browser easily with the help of add-ons. Firefox for Android also has a distinct method of hiding and showing your active tabs. Dragging in from the left hand side of the screen reveals them, and you can continue browsing as normal. Either tapping the ‘X’ or pulling your finger to the right hides them again. This allows you to quickly see your tabs.
Firefox4 is progressively becoming one of the most preferred browsers for android phones because it has an easy to use interface and has been integrated with advanced features, such as, smart tabs. Unfortunately, it does not support embedded videos. Moreover, if you’re comfortable with Firefox on your Desktop, then using it on your Android can also be a good choice.

features of Firefox:
  • Firefox Sync integration, keep your history and tabs available on all your devices
  • can be slow to render web pages
  • innovative way of quickly hiding and revealing your Tabs
  • lack of ability to request a desktop version of a website
  • no flash support

Google Chrome chrome.png

Google Chrome is already a popular browser on computers. In fact, just a few days ago, it became the world’s most used browser. And for last few months, Google has launched and updated the beta version of Chrome for Android 4.0 devices. It is really extraordinary side from Google since they brought their cross-platform desktop browser to Android Platform. It supports almost all favorite Chrome elements like Incognito browsing, Auto-fill, and omnibox, etc. On the downside, even if Chrome loads most sites as a desktop browser would, occasionally some sites send a mobile version instead.
Chrome doesn’t have a toggle for requesting desktop sites and does not have Flash integration either.

features of Google Chrome:
  • clean and minimalistic appearance, but fast browsing
  • the same great tab management from the desktop sibling
  • does not support Flash
  • no ability to request desktop version of a website

SkyFire skyfire.png

SkyFire for Android is another mobile browser that is most commonly sorts after by android users. As a matter of fact, it has been ranked as the third best android browser by TechCrunch. One of the features that make SkyFire for Android appealing to most android users is integration with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Skyfire also lets your phone pose as a full-sized PC, so that you can access full desktop-optimized Websites if you choose. Although the stock Android browser can open multiple windows, its interface doesn’t allow you to navigate between them easily. To download and use SkyFire for Android, you need to be running android 2.0 in your mobile handset.

features of SkyFire:
  • support for flash video
  • Facebook QuickView
  • user Agent Switching
  • slightly faster than the stock Android browser
  • not customizable – Although SkyFire has many features, there is no way of customizing the browser by installing themes and plugins

Boat Browser boat.png

Boat Browser attempts to maximize the usage of your device’s screen by placing the toolbar on top of your web pages at the bottom of the screen, as you can see in the screenshot. It is fairly nippy in usage, though not the fastest of all the browsers here. It also doesn’t support Flash, which is a slight let down. What is does let you do is easily toggle how your device appears to websites. In the settings you can toggle between Android, iPhone, Desktop, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and iPad. Websites you visit will respond slightly differently depending on how they perceive your device.
Boat Browser also has a unique home screen, within which you can quickly add hundreds of your favourite websites for quick browsing.

features of Boat Browser:
  • add hundreds of bookmarks to the landing screen
  • doesn’t support Flash
  • toggle your device’s ‘appearance’ to websites, Android, Desktop, Firefox etc.
  • fairly fast in use

OverSkreen overscreen.png

OverSkreen is an extremely clever bit of kit. It overlays a window over whichever application you are currently running, and can be minimized, resized, and focused on when needed. You can have as many of these screens as you wish to.
It’s great that OverSkreen can render Flash. This means that the next time you’re going through your Twitter feed, you can open a video, wait for it to buffer and then watch it whilst continuing to look at other tweets. It’s a great ability, and it would be good for other applications to be able to replicate this behaviour. OverSkreen continued to impress me by having a ‘Request Desktop Version’ toggle switch that is easily reachable, and you can also quickly toggle the blocking of pop-ups. Though this wasn’t of much use in my regular browsing, it may well be useful for somebody else.

features of OverSkreen:
  • view web pages on-top of other applications
  • request Desktop versions of websites
  • occasionally slow to respond to window resizing, minimisation and closing
  • toggle the blocking of pop-ups

Xscope xscope.png

Xscope is the least well known Android browser of the lot. Even though Xscope isn’t very popular, it still has thousands of loyal fans. The browser adopts a Google Chrome like theme but this can be changed as Xscope has the ability of changing themes. One of the biggest features that the developers boast about is the file browser. Xscope has a built in file browser that lets you view all the data on your Android device.

features of Xscope:
  • makes it very easy to view webpages and access features
  • supports themes so can be customized to your liking. It’s a shame the browser doesn’t support plugins though
  • poor graphics – browser loaded very poor quality images, this may be the secret to its speed
  • pinch and zoom is very stuttery which made it very difficult to use
  • compared to other Android browsers, Xscope has very few features
by arawn
Aug 8, 2012
comnam90 and Robbie Hood like this.