Posted by Nikoletta Ventseslavova
Undoubtedly, the most popular mobile operating system at the moment all around the globe is Android. Like a desktop computer, or a laptop, Android devices come with standard browsers. For some of us, the standard Android browser is fast enough and has a few cool features. Nevertheless, being the default browser doesn’t mean it is the best. Depending on our personal needs and the way we use an Android mobile device, we may need a more feature-rich web browser. Many smart phones and tablets cause headaches to consumers. Android is an exception, because they have many optimized web browsers, developed especially for multitasking. In addition, they possess a good user-interface and they load web pages fast. In this article I am going to present you a review of the most popular free Android browsers to help you decide which browser corresponds best for you.
The master of all browsers, launched from almost every mobile phone platform is Opera Mini 5. It has two mobile browsers – the full-size (12MB) Opera Mobile, and the smaller (767KB) Opera Mini. Opera Mini is a perfect solution for low-bandwidth situations. It brings uniformity in mobile internet users, because it supports all the latest browser features like homepage thumbs, bookmarks, Google search, start page, saved pages, downloads, etc. It is also a very effective web browser, due to its ability to compress the browsed data our mobile device doesn’t need. As a result – pages are good-looking and load quickly, even if the signal is poor. The friendly user interface also has a bookmark sync service – Opera Link and a built-in RSS feed reader. The two versions of Opera have the same features. Here’s the small difference: browsing with Opera Mini is faster, but Opera Mobile is better at rendering pages (they look like in the same way as they do on your desktop PC). Unlike Firefox and Dolphin, the Opera browsers don’t support add-ons. Opera loads its browsers with its own application store which is accessed from the start page.
For those of us, who need freedom to surf flash-based videos on a mobile device, Skyfire browsers are the perfect solution. One of the most powerful features of Skyfire is its prominent Flash support, even on devices that don’t play Flash. PCWorld experts explain that “Skyfire transcodes the videos on its own Web servers and serves them to the phone in an Android-compatible format.” They evaluate it as “a dramatic improvement over the stock browser’s video playback–especially for the many devices in the wild that don’t yet have Android 2.2, which has Flash support baked in.” In addition, this enables users to play flash-based games. Skyfire lets our mobile devices pose as a full-sized PC and we can access full desktop-optimized Websites – something the standard Android browser doesn’t offer. Other benefits Skyfire possesses are: its easier window navigation and a file download manager that allows us to control the download progress and downloaded files. Also, the Skybar has an option for Google search and many social networking icons.
If you are looking for an alternative to Dolphin HD services, you will like this one. The Firefox Web browser from Mozilla brings the best of desktop browsing to our mobile device. In addition it has a clever interface and is customizable, enhanced with the latest privacy features which will help us stay safe online. “Firefox for mobile allows users to take the Firefox experience they love everywhere and minimizes typing with features like tabbed browsing, bookmarks, add-ons and Firefox Sync,” says Mozilla. In addition Firefox focuses on web content – it has a one-touch bookmarking tab and browser controls, which hide when they are not in use. Firefox fans are able to access easy their history and open tabs quickly; they can capture important websites, save to PDF format and share pages via applications like email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, etc. The most highlighted feature of this browser is its secure synchronization. It gives users the option to access bar history, bookmarks, and passwords; it has the ability to synchronize between data across multiple PCs and devices with secure end-to-end encryption.
Dolphin has the following versions: Dolphin Mini, Dolphin and Dolphin HD. The differences between them let users choose the number of features they need. Dolphin Mini has the emphasis on speed. It is appropriate for speed dials, as well as for opening of many tabs. Dolphin, the middle version of the browser line lets us open a URL, reload the page and move forward or back, which speeds up our web surfing. Users gain a whole list of features with the biggest of the group – Dolphin HD. It has taken ideas from Google Chrome – there are many plug-ins like: Lastpass, screen capture, speed dial, read later, Ad blocker, RSS readers, Last.fm, Delicious, Twitter. It looks familiar to Firefox.
Dolphin HD has a tabbed interface and is able to install more than 40 add-ons for better performance. Some of the best ones are: Adblock Plus, Tab History, Wikipedia Search, etc. For the most enthusiastic add-on users Dolphin HD provides unlimited add-ons installations. It has several themes, in case we get bored. One awesome feature is Dolphin HD’s user-defined drawing symbols that give our mobile device commands. It has a flash support for Android 2.2.
Choose the right one
Browser choices depend on what we value most when browsing. If you want a quick page loading without add-ons, the Opera Mini browser and Skyfire are good choices. For customization, Firefox is a perfect match for our needs. For reading on the go, try Dolphin.
Consider also network coverage and the way we browse. Opera Mini works best in poor coverage environments. With a good connection the Dolphin HD provides the most functionality. According to the PCWorld experts Skyfire is the best browser overall, “due to its fast page-load speeds, extensive features, and video support”.