Firefox Focus (review)

Privacy yay! Some basic features missing..... wait, what?

Firefox focus is a variant of the Firefox browser that provides much improved security features. It can be downloaded on Google play and IOS. Only needing ~7MB of storage, meaning that it is super light – at the expense of other features, which we’ll come to later.

Now when I first saw this, I thought “Why not just make this part of the default Firefox?” but then I remembered a good chunk of it is, which made me wonder what Focus did differently. Well, rather than a new tab page, you get:

We're giving stuff away to help celebrate our tenth anniversary. Are you in?

Oh. Wait. The app doesn’t let you take screenshots for privacy reasons. Luckily, this option is toggle-able in the settings, labeled as “Stealth mode”. So, you turn it off and get:

Is that an Edge of tomorrow reference?

Nice and simple, right? you just put in a search (or link) and go! So using Google as an example:

As well as the obvious, there is always a button that takes you back to the home page in the form of a rubbish bin. It just wipes everything and leaves you to it. The notification does the exact same. The URL (and the bin button) will only appear while you are at the top of the page, so if I googled bacon, for example, and scrolled down it would disappear with a satisfying shrinking animation.

The quick menu does at it implies. You can refresh, go forward(press your devices back button to go back) as well as use a bunch of options which makes me ask if Focus wants to be a Google in-app browser replacement. You can quickly turn the tracker blocker off too, or press the I for some FAQ’s.

Now, typically when most people look for a browser, they want some multi-tab functionality or at least a history to go back and look at things. You cannot do that here, as there is no tab system. You also can only watch full screen videos on Vimeo. You cant see or use permission popups (e.g. ask for microphone.)

You can of course send the page to another browser once you are happy with it, but anyone who wants a lightweight self-sustaining browser may want to look elsewhere. Shame too, I was looking forward to an app like this.

But of course, there is one real question: which of these two look better?

Courtesy of the RETRORIKA skin pack.

I’ll let you decide.