Best Web Browser: How To Select The Best One For Your Smartphone

web browser options

There are a ton of web browser options today. Which one is the best for you?

Perhaps you are one of those users who don’t change their default browser once they unbox their smartphone.

Maybe you are different.

You switch between them every week or so.

The thing is, there are a ton of choices for you to try out different browsers.

And yes we are talking about the mobile platform here.

Because, as weird as it may sound, the mobile platform now has an equal number of browsers when compared to desktop.

Of course, browsers on the mobile platform run a bit differently than they do in a desktop environment.

In this special guide, we will take a look at all the major browsers that are currently available in the market.

You might know the stalwart options already.

Most of the people who use smartphones either go with Google Chrome and/or Safari depending on their device type.

But you may not know that on the mobile platform, the likes of Chrome and Firefox have some serious challengers.

Challengers like the Puffin browser.

And many more.

Simply put, if you are interested to find out which web browser will perform the best on your smartphone, you need to give this guide some time and thought.

How To Benchmark Browsers?

Web browsers are more than just applications with tons of cool features.

They are about simplicity, functionality and of course speed.

And because of that, it is relatively easy to benchmark all the great web browsers.

Speed, is the best way to sort out web browsers and the find out which ones work best for you.

And this is the way we’re going to do sort them as well.

But here is the problem with benchmarks:

They are synthetic.

What does that mean?

It means that when you are done with testing a web browser’s features via benchmarks, the results come in the form of scores.

Benchmarks would have made more sense if they just gave you the time a web browser took to complete a certain task.

Okay, so why is that a problem?

That is a problem because certain browsers tend to game the system.

In other words, they game the benchmarks.

And hence get better marks even when they aren’t any good.

That is the reason why many web browsers, on mobile, that score good marks on benchmarks tend to perform lower than their score in real-world situations.

Most people like to make use of two benchmarks to separate good browsers from bad news.

These are as follows,

How Does Basemark Web 3.0 Work?

It tests web browsers by rendering online content in JavaScript, WebGL, and HTML5.

It also makes use of other web technologies.

How DOes PeaceKeeper Work?

Peacekeeper is different from Basemark because it only focuses on HTML5.

Hence, both benchmarks measure different things.

And that is why you have web browsers perform great on one benchmark and fail on the other one.

There is no single web browser that comes out on top when it comes to these two benchmarks.

Of course, we’re assuming here that you are using these benchmarks for an Android test device.

Google Chrome is probably the only web browser that manages to finish close to the top on both benchmarks.

And that’s why it has a giant market share in the current mobile browser user base.

PeaceKeeper Results On Android

According to peacekeeper, the best web browsers on mobile are as follows and in order,

  • Opera
  • Chrome
  • Opera Mini
  • Firefox
  • Puffin

Basemark Web 3.0 Results on Android

According to Basemark Web 3.0, the best web browsers on mobile are as follow and in order:

  • Puffin (by a huge margin)
  • Chrome
  • Opera Mini
  • Firefox
  • Opera

What About Tests On Apple Devices?

Our research shows that tests done on iPhone 7 Plus device showed no apparent winner either.

The only difference that our research showed was that Microsoft Edge managed to take the second place in the Basemark test.

It also managed to take the first place in Peacekeeper.

So theoretically speaking, Microsoft Edge is the best web browser in the world today.

On the other hand, Puffin which scored good marks on Android, completely tanked on iOS.

It didn’t even run the Basemark benchmark tests on iOS.

Basemark Results On iOS

The best comes first,

  • Firefox
  • Edge
  • Opera Mini
  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • Puffin

Peacekeeper Results on iOS

The best comes first,

  • Edge
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Puffin
  • Opera Mini

What Does All This Mean?

This means that any user who wants to find out which is the web browser, better get ready for some heavy-duty research.

Otherwise, there is no point on settling on just one web browser.

You have to keep in mind that no single benchmark can tell you which web browser is best for you.

Don’t just take a look at the numbers and see which is the fastest and then start using that.

Don’t do that.

What you should do instead is to research each web browser individually.

Since you don’t have time for that, we have gone out in the wild and have done that for you.

So let’s get to it.

Google Chrome (Available on iOS And Android)

google_web_browser

Google Chrome is one of the browsers that most people use.

Google’s Chrome web browser has an app size of 59.4 MB on the iOS and an app size of 182.0 MB on Android.

Regardless of any of its shortcoming, Google CHrome is the default choice for almost all Android users.

And there are many reasons for that.

The first reason is that it synch all of your data from Google Chrome desktop version to Google Chrome Android.

It can pull all of the user’s web browser history along with login information and bookmarks.

So it doesn’t matter if you are on your smartphone or on a desktop, Google Chrome will work flawlessly and without any issues.

The operating systems also do not matter for Chrome.

It works on everything.

Google Chrome is speedy and slick.

And that holds true not only for the desktop version but also for the mobile version.

Moreover, Google Chrome comes with its neat exclusive features such as giving the users the option to search the online world with nothing but their voice.

There are tons of other features as well.

Google CHrome has this one-touch search feature.

This feature is pretty handy if the user is looking for a quick way to search terms.

There is also a data saver mode.

This mode optimizes web pages and their size for the user via Google servers.

Google Chrome has this download button which the user can use to cache entire websites to view in offline mode.

And just like in the desktop version, Google Translate is available by default in Google Chrome.

Hence with Google Chrome, you can visit foreign websites and view them in the language of your choosing.

Google Chrome has done a terrific job of staying as fresh as it was when it came out all those years ago.

As mentioned before, Google Chrome is not the fastest browser (most of the times) in terms of scoring high marks on certain benchmarks.

It is not the most feature-rich either.

But the popularity of Chrome on desktop computer machines is the reason why it is so popular on mobile systems as well.

The biggest factor working for Chrome is its perfect integration with everything Google has to offer.

Chrome for Android and for iOS is definitely worth your time.

Besides, users always find it difficult to switch browsers from one operating system to another.

Hence, Google Chrome is the first choice web browser for most people who use Google Chrome on their desktop machines as well.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Google Chrome isn’t any good.

The mobile version of Google Chrome is nowhere near anything that we would call a bad experience.

It is fast and has certain on-screen elements which make the whole experience feel very smart.

The layout is great as well.

Most of all, even with all the features, the interface is uncluttered as ever.

And that is very helpful when you are trying to view websites on a small screen.

However, that is not Google Chrome’s strength.

Its strength lies someplace else.

Someplace beyond the app itself:

The Google eco-system.

This is why Google Chrome is the web browser of choice when it comes to any platform or operating system.

Google Chrome on its own isn’t as attractive an option as some of the other web browsers.

But it is what it brings in with the web browser in the form of other Google services that make it such as enticing option to try out.

Apple Safari (Available For iOS)

web_browser_options

Safari is another option. But only for people who have iOS devices.

What’s the app size for Apple Safari?

Does it matter considering how good it is on the iOS platform?

If you are using an iPhone then there is a great chance that you are just stuck with using Safari out of habit.

Apple has done a great job of adding new features to its default and proprietary mobile browser.

Quite recently though, the company has added some intelligent and effective ad blocking trackers along with more comprehensive Siti integration.

And just like Chrome, if you are one of those users who uses Safari on your desktop machine, there is a good chance that you would want to use it on your mobile device as well.

This is why Safari is more appealing than most other browsers on the iOS.

Like Chrome, Safari can also sync all of the user’s data across devices.

And that “syncing” includes things like,

  • Open tabs
  • Everything else that Google Chrome synchronizes

iPhone users can thank the growing reach of Apple’s iCloud for such features.

And because Apple has put in so much work in its products, its Apple loyalists continue to use the company’s browsers on all of their machines.

And perhaps rightly so.

They have no reason to switch.

So why should they?

Apple is integrating Safari ever more deeply into iOS so the situation is likely to remain the same for a long time to come.

For all its greatest, Safari is not the prettiest looking web browser in the world.

It doesn’t have the most intuitive interfaces of all of the web browsers either.

But that is not a problem.

Why?
Because Apple is great.

It doesn’t go after tracking you and analyzing your data with the same interest and zeal as Google.

Safari Benchmarks.

Safari scored very well in most benchmarks.

It has features such as,

  • The reading list
  • The reader mode

which are very helpful.

In the end though, it often feels like Safari has the same story as Chrome.

Safari is not a bad web browser by any stretch.

But because it has such a tight integration with the iOS and other Apple products, the least of which is the iPhone, that users would want to use Safari more because of the ecosystem rather than anything that the app itself might have to offer.

Siri is also growing in its influence.

And over the next couple of years or so, it will take over all of Apple products.

Hence the benefits of using the same web browser on a desktop as well as mobile would increase for sure.

We’re not sure what has stopped Apple from introducing Safari on the Windows platform as well.

And perhaps that is the reason why Windows users prefer to use Google CHrome instead of Safari when they use their iPhone devices.

Mozilla Firefox (Available on iOS and Android)

web_browser_firefox

Firefox is another old option. But it has always played as the second fiddle behind Chrome and IE.

Mozilla Firefox has an app size of 56.3 MB on the iOS and 53.9 MB on Android.

First of all, we have to give Mozilla Firefox the credit of giving users the first real alternative to Internet Explorer.

But that story is a part of ancient history.

Now, Mozilla Firefox gives users an alternative to the all-conquering Google Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox comes with the same set of cross-platform syncing features that other browsers, including Google Chrome, come with.

It has all the tricks up its sleeves as other web browsers.

Hence, again, if a user makes use of Mozilla Firefox on his/her desktop, it really makes sense that the user would do the same for his/her mobile as well.

Mozilla Firefox has got some features going for it that make it very competitive in the mobile web browser market.

It has this toggle features which can stop the autoplay feature on video content.

It also has a thumbnail system for all of the tabs that the user opens.

This layout option is better than Chrome’s stacked cards method.

Mozilla Firefox also makes it easier for users to switch from one search engine to another.

It gives the users the option to use various search engines such as,

  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Bing

And users can change them on the fly with a couple of taps.

This saves time.

Moreover, Mozilla Firefox blows a lot of web browsers out of the water with its choice of browser extensions.

Yes.

You can use a lot of Mozilla Firefox extensions on the mobile version as well.

Mozilla Firefox has ad blockers for the mobile version as well.

It has other plug-ins that can alter the feel and look of Mozilla Firefox and the web in general as you are using the web browser.

What About Appearance?

As far as visual aesthetics go, there are very few, if any, web browsers that can beat Mozilla Firefox.

It also offers a high amount of customizability.

Moreover, it backs those features and customization options up with other clever ideas.

Clever ideas such as support for a ton of browser extensions.

That feature alone is enough for many users to keep using Mozilla Firefox on their mobile devices instead of Safari and/or Chrome.

What about raw benchmark performances?

Our research shows that Mozilla Firefox scores pretty well on iOS tests.

But it doesn’t score as well on the Android platform.

Of course, you are free to try out Mozilla Firefox on both platforms yourself and then come to a conclusion.

Our research shows that Mozilla Firefox can provide you with a ton of fun options while you spend time in the online world via your mobile device.

If we are talking about features then Mozilla Firefox is probably the best web browser there is.

But the obvious question remains:

Does Mozilla Firefox do enough to make users want to change their default browser from Chrome or Safari on their mobile devices?

The answer to that question is a resounding NO.

That is especially true if you are already heavily invested in Safari and/or Google Chrome on your desktop computer machines.

Opera (Available On Android) And Opera Mini (Available on Android and iOS)

web_browser_opera

Opera is starting to make inroads in the mobile and desktop market. In other words, it is a viable option.

Opera has an app size of 71.0 MB on the Android platform.

We don’t know how much it weighs on the iOS platform.

Opera Mini, on the other hand, has a size of 21.3 MB on Android and a size of 40.6 MB on the iOS.

Opera is a web browser.

But we’re going to say that it is a very determined web browser.

Probably the best innovating underdog if you are using any major operating system such as,

  • iOS
  • macOS
  • Windows
  • Android

If there is any other major platform out there then Opera has support for that as well.

Recently though, Opera has given us clear indications that the engineers working behind the scenes are more focused on the Android platform rather than on the iOS platform.

That is especially true if we are only considering mobile platforms.

In fact, if we are being really honest, then Opera doesn’t really have the real deal for iOS users.

It only has the lightweight version for iOS users.

In other words, iOS users can only use Opera Mini.

And we all know what Opera Mini is good for:

Data compression.

And nothing else.

The full-fat version Opera web browser is only available to users on the Android platform.

The full version of Opera, only on Android, greets you with a Google Now-like news feed.

Users who don’t want that can disable it via the Settings menu.

There is also a handy, and new, speed dial feature.

Users can use this to view their favorite sites and then jump to them.

Searching and general browsing via Opera is clean and slick.

And as with most other applications that you use on your mobile phone, you can sign up for an Opera account if you want to sync browsing history and bookmarks across all of your devices.

More Opera Features

The full version of the official Opera app also has a data saving feature.

This feature can compress websites via Opera servers.

After that, these compressed web pages are sent to the user.

As far as Opera Mini is concerned, its only selling point on the iOS and Android platform is its data compression ability and speed.

Opera Mini is lightweight.

And it is ultra-compact.

Moreover, even though it is small, it still comes with offline pages along with ad blocking features and a simplified version of news feed.

Opera Mini also has a night mode feature which you can toggle on and/or off.

The Story With Opera Benchmarks.

If we are talking about benchmarks, then Opera has a pretty mixed story.

As mentioned before, Opera came out on top in the Basemark benchmark test for Android.

To make up for that, Opera hit the rock bottom in the Peacekeeper benchmark for iOS.

Just like the case with Firefox, Opera has a good bit of cool features going for it.

But you wouldn’t want to use it unless you absolutely wanted to run ad-blocking features as well as data-saving features.

As with Chrome and Safari users, if you use Opera on your desktop machine, then it is likely that you would want to use it on your mobile device as well.

And that is fine.

But if you don’t, then Opera doesn’t have enough to offer to tempt users to switch their primary web browser for its own offerings.

Puffin (Available For iOS and Android)

Puffin comes with an application size of 41.9 on the iOS and 32.6 MB on the Android platform.

A high percentage of readers wouldn’t know anything about Puffin web browser.

That is true at least in case of our list of best web browsers.

But if there is one thing Puffin promises you, then it is speed.

Pure, raw and awesome speed.

Puffin has earned its reputation as a web browser with fantastic speeds.

It is considered as lightning fast.

When you use it, you actually feel that it is faster than anything you have used before as you tap your way around different places on the web.

It can pop in elements almost instantly.

And most of all time, it can show you content on the page as soon as your eyes start to focus on it.

You can read content on a given web page very quickly with Puffin.

Hence, it made sense that we would include it in our list.

We also had a keen interest in seeing how Puffin did on the various benchmark tests.

Puffin, some would say as expected, gave us a lot of trouble when researching its performance on various benchmark tests.

Puffin came out with the worst performance on the Android platform Basemark test.

But on the Peacekeeper benchmark test, Puffin blew everything away by quite a margin (that too on Android).

Puffin refused to take part in the Basemark test on iOS.

How?

By not running it.

On the Peacekeeper benchmark test on iOS, it scored close to the worst web browser.

What Does It Mean For Puffin?

Puffin’s performances suggest that it might have some trouble dealing with the latest technologies that the web has to offer.

But if you are looking for a nimble web browser for your day-to-day web browsing, then Puffin may make a good choice.

Just like all other web browsers on this list, Puffin has some interesting features.

It has a gamepad-like overlay.

This helps users who like to play games on the web.

Moreover, it has an advanced data saving tool.

This allows users to make changes to individual settings for video and image quality.

If you want to browse the web and want to do so at the lowest load times possible, then Puffin may satisfy you.

At least if you are on Android.

Of course, you are going to have to give up all the syncing features.

And that means you won’t have access to your data from your desktop browser as well.

Puffin has a good quantity of really smart features.

They are packed in a way that makes the whole package a decent one.

But most users would want to use Puffin as a second browser and nothing more.

And you could that.

No one is going to stop you from installing two browsers on your smartphone device.

But don’t install Puffin as your primary browser if you are on the iOS platform.

Microsoft Edge (Available on iOS and Android)

Microsoft Edge’s application size is around 66.9 MB on the iOS platform.

This is the first time Microsoft has tried to compete with the iOS and the Android for mobile web browser market share.

And it has done that with a beta version of its desktop browser, Microsoft Edge.

Anyone who has a smartphone can sign up for Microsoft Edge testing.

If you are on the iOS though, you will also need to install TestFlight.

And if you are on the Android, you will have to join a waiting list.

As you can probably imagine, the queue for Microsoft Edge on Android is pretty long.

Hence we don’t have the necessary information on how Microsoft Edge performs on the Android platform.

We can talk about Microsoft Edge on the iOS platform though.

But you have to keep in mind that this is the beta version of Microsoft Edge.

In other words, it pretty much a work in progress.

Of course, we can show some optimism and hope that Microsoft will have a good chance at tempting some users to its new web browser.

If we are talking about pure benchmark numbers then Microsoft Edge has a lot going for it.

As the Peacekeeper test on iOS, Microsoft Edge beat all other browsers.

It came in Second on Basemark tests.

Of course, that might not be enough for you to switch to Microsoft Edge or even give it a try.

But consider this:

Microsoft Edge has all the standard features.

It has bookmarks.

And it has a reading mode.

But the main selling point of Microsoft Edge, at least on mobile, is not those features.

It is how effectively Microsoft Edge syncs with Microsoft Edge on the desktop.

However, the problem remains the same:

If you are using Firefox and/or Chrome across all of your mobile and desktop devices, then Microsoft Edge’s few milliseconds of extra speed is not going to be enticing enough.

We can give credit to Microsoft for at least trying to raid the Android market.

Microsoft is showing that it too can mature as a company who makes web browsers both in terms of its stability on the Windows 10 platform and its features.

Microsoft loyalists would no doubt want to use Microsoft Edge on their mobile device.

After all, it does allow you jump between computers and smartphones.

Microsoft has given us some good early impressions.

In fact, we think that if Microsoft continues to work on it then it can legitimately hold its own against some of the best web browsers in the market today.

Microsoft will make the Edge browser available to everyone in the very near future.

So stay tuned.

 

Which Web Browser Should You Use?

The conclusion we have come to may seem a bit disappointing.

Especially if you consider the work that goes into researching web browsers and then testing them out one by one.

But the end conclusion is simple enough and it is the one that we thought we would arrive at before the actual start of the benchmarking process:

Your browser syncing your life between mobile and desktop is a huge convenience.

This feature alone far outweighs any other kind of feature such as extra speed and or gaming pad interface.

What does that mean for you?

That means you will either go with Safari and/or Chrome.

The final choice will depend on what kind of device you have.

And how much you are invested in Apple or Google ecosystems.

You have to remember that Facebook and Twitter also have their own browsers, integrated right into their online services.

And the iOS is trying its best to make it hard for users to use any other kind of browser.

Hence, there is no point in switching to another browser apart from the one that you are already using.

If the likes of Opera and Firefox want to attract more users, they will have to get users install their apps on both mobile and desktop machine.

And this is where we think they will fail.

Why?

Because habits die hard.

Even if Firefox and Opera point out to people that they have beaten the likes of Chrome and Safari on a certain benchmark, people still would not want to switch.

And they can come up with all the dark mode features in the world and that still would make little to no difference.

Puffin is probably the only web browser that can establish itself as a second web browser.

It has impressive performances in some categories.

But it doesn’t have a desktop version.

That puts Puffin at a huge disadvantage given that the rest of the competition offer their web browsers on all platforms.

Microsoft Edge may become a big player in the coming years but it is still too early to say anything.

The one thing Microsoft can bank one is the huge Windows user base.

That can help the company make inroads directly into the Android market.

Moreover, Microsoft has polished its apps a lot recently.

In the end, we would say that you should go out of your comfort zone and try out alternative browsers.

Try them out on all of your devices.

Check out which one suits you the best.

But we have already warned you:

No browser has enough about it to force users to switch.

If I Want To Change Browser, How Do I Do It?

Okay, so you read everything we had to say but you still want to change.

You still think that there is something good enough about Microsoft Edge or Puffin that you would like to change.

Or maybe you are just sick of the default web browser that came with your smartphone device and want to change it to something more streamlined.

Then, of course, you will have to make a switch.

Let’s see how you can do that.

With Apple, you have no choice.

What?

Yes.

Apple doesn’t allow you to switch its default browser.

At least on iOS.

This is the web browser that opens a web link when you click on it.

But Google can help.

It has a kind-of workaround for it.

And if you use Gmail on your iOS as well then that is great too.

Tap that menu button that appears on the top left corner of your screen.

Then hit Settings.

And then Google Apps.

After that, you can set the option to open links that are in Gmail via Google Chrome.

What About The Stock Version of Android?

Well, all you have to do there is to open the Settings menu.

You can do that by tapping the Apps and notifications option.

Then go to Advanced.

And then go to Default Apps.

After that click on Browser app.

And then your smartphone device should show you the browsers that you have currently installed on your smartphone device.

 

Zohair

Zohair

Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
Zohair

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Best Web Browser: How To Select The Best One For Your Smartphone

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