You probably spend a lot of time on the Internet. So isn't it worth making sure that you're using the right browser for you needs? 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.
Opera: best for data savings
"Do more online with Opera for Android," is Opera's slogan, and with more than 100 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, called Opera Mini mode, 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.
Opera touch: best for one-handed use
Another good alternative from Opera is Opera Touch, the browser designed especially for smartphone use. Even though most of us surf the web from our smartphones nowadays, most web browsers are not really designed for one-handed operation. Enter Opera Touch, the web browser optimized for surfing on the go.
It might be hard to break up with Chrome and Co., but the more you use Opera Touch, the more it's likely to impress with its speed and thoughtful design. If you’re browsing on your commute, and need a hand free for a bag or a coffee, you'll soon wonder how you lived without having your search, new tab, refresh etc all within easy thumbs reach.
Remember when Twitter put navigation buttons on the bottom, how much easier it got? Opera Touch basically does this for the internet. Be warned, however, that Touch doesn't have the data compression or cross platform tab synchronization of the standard Opera. Instead, it uses "Flow", which lets you send links, videos and notes to yourself via a QR code on your computer screen.
- Get it on the Play Store
Ecosia browser: most eco-friendly
Ecosia is a browser with an eco-friendly twist—searches made through Ecosia’s own search contribute to a fund that goes toward planting new trees. As much as 80 percent of Ecosia’s profits go toward planting new trees with the aim to plant a billion new trees by 2020. Let's face it, our planet could use the extra foliage.
Ecosia browser is actually based on Chromium, so it should feel quite familiar to Google Chrome users. If you're worried about being scammed, Ecosia posts all of its tree-buying receipts on its website, as well as financial reports for transparency's sake.
Microsoft Edge: not your dad's Internet Explorer
No, really. Stop. Listen. Internet Explorer is a joke, but Edge more than atones for the sins of the past. The main advantage is that if you use Microsoft Edge on any other device (like say, your Windows PC), then you can use this browser to continue where you left off on your phone, and you will find all your passwords, favorite sites, and reading list waiting for you.
There also are a few nice extra features such as a text-reading mode to make reading easier, and a QR code reader and voice search option. Then there's the Hub View feature, great for keeping your favorite content easily accessible.
DuckDuckGo: best for privacy
After the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal brought privacy back into the minds of the Internet-using public, you might be thinking about ways to stop websites gathering information about your browsing habits online. After all, it's not only Facebook tracking you.
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused open source browser which allows you to surf them with maximum security and privacy. Not only does DuckDuckGo not track your movement, but it keeps you free from ad-trackers, forces the highest level of encryption and provides information about the privacy of sites you visit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.