Skip to content

The best web browsers for Android, in-depth comparison

22 mayo, 2021

Browsers on Android are there to give and give away. A simple search on Google Play is enough to find hundreds and hundreds of them, not all of them equally good. The most used, and by far, is Google Chrome. Google pre-installs it on all Android devices and, although some manufacturers choose to implement their own alternatives, Google’s does not have a rival to overshadow it, at least in terms of user volume.

However, there are people who like to get out of the Google ecosystem and try third-party alternatives. To facilitate the search work, we wanted to make a small selection of the best browsers to analyze them, see their pros and cons and, finally, opt for one or the other.

The best free music players for Android: in-depth comparison

What do we ask of a web browser?

To be frank, a browser is what it is and the operation is exactly the same whatever the name or the developer. They all have a search bar in which the user must enter the URL or term to get the results. So far, so good. However, there are a number of requirements that, at least in our opinion, must be met in order for the experience to be as complete as possible. They are as follows:

  • Make it cross-platform and sync easily– Most people have a phone and a computer, so a mobile browser is more useful whose history, saved passwords and bookmarks are synchronized between both clients.
  • Have multiple privacy and security optionsThere is only one thing better than surfing the net, and that is doing it safely. If a browser wants to be considered “the best”, it is necessary that it allows the user to configure the security options at will.
  • That allows to change the search engine easilyAlthough Google is the most used search engine in the West, there are many other engines focused on different types of users. Being able to choose is always a plus.
  • Make it quick: not all browsers are the same as fast. Depending on the number of add-ons they have and the optimization of the application, there will be browsers whose operation is more fluid than others.
  • That is not very heavy in terms of internal storage: We agree that almost all Android phones already have a good amount of internal storage, but there are still devices with 16 or 32 GB of memory. That the browser weighs little is a point to take into account.
  • Have an intuitive interface: that is, it is easy to use and all accesses are easily identifiable. Also, if it is designed in such a way that it is possible to use it with one hand, even better.
  • Have dark mode– Dark mode is becoming an increasingly demanded requirement by users. Countless applications are beginning to implement it gradually, so it is appreciated that the browser allows it to be activated and favors use at night.

Our selection of candidates

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

We start with the giant among the giants. Google Chrome is the most popular browser, That’s right. It has its fair share of cool features, and since it also has the largest market share in desktop systems, it’s a highly regarded option. In fact, there we have the first positive point, and that is that thanks to the Google account we can synchronize all our browsing between mobile and computer.

It should be noted that Google Chrome allows modify the search engine (You can choose Gooogle, Yahoo !, Bing and DuckDuckGo), store passwords and log in automatically, set payment methods and shipping / billing addresses and modify the home page so that the web that we want opens when starting the browser .

Chrome is pre-installed on all mobile phones, so it is usually the default option for many users

Regarding privacy functions, Google Chrome allows you to activate safe browsing, in a way that restricts access to dangerous websites, and check do not track option, which sends a request to the web so that it does not track you. That will result in ads less according to your interests, but ultimately it will depend on how the website in question interprets it. You can also disable cookies and block third-party cookies, the execution of JavaScript and, finally, it has a deceptive or invasive ad blocker.

Regarding usability, Google Chrome is easy to use with one hand on small mobiles, although it would be appreciated that all accesses such as open tabs, the settings or the search bar are placed at the bottom. The experience is fluid, although it can be somewhat clunky on lower-end or less powerful devices. It does not have a dark mode, although we know that it is on the way and in the testing phase.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Firefox

Firefox

We move on to the next one, which could not be other than Firefox, the browser developed by Mozilla. Like Chrome, Firefox has mobile applications and desktop systems that can be synchronized with each other thanks to the Firefox account, so everything you do on the desktop will be available on your smartphone and vice versa.

In terms of functions, Firefox allows you to modify the home page and the language, activate full screen navigation (which hides the notification bar to make the experience more immersive) and compact tabs, so that you can see at a glance all the ones you have open and quickly return to one of them.

One of the most interesting points of Firefox is the possibility of downloading and installing external Add-ons

In the same way, you can choose different search engines. By default come Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Twitter and Wikipedia, although you can add as many as you want by pressing and holding the search bar and pressing the “+” icon. However, where Firefox stands out is in the privacy section, since it allows activating the no-tracking option both in normal and incognito mode, rejecting cookies and cleaning private data when closing the application.

Also, a point to take into account are the add-ons or extensions. Firefox allows download different Add-ons from your own store to improve the browsing experience, change the browser theme, add an invasive ad blocker, etc. It is a very particular function and one that will surely be liked by many users. Unfortunately, it does not have dark mode.

Firefox

Firefox

Firefox Focus

Firefox Focus

And now that we are talking about Firefox, we cannot stop talking about one of its latest releases such as Firefox Focus. It’s about a browser completely focused on privacy and to specific searches, which can be a positive point and, at the same time, a negative point. Positive, because it is private (in fact, it is like constantly browsing in incognito mode); Negative, because it doesn’t sync with desktop Firefox and can be a bit fiddly to use.

Firefox Focus has all the security and privacy options available and for having enabled by default. Blocks ad, analytics, social and other content trackers, allows blocking web sources and JavaScript execution, deleting cookies, and blocking screenshots.

Firefox Focus is very private, but may be too short for some users

The bad thing is does not allow having multiple tabs open at the same time or a search history to access. To exit the tab you have to press the trash icon, and that completely erases the history and all private data. The only solution to take advantage of it is to add shortcuts to the common access websites on the home screen, which can be somewhat tedious for some users.

However, if you are a user who does not usually surf the Internet too much and who cares more about privacy than the rest of the added functions, Firefox Focus may be an option to consider.

Firefox Focus

Firefox Focus

Brave

Brave

Brave is a Chromium-based browser, which is the source code that Google Chrome drinks from. However, its interface is quite different and, in a way, somewhat more accessible. Starting with syncing, Brave has a desktop client, but the syncing feature is in beta. Everything is said, the good thing is that you do not need an email or anything like that, just scan a QR code from the mobile app.

In relation to the functions, one that is interesting is the possibility of set up a different search engine for each type of tab (Google for the standard tab and Yahoo! for the private one, for example). Being based on Chromium it has many Chrome functions, such as password storage, payment methods and addresses, but Brave has added many more related to privacy.

Brave, in a nutshell, is like using Chrome without using Chrome

Some of them are HTTPS Everywhere, which forces the secure connection when accessing a web whenever it is available, closing tabs when exiting, protection mode against tracking, blocking of both general and regional ads. This should serve to improve web loading times.

Another interesting aspect is that in the main window it shows you how many ads and trackers you have blocked and how many HTTPS updates it has achieved, as well as how many seconds you have gained thanks to browser optimizations. Finally, in terms of usability, it is appreciated that the toolbar is placed at the bottom, which allows better use with one hand. Even so, it can be deactivated and put back on top.

Brave

Brave

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge

We left Mozilla and moved on to Microsoft, which a while ago saw fit to launch Edge, a spiritual replacement for Internet Explorer, on Google Play. As with Google and Chrome, Mozilla and Firefox, Edge has a synchronization system with Edge for Windows 10, so all your bookmarks and history will be available in both systems. You only need to have a Microsoft account.

Before talking about the functions, it should be noted that the first thing Edge does as soon as it opens the application is ask you if you want to set it as default. He is not the only one who does it, but it would be appreciated if he let you use it for a while to decide before assaulting you. That said, Edge has a very different interface to what we’ve seen so far, getting closer to the Windows 10 feature than Google Chrome or Android. It will depend on the personal tastes of each user.

If you use Edge on Windows 10, the mobile version is an option to consider

Now, speaking of the browser options we have the possibility to change search engine to Bing (default), Yahoo! or…