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Best Android browsers: 8 ways to surf the wave

Update: Flyperlink added

Everyone has different criteria when trying to find the best Android browser. Some want the fastest, while others are looking for a browser that will consume as little data as possible. Here are the best Android browsers you can get, whatever features or experience you're looking for. 

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These are the best browsers on Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

1. Opera: best for data savings

"Do more online with Opera for Android," is Opera's slogan, and with more than 50 million installs from the Play Store, it appears that many believe in it. Opera has been around on desktop for almost 20 years and the Android version offers many of the same great features, plus some helpful extras. 

Opera browser syncs across multiple devices so you can take the same browsing experience from your smartphone to your PC. It also includes typical functions such as bookmarks and private browsing. 

But it's Opera’s data-saving features that really set it apart from other Android browsers. Opera can compress videos when viewing on mobile, so they use up less of your data (but still provide a great viewing experience), in addition to saving a few bytes when viewing regular pages.

It's not the fastest browser but once a page opens you almost always get the whole of the page at once; there's no waiting around for extra images to load.

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Opera Browser for Android is clean and efficient. / © ANDROIDPIT
Opera browser - news & search Install on Google Play

2. Chrome Beta: to stay ahead of the curve

I'm not just talking about boring old regular Chrome. This is the better version of Chrome. It's the Beta version... 

Stay ahead of the pack by getting the latest Chrome updates before they reach your mates who are still rocking the standard Chrome version (losers). Chrome Beta gives you access to new features first, and although you're encouraged to provide feedback, it's not a requirement.

Stability problems with Chrome Beta are to be expected, but they are so infrequent that we are still recommending this browser ahead of the normal Chrome.   

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Chrome Browser Beta gives you new Chrome features first. / © ANDROIDPIT
Chrome Beta Install on Google Play

3. Flyperlink: best for multitasking

Apps like Flyperlink look to place the traditional browser in its grave. They work on the assumption that our browser is often a secondary, background tool that we refer to frequently. Flyperlink allows you to open links in a floating window that is easily minimizable, being kept permanently in the foreground as a small bubble, which you can press on to expand. 

Flyperlink allows you to use the share button in an app to open its contents in a floating window, and support for Chrome Custom Tabs was also recently added.

If you often need to switch between apps and web pages, or there are a handful of sites that you frequently refer to, then Flyperlink is an excellent solution, and could well even replace your default browser.

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Flyperlink is the ultimate multitasking browser. / © ANDROIDPIT
Flyperlink Install on Google Play

4. Firefox: best for customization

Firefox is a stalwart of the browser domain and, as such, offers a very solid experience. But more than that, its comprehensive features list makes it a close contender for the top spot. Syncing the mobile browser with the desktop version works brilliantly, and it offers tons of customization options, from reorganizing your home panels to a host of fully-integrated add-ons. 

Elsewhere, Firefox comes packed with the usual array of privacy and sharing options, and the reader mode provides a clean way of displaying articles without any clutter.

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Syncing's easy on Firefox and the customization options are excellent. / © ANDROIDPIT
Firefox. Browse Freely Install on Google Play

5. APUS Browser: smallest download

APUS is known best for its launcher, but now it's entered the web browsing fray with a lightweight mobile browser, which has a simple, minimal aesthetic. At just 0.6 MB in size, APUS Browser is definitely 'slim', but it offers some additional features which might surprise you.

One such feature, which is enabled by default, is that, when you copy text on your phone, the browser will prompt you to search for it online. It's a nice touch and means that when your friends ask, "Did you see that picture of the raccoon riding on the alligator?" you're one step closer to finding it.

APUS Browser also allows you to disable images that show up in searches in order to save data. As a free browser, it's definitely worth a shot, especially if you're not running the newest, most powerful hardware.

androidpit apus browser hero
APUS Browser is lightweight and fast: what more could you want? / © ANDROIDPIT
APUS Browser - Fast Download Install on Google Play

6. Link Bubble Browser: best for time-saving

Link Bubble Browser is a little bit cheeky. It doesn't offer a dedicated search function, but we think it's the browser of the future. 

Developed by Chris Lacy, the brains behind Action Launcher 3 and the fantastic TapPath Browser Helper, Link Bubble is known for one key feature: when you click on a link in an app, Link Bubble Browser will load the web page in the background, and let you know once it has fully loaded.

This allows you to carry on with what you are doing, rather than waste time hanging around for web pages to open in front of you. Clever and useful.

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Link Bubble Browser is redefining the way you browse the internet. / © ANDROIDPIT
Link Bubble Install on Google Play

7. Puffin Browser Free: best for speed

Puffin Browser free is an interesting choice. Not only is it quick and highly customizable, with backgrounds and other add-on functions, but it also has the ability to emulate a mouse cursor and a trackpad. It's ideal for those who miss the laptop experience on mobile. 

Puffin Browser works by transferring material to its cloud servers before delivering it to your handset, which helps with loading bigger website files on devices with smaller bandwidth (i.e. smartphones). For this reason, Puffin Browser may well be the fastest Android browser, but it does feature some annoying ad banners across the bottom of the screen.

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Puffin Browser can emulate a cursor and trackpad. / © ANDROIDPIT
Puffin Web Browser Install on Google Play

8. Dolphin Browser: best user-experience

Dolphin Browser is a favorite among the Android community. It's functional, it looks great, it's feature-packed and comes with some great gesture controls too. It's also very handy when it comes to transferring preferences between devices and sharing content.

Possibly the best part of the Dolphin Browser experience is that it still supports good-old Flash Player, meaning you don't have to suffer just because older websites can't keep up with current technology. 

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Dolphin Browser is one of the most popular on Android. / © ANDROIDPIT
Dolphin - Best Web Browser 🐬 Install on Google Play

What's your favorite Android browser? Do you use a safe and private browser? Or do you just care about speed? Tell us what you think in the comments.

Readers' favorite comments

  • Advocate Jun 24, 2015

    BEWARE OF APUS!!! I thought it was really nice and good - until I looked at a log of what my phone was doing after installing this app. First - you should know - APUS is made by a CHINESE SOFTWARE COMPANY in Beijing!
    My log shows after install a constant attempt to talk with various websites, including Fabric's Crashlytics, as well as constant attempts to download ads. Several new processes constantly running on the phone - one from Fabric, and others all designed around advertising including with a unique identifier for you,
    I think this is a very dangerous app, the disclosure of what they're doing is highly deceptive and I suggest taking this app off the phone and off this website!

102 comments

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  • I've been trying alternatives to chrome on my Galaxy note tablet, over the past couple of days. So far just firefox and dolphin, but it's left me wondering why they deserve a place anywhere near the top eight. Firefox has a subtle but unpleasant 'permanently zoomed-in' look (and actually loads pages zoomed in, with a slice off the right side); it's slow; it mucks up page loading so that all tappable/clickable elements... aren't, or that parts of the page offscreen don't load at all; keys on my touchwiz keyboard go dead; and so on. Dolphin isn't much better. It crashed twice in two attempts to comment on a blogspot page, along with the rest. Google wouldn't let me sign in after umpteen attempts because it said 'there's something strange about the way you're trying to sign in'. (what is this I don't even) It randomly jumps to different parts of the page while scrolling. It's almost incapable of dealing with flickr. Heck, even using it to browse Androidpit right now, it's causing huge blank gaps to appear between comments.
    I'm astounded to find out just how clunky these highly-regarded, highly-recommended browsers actually are. The native browser on my tablet might be almost completely devoid of features, some of which I'd actually like, but it can effortlessly carry out some of the ridiculously basic tasks that firefox and dolphin struggle with, in my experience. I'll take that over any amount of customisability, gestures or flash, thanks.

    It's almost enough to make me run back to microsoft. But in the event that I don't have £300 to spend on a working browser, I guess I need to keep looking. Next up, UC browser. Let's see what kind of fit *that* throws when I make such unreasonable demands like 'look at a web page'.

  • Can i get Google play

  • I've tried most on the list. Ultimately I've settled on Yandex. The browser is smart, intuitive and has one of the most pleasant UI I've ever experienced. They just had an update and their developers seem to be highly engaged. Additionally, the various feeds that you have the option to choose from actually returns relevant information based on your browsing. I'm very excited about this browser and I was a heavy Chrome user. One more thing; If you decide to try it, take the time to get familiar with it's capabilities. Just go to settings>help to gain insight on all the features.

  • Currently using UC. It's been performing well so far.

  • There's a new browser on the block and it's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. (my wife and I are the creators). It's name is Surfy Browser and it was recently app of the week on Gizmodo UK.

    It has a passcode and fingerprint lock for launching the app or for individual bookmarks. You can save a session to a lockable tile and have private browsing automatically switched on. It has an ad blocker. It has text-to-speech, so you can listen to pages while browsing or using other apps.
    It has real swipable tabs, mobile optimizer.
    It's more customizable than other browsers; with 21 thousand color variations, you can set the color of the tabs, application bar, and accent; and even set the background to your favourite photo. There are too many features to list, but here are a few more:
    ✔ Desktop mode
    ✔ Multiple search providers: Google Bing DuckDuckGo Yahoo! Baidu
    ✔ Searchable history
    ✔ Clear cookies and cache with history.
    ✔ Set desktop or reading mode for individual tabs
    ✔ Share pages via Email SMS, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, & NFC
    ✔ Night dimmer
    ✔ Save images & open links via context menu
    ✔ Find on Page
    ✔ Customize tabs and application bar colors
    ✔ Pin pages to the Launch Pad

    Also, we're a mum and dad operation, not a big company that's going to sell your data.

  • Chrome has features? Who knew.

  • Isra G. 3 months ago Link to comment

    I used Chrome from KitKat to Lollipop in my Nexus 5 and my Macbook...... but looking for a good (and free) way to sync bookmarks and opened tabs i tried Opera (in computer too).
    That is a good Combo.

  • neha 6 months ago Link to comment

    I would like to suggest you cool browser.In todays era there are many apps which are available on net and have lots of feature.but I would suggest you cool browser pro.which provides you an ocean of information and you can download music and videos.It is cool app as per its name.It is user friendly.As per my suggestion you must have cool Browser Pro.Following steps will help you to download cool browser pro.
    1) Download & Install Cool Browser Pro from Here.
    2) Launch Cool Browser Pro and Set it as your default browser.
    3) Now go to the video which you want to download
    4) You will see a blue color icon with down arrow on the bottom right of your mobile screen.
    5) click on it, select the size and dimension of the video and your download shall start.

  • CJ Brown 8 months ago Link to comment

    Chrome

    I will stick with the stock Android browser, thank you (which means I never use whatever browser is included in the bloatware in an Android Smartphone)

    Firefox

    Because the company behind this browser is going into the shitter (Mozilla) I wouldn't recommend it, but I know a lot of Firefox browser fans are moving on to the Vivaldi browser


    http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/5-reasons-to-use-to-vivaldi-instead-of-chrome-or-firefo-1771284757


    It all comes down to personal opinion as far as I'm concerned ;-)

  • This post is really helpful for me, Thanks for sharing this. Currently I am using Nano Browser and it works great as well.

  • I use Opera full time and a fan of Dolphin as well.

  • Search en google Play: Androwser: Multiview Browser

    Androwser: Multiview Web Browser is a new concept of multiview Web browser, specially designed for mobile and tablets to quickly view and configurate your bookmarks. Idea comes from the need to visualize and compare the newspapers, loading them all at once and quickly also it can be used as a complement to bookmarks to your default browser in the mobile or tablet (as can be Chrome).

  • My fav. browser is BROWSE SIMPLY WEB BROWSER it's very smooth and light weighted specially for low ram phones. and the best part is it is developed by a young Pakistani boy Arsal Khan

  • Alex W. 9 months ago Link to comment

    I'm using Dolphin and I'm very happy with it. I also liked Opera mini.

  • andy 9 months ago Link to comment

    I use rs browser for Snapdragon chiped phones (works best on forums and very fast )and dolphin ,when im down loading gifs or pictures i still use Chrome as Android seems to put them were you can find them again with it 😒 dont know why 😦

  • I'm presently using uc browser and it seems to be the best I have ever used in terms of speed and data savings

  • I like CM Browser, it's fast and light. I've tried Opera, Chrome, Firefox and UC, but I always go back to CM Browser.

  • opera mini is also good for those who have low RAM .Great list any way.

  • Why uc didn't make the cut i used them all and uc is best next time include uc browser ok

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