In the mood to change your web browsing experience on your Android smartphone or tablet? You’re in luck! Android offers a number of alternative options to choose from, some of which are downright awesome.
A few of these may sound a bit familiar to seasoned cell phone users as they have been around on other platforms. Others might resonate as they also offer desktop browsing counterparts. And then there are those which feel completely out of left field. Whatever the case, each of the following alternative web clients for Android are worth checking out.
Each app contains a brief description and a few standout features that we happen to like. You’ll not find a head-to-head comparison of the apps here; this is more of a “Did you know you could change the web browser?” article. We understand that many of you take this stuff for granted, however new Android users aren’t so savvy.
The list at a glance:
Chrome: If you’re using Chrome as your desktop browser then you owe it to yourself to try the official Android companion. We simply love the way in which we can log in and sync across multiple devices and think you will, too.. We’re talking tabs, bookmarks, searches, and everything in between. This is especially handy if you rely on Google Now on your handset. All of your favorite and expected features are here, including Incognito mode.
Firefox Browser for Android: Another web client that has a wonderful desktop counterpart, we’ve really come to appreciate the way Firefox works on tablets and larger devices. Standout details for this super-fast experience include the Awesome Bar and Awesome Screen which help sort and return results (bookmarks, history, etc) much quicker.
Opera Mobile web browser: One of the most often updated browsers on this list, Opera gets faster and more intuitive with each successive release. Social networking fans will enjoy the Twitter and Facebook integration while heavy users will admire the cross-device sync and Speed Dials. Additional features such as text wrapping to zoom, page size and orientation make this one a go-to app. See Also: Opera Mini Browser
Boat Browser – Highly customizable and feature-rich, you’d be forgiven if you’ve overlooked this Android web browser in the past. Like some of the “big boys” this one offers add-ons, bookmark sync, and pinch zooming. Unlike the others, we were impressed with the sheer number of ways we could personalize the look and layout of the browser. Go Pro for $2.99 and unlock the full potential or try a more moderate experience with Boat Browser Mini.
Dolphin – The most recently updated browser on this list, Dolphin is perhaps the most fleshed out client we’ve encountered over the years. We’ve really loved watching this one evolve and pick up features along the way. Not only do you get the same Speed Dial, sync, and sharing that comes with the others, but you can also share with other Dolphin users on the same Wi-Fi network. Draw symbols to access your favorite websites and bookmarks. Install more than 60 add-on apps and take things up another notch. Whatever, just check it out.
Skyfire Web Browser – Another one that has ripened with age, Skyfire has a little more flavor than some of the others. Features include dedicated sports, news, and finance buttons, quick access to related ideas, popular pages, and user agent switching. Facebook users will “like” the way the browser puts a Like Button on just about every single page on the internet. Bonus points awarded for being one of the first apps to deliver Adobe Flash experience on an Android web client.
UC Browser for Android – We fell fast in love with UC Browser and its not-unique-but-oh-so-slick approach to a clean and intuitive browsing interface. As fast as anything we’ve tested, we really appreciate features such as social network sharing, voice control, autofill, and multi-touch. The RSS Reader keeps you up to date with the news of the world while Night Mode ensures you don’t distract your loved one while reading in bed. Be sure to check out the tablet version as well as the Mini browser for a different approach.
One Browser – formerly iBrowser – Billed as the “fastest and smartest” browser, we might politely disagree. That’s not say, however, that you won’t enjoy the way in which it delivers quick access to wallpapers, games, news, and apps. Additional details include Night Mode, Evernote integration, multiple windows, easy sharing, and Private Mode. At more than 1 million installs and climbing, it seems many have already gotten wise to One Browser.