Which Mobile Browser is Right for Me?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on November 7, 2014, App Guides

Most of us these days use our smart phone to get on the web, and the vast majority of us are still using the default internet browser that came with our phone. But you do have other choices. There are actually a lot of browser apps available for download, and you might find that one of these apps is a better way for you to get online with your phone. We’ll be honest with you and say that a lot of which browser is best for you is a matter of personal taste, but there are definitely some unique features in different browsers that might be of interest. So if you’re ready to ditch the default and you’re looking for something else, we’re here to give you an in depth look at your other choices…

Chrome

Chrome App

Chrome App

Chrome, brought to you courtesy of Google, is probably the best known mobile browser, and it’s certainly got some high points. You get cross device support, which means you can export your bookmarks, passwords and even search results from PC to phone and back again. You get incognito mode too, so your phone won’t keep track of things that you might want to keep secret. Plus, Chrome is fast and easy to use, always good things in a browser. That doesn’t mean that Chrome is perfect though.

On the negative side, Chrome doesn’t support Flash, which could be a problem for some. And also, it really only works with Android 4.0 and higher, so if you’re running an earlier version of the operating system, this won’t be the browser for you. But if you’re into all things Google, especially if you’re a big user of Gmail, Google Now, or Google Calender, then Chrome could be a good choice.

Firefox

Firefox

Firefox

The second biggie is Firefox, from Mozilla. Again, you’re getting good cross device support with Firefox, and you can send bookmarks, passwords, history and even open tabs from your phone to computer. And Firefox supports Flash too, which Chrome doesn’t. There’s private browsing, tons of add ons and extensions (so you can have the browsing experience that you want), and plenty of added features.

What don’t we like about Firefox? Well, it is one of the slower mobile browsers, and it does use a lot of memory. However, if you don’t want to jump on the Google bandwagon, then Firefox is going to be a solid browser with great functionality.

Opera and Opera Mini

Opera

Opera

Opera is one of those browsers that’s been around for ages but that a lot of people have never tried. And that’s a shame, because it’s a solid browser with some nice features. Yes, you get cross device support, but there are also some added extras, like the ability to group bookmarks together into related folders. The one key area where Opera stands out though is for those that have small data plans or are worried about their phone bills.

The regular Opera browser has something called “off road” mode, and there’s also an Opera Mini version that completely functions in off road. This mode compresses data before it reaches your phone, meaning that you use up less of your precious mobile data plan. It does also mean that some aspects of web pages don’t show on your phone, however, so use with care. But for those that want lower bills or with older hand sets, Opera or Opera Mini will probably prove to be the best choice for a good web experience.

Dolphin

Dolphin

Dolphin

Dolphin has a rapidly growing fan base, and with good reason, it’s got some very sweet features indeed. One of our favourites is the gesture function that allows you to associate a certain gesture with an action, or even a web page. For example, drawing a G on your screen could be associated with bringing up Google automatically. Plus, the addition of Sonar means that you can voice search as well.

The biggest down side of Dolphin is that there’s no PC compatibility, which means you don’t get cross device support. For some that’s going to be a deal breaker. However, if you’re looking for a flexible, not to mention beautiful, mobile browser then Dolphin is hard to beat.

Other Options

UC Browser

As we said, there are plenty of options around for different browsers, and if you’re looking for something a little special, then maybe one of these lesser known alternatives could be for you.

UC Browser is a good choice if you’re a big downloader, since it lets you download multiple files simultaneously as well as suspending downloads and then continuing them if you lose your internet connection for a while.

Maxthon is perfect for those with lots of different devices, since it’s cloud based. This means that you can use Maxthon to synchronise pretty much anything you want across devices, no matter whether you’re Android, Windows or iOS, or running a PC or Mac at home. If you’re techie and have lots of gadgets, Maxthon is for you.

Dolphin Zero is for the paranoid (we’re kidding- a little). This is a stripped version of the regular Dolphin browser with privacy as it’s main aim. It’s sort of like constantly browsing in Google incognito mode. When you close your web session, everything (including passwords) is deleted. If you worry about online privacy, then Dolphin Zero is a great choice.

Easy Browser is the clear choice for those running low on memory or with older model smart phones. This is probably the lightest mobile browser around, using only around 200kb of memory. For you that means a fast, smooth web experience, even if you’re not running a top of the line hand set.

Finding the right mobile browser for you is a question of experimentation. Fortunately, you can download free app versions of nearly all web browsers, so you’re able to try out all the features that you want. It’s really worth considering doing away with the default web browser on your phone, particularly when there are such awesome alternatives available!