Five Best Android Web Browsers

There are dozens of great web browsers available for Android with all sorts of features. Whether it's syncing with your desktop or super-speedy browsing or support for Flash navigation, there are plenty of options -- some popular, others not so much. This week we're going to look at five of the best Android browsers.

Firefox

Firefox for Android has come a long way since its days in beta. It's fast, it's free, and it fully supports Firefox Sync, so if you use Firefox on the desktop, it'll bring in your bookmarks and passwords. It's the first mobile browser to truly support Do Not Track, and the "Awesome Page" start screen shows you all of your recently visited tabs. It even supports add-ons and Personas, although there aren't too many of them yet.

Chrome

Chrome for Android finally left beta late last month, which means now it can go on to be the new "stock" browser on Android devices... assuming you're running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean. It supports Incognito Mode browsing, bookmark syncing via Chrome Sync, and now anything that Chrome can sync on your desktop will be right there waiting for you on your Android device. The only downside is that Google hasn't made it available for phones running older versions of Android.

Dolphin Browser HD/Mini

Dolphin Browser is our favourite web browser for Android. Its options and tools are unparalleled, even when compared to the big-name browsers. It also supports dozens of third-party plug-ins and tools, speech to text and on-screen gestures to open bookmarks and navigate. Dolphin Browser comes in two flavours: the "HD" version for phones that can handle all of its features, and a "Mini" version for device owners who want speed and snappy performance over options. Even if you gravitate to one of the big names, Dolphin is worth trying.

Boat Browser/Mini

Back in the early days of Android, one of the first browsers to challenge the stock browser was a now-vanished app called Miren. If you liked Miren, Boat Browser is its spiritual successor. Fast, lightweight, and completely free, Boat is intuitive, supports add-ons and has a powerful voice control engine (so you can say "Facebook" and the browser will bring up Facebook for you). You can even skin and theme the UI, customise the speed dial start page with your favourite sites and more. If your phone can't handle the full version or you just want a lighter browser, Boat Mini is there for you.

Opera Mobile/Mini

If you're a fan of Opera on the desktop, Opera Mobile will suit you perfectly. Opera Mobile supports Opera Link, so you can sync your bookmarks, speed dial and other user preferences with your desktop Opera install. Aside from that, Opera Mobile is fast, free, and compresses data in the background so you can browse your favourite sites without blowing through your data allowance. Opera even has its own mini app store, full of third-party add-ons and games. Have an older device? Opera Mini might be a better choice -- you get most of the features with even more speed.

This week's honourable mention goes out to the stock Android browser: the one that ships on most phones pre-Ice Cream Sandwich. It varies from OEM to OEM, but plenty of folks are happy with the one that comes with the phone.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your favourite Android browser, even if it wasn't included in the list? Make your case in the comments below.


Comments

    Could you guys please stop referring to android Apps as just phone apps! Depending on the actual App, it could be optimised for the phone or a tablet. Referring to all of them as phone Apps can be confusing! These browsers in particular are designed with features like 'desktop' to make them run similar to a PC and mini versions which I can only assume are optimised for phones.

      Hey, I know what you sayin, but the reason thet say android apps is because the topic says 'best android browsed

    Recently I've been using Maxthon Browser, very happy with its full screen browsing and great rendering of pages. It's my favorite Android browser right now.

    Thank you! I have been wondering which browser to upgrade to on ice cream sandwich. It's good to know that Chrome supports incognito since I use it quite a lot! Might even try Firefox too, because I still prefer it on PC

    I used Opera mini for the last 18 months or so. But Chrome seems a bit faster. I am interested to see if there is any change in my data usage though.

    Tried them all. It is either stock or chrome for me OR overskreen. Check it out. It is a floating browser than can be resized and ran while using other apps. Most useful on a tablet but well worth looking at. Oh an it let's you play YouTube songs and then lockk your screen unlike all other browsers which then stop

    Loving the new Chrome but they need to allow at least some type of extension so I can use my Lastpass. Thinking of switching to Dolphin because of this :/

    Opera has one outstanding feature that makes it the only choice IMHO: one touch zoom to automatically fit text to screen. I.e. never have to manually zoom, never have to scroll sideways.
    Unbeatable.

    firefox is not compactable for 4.0.3 (asus tf101)
    Dolphin is gd with the addons
    Chrome is better but it lacks flash (RIP Adobe)
    Stock browser is best as it has everything except sync feature in chrome
    opera is not that tempting
    Ovetscreen is expensive :p

    Chrome on my S2 ICS device is a bit hit and miss. It's amazing for browsing, but trying to type or search causes it to lag and freeze, and then crash.

    Have used each browser for at least two weeks, and finally settled for Opera Mobile. Love the Turbo option which cuts down your data usage. I use Firefox on my desktop.

    After the recent (or not so) upgrade to 4.0.3 for my Asus tf101 I have decided that dolphin is the best for my situation. It offers snappy browsing, (the normal version, havent tried the mini) and _the_ best thing is the fact that there is no lag on the on screen keyboard.

    I've used almost all the browser but no one is better than opera it works awesome even on 2G network.

    I'm gonna have to recommend Opera Mini.
    Browsing is fast, and more than tolerable on my otherwise lethargic 500mhz cpu. Still rocking the original Motorola Droid thanks to this app. Opera rocks.

    Chrome is my favorite at the moment. I like it's bare bones function, and love how you can swipe to change tabs, but hate the process of creating and closing tabs.

    If I find something that interests me I send it to Pocket (Read it Later) and read it on my desktop, I do the same with RSS (using gReader), as I'm not one of those idiots that thinks a phone can seriously replace a PC.

    I HIGHLY recommend boat Browser over the rest. I've tried all of these for months on end and even tested side by side and no only is boat faster, simple UI and has great add ons, it has great support and is updated all the time.

    After using android for over 2 years all I can say is the best one is dolphin (forget chrome or Firefox which are too laggy even on quad core s3.And if you want a simple yet effective browser in 2g networks or low plan data go for opera mini..

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