There’s more than just Chrome as an Android browser: the Play Store is crammed with apps that incorporate exclusive features or stand out for the speed of loading web pages.
Is one browser worth the other? Absolutely not. Especially on Android mobile devices where the offer is huge and the user has the opportunity to choose the product that suits him best.
While on iOS Apple has long imposed on web browser developers the exclusive use of the WebKit rendering engine, the same as Safari, on Android there are no restrictions and programmers can behave as they see fit.
On Google’s Play Store you can find many great browsers for Android.
The most popular and used Android browser: Google Chrome
Chrome doesn’t need any introduction: according to NetApplications it is the most used browser on mobile devices (not only on Android), with 63% of the “market” in May 2018 (Safari is relegated 27%, the other browsers all more detached).
Of Chrome for Android it is good to highlight some aspects: first of all, Google encourages users to login from within the browser.
In this way, all information on mobile navigation activities will be automatically synchronized with other devices in your possession. Not only that. You can get the list of cards open on your PC, the credentials stored, the sites visited and so on (in both directions, ie from PC to mobile device and from mobile device to PC).
It is therefore good to be well aware of what it means to synchronize Chrome data and possibly refrain from logging in with your Google account on your mobile device: Synchronize Chrome, what it means to access data from multiple devices.
Passwords can be stored locally on the device on which Chrome is installed without being uploaded to Google’s servers.
By accessing the browser settings, tapping on Privacy, Delete browsing data, you can delete data from previous browsing sessions while tapping the button at the top right with three dots in the column and choosing New tab incognito, you can visit any site without leaving a trace on the device (Unrecognised browsing, when to use it?).
By choosing the Add to Home screen option, you can transform any site into a sort of app that can be called up directly from your device’s home screen. The web page will appear full-screen without even showing the elements of the Chrome interface.
Chrome is also essential for developers who want to debug web pages on Android: Chrome Developer Tools on Android: how to unmask those who upload malicious content.
The obvious alternative: Firefox for Android
As with PCs, the first alternative to Chrome on Android is Firefox.
The browser stands out for the wide possibilities of customization through the installation of additional components, which on Chrome for Android is not possible to do.
Like Chrome, Firefox for Android also has a feature for synchronizing bookmarks, passwords and other information with other PC devices. Again, the synchronization activity is not mandatory at all and the user can safely leave this feature disabled.
For the rest, apart from a more pleasant interface than Chrome and a lower overall page loading speed, Firefox also allows you to activate incognito navigation and integrates a button to turn each web page into something very similar to the page of a book, with a simple and clear layout.
Android browsers to protect your privacy and overcome geographical limitations: Orfox and Orbot
Orfox is a fork of Firefox that is a product derived from one of the best browsers for Android.
Orfox is in fact the equivalent for Android mobile devices of Tor Browser: this app allows you to visit any website hiding your real public IP address, that is the one assigned by the telecom operator or the manager of WiFi in use (their own or others’).
All communications to and from the websites visited are made to pass through the Tor network making it impossible for third parties to monitor and modify the data packets transmitted. Orfox is an excellent choice for visiting websites on which you have doubts (this Android browser avoids the download of any potentially harmful content) and to browse online without leaving traces.
Orfox is so attentive to your privacy that it doesn’t even allow you to save screenshots.
To work this Android browser requires the presence of Orbot, the app that establishes the connection to the Tor network and acts as a local proxy for Orfox.
By default Orbot allows you to surf anonymously only with Orfox but if the intention was to protect all communications to and from your device with any other Android browser and with any app installed, just activate the VPN Mode switch.
In addition, if you need to overcome geographical limitations, by using the drop-down menu you can choose to exit on the Internet with a public IP belonging to many different countries.
More information also in the article Antivirus for Android: do you really need them and when to use them?
Opera Touch, a lightweight Android browser for one-handed navigation
Opera’s new Android browser stands out from its competitors for some exclusive features: first of all, by holding down the button at the bottom of each Opera Touch screen with the thumb of your right or left hand, you can surf the web with just one hand.
There are all the controls to reload a tab, close it, start a search, open a new tab, show all the open tabs and use Flow, the second interesting new feature of the browser.
Flow allows you to exchange addresses, texts and web pages between your smartphone and PC (and vice versa) so as to resume for example the navigation where you left it.
Quickly tap the icon at the bottom of each Opera Touch screen to access the browser’s Home screen, history, your Flow and settings (by tapping the small button at the top right).
Talk to Windows from your Android browser: Edge
Microsoft has recently developed and distributed the version of Edge for Android and iOS devices.
Very fast compared to many contenders, one of the main advantages of Edge for Android is the ability to exchange information with Windows devices that you own.
By tapping on the appropriate button (the third from the left) in the bar at the bottom of the browser screen, Edge can directly share content with the PC (by logging in with the Microsoft account used on the other machine).
Maxthon, less light than a time Android browser and full of additional features
Maxthon was born as an Android browser that focused on lightness and speed of loading pages as a winning weapon.
For some time now Maxthon has sacrificed part of his “name” to focus on the additional features that the browser is now rich.
Just think that Maxthon integrates an advanced password manager, a manager of notes and notes, a mechanism to lock images always or on data connection, the display mode of the interface “night”, a tool to keep the display always on, a feature for managing favorites, a manager of plugins, a system for managing temporary email addresses and much more.
The loading of web pages is lightning fast but Maxthon seems to have lost a bit of glaze compared to the recent past.