Every Android phone has a web browser but although they can be perfectly serviceable for looking at most websites there are plenty of others to choose from. We’ve picked five of the best, each with handy features like online syncing, password managers, data savers, and much more.
Top 5 Android browsers
Google’s Chrome web browser has a wide appeal and comes as standard on many Android phones, so you may not even need to download it.
Some of its best features might not be exclusive to Chrome, but to have so many of them in one place makes it an excellent way to access the web. You can sync bookmarks and search history across all your devices, save passwords, auto-complete forms, use the Incognito mode for private browsing that keeps your history to yourself, translate pages with the built-in Google Translate, control your searches with your voice, plus download pages and videos for offline viewing.
One of our favourite features is the way you can access recent tabs that you opened on another device. So, if you were reading a blog on your PC and wanted to continue on your phone, just check the Recent Tabs section and you’ll be able to instantly find the page.
With decent performance to boot, Chrome is a browser that takes some beating.
Another favourite among the Tech Advisor team is Firefox. This stalwart has been around since forever, but has constantly updated its features to keep in-step with the likes of Chrome. The latest version allows you to sync browsing histories, bookmarks, passwords, and access tabs open on other Firefox browsers you’re using on PCs, tablets or other phones.
Privacy is a selling point for Firefox, as it offers tracking protection and the option to clear all private data when you log out. If that’s not enough then you can also opt to use various third-party add-ons that exist such as Ghostery, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger and more.
Three’s even a completely separate app called Firefox Focus which specialises in keeping your online activities away from prying eyes.
A great browser that can often be overshadowed by the behemoths of Chrome and Firefox is Opera. This is a shame, because Opera has a lot to offer. Built on the same engine as Chrome, it shares many of the Google creation’s features, but adds a few of its own touches.
Opera is the first mobile browser to offer a built-in crypto wallet with which you can make online-payments. There’s also a free VPN (though it’s more of a proxy really), an ad-blocker, night mode, downloads manager, a data-saver mode that speeds up web page loading times, tab syncing between other open Opera browsers you’re logged into, and a quick zoom feature to increase the size of fonts.
Opera also offers a few different apps, including Opera Mini which focuses on speed and performance rather than extra features, plus the new Opera Touch which aims to make it easier to use one-handed even on the large Android handsets that the norm these days.
If you haven’t tried it before, we recommend that you do now.
Duck Duck Go
Yes, it’s a weird name, but Duck Duck Go has a brilliant ethos in that it believes that your time online should be free from any surveillance by the app itself or third-party companies that are often sold your web habits by other browsers. So it should be attractive to anyone bothered by Google’s deep tracking.
You won’t find a wealth of features when using Duck Duck Go, but its attention to safeguarding your privacy is admirable. Trackers are blocked at every turn, sites are forced to use secure connections where possible, the Duck Duck Go search engine keeps the questions you ask the web a secret, plus it even warns you of how safe a site is by displaying its unique grading system in the top left corner.
The app also has a feature where you can tap a button and instantly erase all of your browsing data, lest it fall into the wrong hands.
There are more feature-rich browsers than Duck Duck Go, but there are none as private. And since you can have multiple browsers installed on your phone, it’s a great option for when you want to search and browse without being tracked quite as much.
With environmental issues becoming an increasingly crucial part of modern society, Ecosia offers a way to turn your web searches into real-life trees! The company promises to use the ad-revenue generated from search results to pay for tree planting initiatives around the world. So far Ecosia users have been responsible for over 60 million trees and the number increases daily.
Now, that’s all well and good, but can you use Ecosia as an actual browser? Well, the answer is a resounding yes. Built on the same engine as Chrome, the app has many useful features that include bookmarks, tabs, download managers, privacy modes, and browsing history. It might not be the fully-synced experience of Chrome or offer the flexibility of Firefox, but if you just want to visit different sites online, all while doing a little bit to help the environment, then Ecosia is the way to go.