There’s no shortage of great web browsers for Android, and which one you use is largely up to personal preference. If we had to pick one however, we still think Dolphin Browser is your best bet for speed, features, gestures, and add-ons.
- Tabbed browsing and a good-looking UI
- Multitouch and double-tap zoom
- A customizable home screen with shortcuts to common sites, apps, customizable wallpaper, and more
- Flash support (if Flash is installed)
- Dolphin Connect, which allows you to sync tabs, passwords, bookmarks, and history across devices or even to your desktop
- Customizable gestures that let you access bookmarks, jump to the top of a page, go to specific websites and tons more
- Dolphin Sonar, which allows you to navigate to web pages, open bookmarks, search, share, and bookmark new pages using voice commands
- A built in “web store” including plugins designed for Dolphin specifically for use with popular sites like Wikipedia, Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, Google Translate, and more
- Rich bookmark import and organization tools, including nested folders and one-tap access to your browsing history
- A library of over 50 add-ons like Evernote, LastPass, XMarks, Pocket, Jetpack, and ad blockers
- Ability to switch user agents to force the desktop, iPhone, or iPad versions of a web site to load
- A smart address bar that autocompletes bookmarked results and browsing history as you type
- One-swipe access (left to right) for bookmarks and (right to left) add-ons and installed apps
- A space-saving full screen mode that only shows tabs and other UI elements when you need them, opening up more room for the actual site you’re trying to read
- The Dolphin “key,” or a persistent, translucent button at the bottom of the screen that brings up the settings, Sonar, and tabs with one press
- Wi-Fi Broadcast, which allows you to send any site you’re viewing to other Dolphin users on the same network
- Built-in support for one-tap sharing of popular web services, including Box, Evernote, social networks, and more, without having to go through the Share Menu
I’ve seen Dolphin scream on devices where Chrome was sluggish, and beyond that Dolphin still supports every version of Android from 2.0+. Even though pre ICS devices are rare these days, those of us with Kindles, rooted Nooks, or older devices we want to re-purpose can appreciate that. Dolphin Connect gives you all of the features of Chrome or Firefox sync, without restricting you to a single browser, and the add-in store is packed with special plug-ins and modules for the web’s most popular sites. You even get a remarkable amount of control without installing anything, from changing the user agent (if you hate mobile versions of websites, you can load the desktop version), or if you just want to change the text size, font size, and the default zoom, and other elements of the page. Dolphin Sonar is also another nice touch—if you like talking to your phone, Sonar makes performing almost all of your common tasks as simple as tapping the microphone, or shaking your phone to bring up the voice prompt. Just like Firefox and Chrome on the desktop, you can add a number of features to the browser to fit it to your specific needs, whether that be automatically filled in passwords, blocking ads, adjusting the brightness of the page, full screen the browser, add a speed dial page, and more. If you want an even bigger speed boost, install Dolphin Jetpack, a replacement (and optional) browsing engine that makes Dolphin really, really fast. It’s specifically designed for older and less powerful phones, and while the Dolphin team doesn’t mention it on their site, it’s still available to people who have problems with the full version. Dolphin’s built-in gestures are also really convenient, letting you perform a number of different actions with just a tap and a swipe or two, which really speeds things up (after all, no one likes sifting through menus). The webzine add-on brings back Dolphin’s old streamlined “reading view” of webpages, perfect for reading articles without ads, widgets, or other clutter.
has an attractive interface, and definitely does a good job of pushing the clutter out of the way to focus on the site you’re reading, but its design does feel a little out of place on Android
, focusing instead on its own green and white color scheme than fitting in with the rest of the OS. It’s not running all the time, of course, just when you’re using Dolphin, and you can turn it on and off whenever you want, but the reason it’s not a core part of Dolphin
is because of the toll it would take on your phone.
Other notable browsers include Maxthon for Android
(Free, 2.2+) which boasts great speed and tablet views, as well as a packed
in RSS reader and options to switch site views quickly, and UC Browser (Free, 2.1+) which has a pretty bare bones foundation but tons of add-ons you can install to extend its features.
(Free, 2.2+) is a great browser if you use Firefox
on the desktop, as it can automatically sync bookmarks, open tabs, history, and passwords with you, and it also has a pretty good library of add-ons.
If you have an older device, a mid-range phone, or just don’t want all of the features that the full Opera browser brings to the table, consider Opera Mini
, a lightweight version of the browser with a focus on speed and loading pages quickly. Depending on the phone you have, Chrome
may be your stock browser. If not, the default Android
browser that comes with your phone is certainly servicable
, but it’s not as powerful as any of the above. It may be simple to use and very fast. If you need features, grab a third-party browser, but the default browser is a good choice if all you want is speed, stability, and simplicity.
|Comparison Between different Browsers