Android Browsers

Wednesday 30th, June 2010 / 05:39 Written by

The stock Android browser isn’t bad. The one thing I missed the most on the Android Browser though was the tabbed browsing of Mozilla Firefox. Some other features missing were – flash support for videos, easy sharing, gestures support etc etc. .

There are quite a few browsers available on the market each with its own unique features delivering  some of the features available on your favourite desktop browser. Some of the questions i asked myself while reviewing these browsers were the features most important to me which are –

  • Does it support tabbed browsing?
  • Does navigation work correctly – i.e. does Back take you back, does [OK] move you forth, etc..?
  • Is Flash video supported?
  • Does the Browser support Themes & add ons

Browser

Browser is the native Google browser that comes bundled with your Android mobile. Its a plain and simple browser that works! It  however lacks features that are pretty essential for the complete browsing experience like flash support, tabbed browsing, add-ons, pinch zoom etc.

Browser is in my opinion the least memory intensive and quickest loading browser among the lot, but as i said before, without some of the features i mentioned, the point is lost.

Pros

  • Least memory intensive
  • Fastest loading time
  • Native Google app so pretty much no FC’s at all

Cons

  • No Flash video support
  • No tabbed browsing
  • No add-ons or themes
  • No Pinch zoom

Dolphin HD

Dolphin HD for AndroidDolphin Browser HD Android App is the successor to popular Dolphin Browser. Featuring all of this mobile web browser plus so much more; swipe through Tabs, supports multi-touch Pinch Zoom, full screen browsing with many options tucked in menus, Gesture Shortcuts for bookmarks, browser controls, Add-ons and a lot more, skin your browser with Themes, and downloadable Add-ons of third party services. All this goodness is only available for Android 2.0+ phones.

Pros

  • Android mobile web browser with more features user experience enhancements over the default Android web browser
  • Add-ons like Google Services, Facebook Share, Bookmarks Widget, Read It Later, Twitter Share, Del.icio.us Bookmarks and more
  • Tabbed browsing with swipe
  • Multi-touch Pinch Zoom(as per you mobile)
  • Gestures as shortcuts for common commands
  • Add Themes

Cons

  • Update: Google requested YouTube Downloader feature removed since it violated Google’s TOS
  • Only available for Android 2.0+ phones
  • Slower load times between menus

Dolphin Browser HD QR Code

Skyfire 2.1 beta

Skyfire for AndroidSure, Google Android 2.2 users can download Adobe Flash Player 10.1 which can handle virtually any Flash content that’s available in a desktop browser. But many current phones like my Spica weren’t really designed with Flash support in mind (or vice versa), and Flash 10.1 for Android can lead to slow, choppy video playback, high CPU usage, and decreased battery life.

But there’s a way to access Flash content on a mobile browser without installing Flash 10.1 – Skyfire !

Skyfire Mobile Browser Android App brings full web browsing to mobile phones on many platforms and now on Android. The key feature it offers over any other Android Web Browser currently is the ability to view Flash Videos (something missing from fully capable mobile web browsers for some time now). Now you can play sports highlights from ESPN, news clips from the New York Times, high quality Vimeo vids, and music videos from Vevo (although I still found quarks in playing back some of these Flash video websites… says “Install Adobe Flash” or theres a small “?”).

Incorporated is the SkyBar along the browsers footer which entails: Video, Explore, and Share. Video sniffs out Flash video on a webpage and pops up a window when/if it finds a Flash video it can play. Explore searches trending topics based on the topics you’ve recently searched or created. Filtered are Videos, Trends, Tweets and Images. Share pops up easy sharing via other email and social apps installed on your Android phone.

A cool feature allows you to toggle browser to the full desktop version or you may choose to view the mobile-only version for faster page load and less scrolling… Either way it offers that choice by tapping the Android-slash-monitor icon in browser header.

Like other awesome browsers for Android it supports Pinch to zoom (on Android 2.0 and above), Copy and Paste, Find on Page, multiple window browsing, Bookmarks, Downloads, even a Report Broken Video feature.

Here’s how it works: Skyfire doesn’t actually render all web content on your phone. Instead, some of the heavy lifting is handled by remote servers. For instance, when you run across a Flash video or other Flash content, Skyfire’s servers will transcode the file into HTML5, allowing the Skyfire browser on your phone to easily display the video. I found a considerable increase in loading time though, compared to other browsers.

Pros

  • Finally play Flash Videos on mobile web browsers!
  • Choose to load full desktop web pages or mobile optimized versions
  • Multiple window browsing
  • Pinch to zoom (on Android 2.0 and above)
  • Clear session history easily upon exit to maintain anonymous browsing

Cons

  • Claimed super boost in web browsing speed was not there
  • Slightly Cluttered look
  • Considerable lag between using the browsers above mentioned features

Scan to download

xScope Lite

xScope LitexScope Lite is a mobile web browser, a file browser, and task management app for Android phones. The app is like the web browser merged with Linda File Manager and Advanced Task Killer. It packs everything and more from your standard web browser like Search, Bookmarks, Sharing options, multi-touch Pinch Zoom; plus other advanced features ability to change user agent to view a website in mobile or desktop version, take and share screenshots of a webpage, full screen browsing, browse in Multiple Tabs, supports Themes, download and

save YouTube videos (although I’m not sure how long this will last as Google requested this feature be removed from Dolphin Browser) and much more.

This is the closest i felt an android browser app there was to Mozilla Firefox and my personal favourite! One feature I really appreciated was the progress of page load in %tage on the right hand corner of the tab.

There are different versions of the app in the Market aimed at different versions of Android so beware which one you download.

Pros

  • Feature loaded mobile web browser for Android
  • Features files browser and task management
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Multi-touch Pinch Zoom (Android 2+ phones)
  • Save YouTube videos(although I’m not sure how long this will last as Google requested this feature be removed from Dolphin Browser )
  • Toggle user agent
  • Take and share screenshots requires xScope Browser (Web File Task) which is a paid app costing 2.99$
  • Supports Themes

Cons

  • Doesn’t exactly support browser flash videos. What it does instead is let you download the video to you phone to watch.

xScope Browser Lite (free) QR Code

About the author

ravi loves gadgets & music, is a digital marketing & SM strategist and aspiring novelist .. You can follow him @ivar5000

View all articles by ravi

3 Comments on “Android Browsers

  • You forgot to add Opera Mini in your review. I think that is a better browser than these, especially for slow bandwidth nations like India

    Reply
  • Opera is blazing fast since it compresses images and text but there are problems. There is a loss in image quality, if however you’re ok with that then opera’s just for you. But mind you there’s no multi touch so no pinch zoom and there’s no flash support. On other mobile devices Opera might be the browser of choice, but it still has a long way to go before it becomes Android worthy !!

    Reply
  • Pingback: Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 | My Android World

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