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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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