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6 min read 111 comments

Best Android browsers: new ways to surf the web

Update: Added the speedy UC Browser

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. The latest addition to the list is the speedy UC Browser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UC Browser: total speed

This is an Android browser from China that has had millions of downloads on Google Play. The key to the fast browsing experience with UC Browser is data compression. Its interface is not the most beautiful in the world, but it does its duty without any problems. 

You'll be able to sync bookmarks and tabs between devices using the same Google or Facebook account. The browser is completely free, and it deserves a try - you won't come away disappointed!

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!


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  • Recently made a switch from Mozilla Firefox Quantum to Microsoft Edge browser on both Windows and Android OS. Enjoying the new experience and things seem to be better than I expected. I think I am not going back. Though I wish there was inbuilt tracking protection in Microsoft Edge on Android. Edge is a great browser, fast and secure (on both the platforms) and has a decent set of features. That is indeed a fact.

  • Surfy Browser has some unique features. www.surfybrowser.com
    I'm one of the creators. We’re a mum and dad operation, not a big company that’s going to sell your data.

    Besides it's fluid interface, it's packed with features such as immersive full-screen browsing, passcode and fingerprint protection, ad blocking, incognito, menu and toolbar customization, instant theme colors. It has text-to-speech, so you can listen to pages while browsing or using other apps.

    The passcode and fingerprint lock can be used to protect launching the app or even for individual bookmarks. You can save a session to a lockable tile and have private browsing automatically switched on.

    You can set up the browser exactly how you like it, by building your own toolbar and main menus.

    It has real swipable tabs that automatically collapse to get the browser out of the way when your browsing. It also has a full screen immersive mode, where Android's status bar and navigation bar are hidden.

    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.

    Our users love Surfy. We also have 25 volunteer translators that have translated Surfy into as many languages.

    I invite you to take a look. I think you'll be surprised.

  • Chrome Beta is my favorite one in the list. It offers many new features which are useful for different functions. I like these features in the new version of this app:

    - Faster checkout during online shopping through Google Wallet data
    - Fantastic refresh gesture
    - Various bug fixes

  • I use the Samsung browser, best browser out there right now bar none, and I have tried them all, it also has add blocker feature, which helps with the speed of web pages loading. You can get it in the play Store, if you don't see it with the phone you are using, just download the latest apk. I have disabled the Chrome browser in my app settings.

  • I'm happy with Chrome, mainly because it conveniently syncs desktop bookmarks and would add Firefox for the same reason if I liked small screen browsing better than I do, but don't. I also install Ghostery which seems the best anonymous browser (not for wickedness, but because it doesn't store browser fat after opening one-off URLs) and a little app called "Better Open With" that brings up a quick choice of apps before launching.

  • Dolphin and Chrome

  • Opera is the best on PC and the best on phone.

  • john Jun 5, 2017 Link to comment

    Try Wire.

  • 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.

  • 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 Jun 29, 2016 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.

  • 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)


    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


    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.

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