Your smartphone comes loaded with a browser and you probably use that without ever changing it. But that might mean you are missing out on a much better web experience if you never tried other browser apps.
For a lot of people, Google Chrome is the default mobile browser. The latest Chrome 66 update has introduced a new UI and changed the media player. You can do a lot more with Chrome on Android than you think, and the iOS version is an excellent alternative to Safari.
But look beyond Chrome. There are other mobile browsers out there that can completely change your gateway to the internet.
1. Smooz (Android, iOS): One-Handed Browsing With Gestures
Usually, browsing on your smartphone requires two hands. You hold your phone in one, and you swipe with the other. Most browsers don’t enable a good one-handed experience where your thumb does all the work. Most browsers aren’t Smooz either.
Smooz offers a fresh and unique web browsing experience with its gesture-based navigation, tab manager, customizable gesture controls that trigger a multitude of functions.
For example, tap and hold a link to open it in a new tab. Swipe to switch from one tab to the next. Pin tabs with a custom gesture so you don’t accidentally close it or browse away from it. It’s quite intuitive, and you’ll love the experience.
Of course, you’ll need to type with one hand too.
2. Cake (Android, iOS): Better Search Experience With Quick Loading
Cake reckons that the current mobile browser is a miniaturized version of the desktop browser. So, the team set out to build a browser made for the smartphone. It focuses more on helping you find and browse things easily.
Cake is unique in offering to change how search works on the browser (Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other).
When you enter a search query, instead of displaying the regular search results page, Cake will load up what it determines to be the most relevant website. You’ll then be able to swipe through a carousel of other, related pages if the first doesn’t suit your needs.
The browser also offers deep customization. You can use different search engines for different purposes, like Google for web search, Giphy for images, YouTube for videos, and so on. Plus it has ad-blocking, popup-blocking, and many of the other features in the best modern mobile browsers.
3. Internet by Amazon (Android): Light, Fast Browser With News Feed
It’s called internet and takes less than 5MB of storage space. It is quick to launch as well and behaves like most common browsers. There is even a “private mode” which some other light browsers lack. And Amazon has included something to make it feel more like Google’s Chrome: a news feed.
Open the app and you are greeted with a page that is exactly like Chrome on mobile, with your most frequently visited sites followed by recent news about topics you are interested in.
Amazon also claims this is a private browser, but it’s unclear how or why that is. The app still asks for permission to your photos/media/files, your memory storage, and full network access. Granted, it’s not as intrusive as Chrome, but take the “private” tag with a pinch of salt as Amazon has some issues with privacy.
Currently, it’s available exclusively in India, and requires devices to be running Android 5.0 or later. Like many other “lite” apps (think Facebook Lite, YouTube Go, and others), Internet takes up very little space — less than 2MB. Compare that to Chrome, which takes up 21MB of space, or Firefox, which requires 19.9MB, according to a report from appFigures. The extremely pared down nature of the app gives users plenty of extra space to complete downloads, which might otherwise be costly and extremely time consuming.
Download: Internet for Android (Free)
4. Samsung Internet Browser (Android): A Weird but Interesting Choice
Samsung internet is a Chromium-based browser, so most features are what you’d get in Google Chrome. But use it once and you’ll immediately notice the speed difference. Samsung internet feels much faster. It is also better at a lot of the things that you might find limiting in Chrome, like the download manager. And in a surprise move, the Samsunginternet browser actually uses much less battery than Chrome too.
Finally, Samsung has done something that Chrome still hasn’t: extensions. There isn’t a huge number of extensions yet, but the ones that are there prove useful.
5. DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser (Android, iOS): Privacy First, Browsing Second
By default, the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser will ensure you are on an encrypted connection with the site, and it blocks common malicious trackers as well. Each website gets a privacy grade according to this, so you know if you’re on a site that can compromise your data. At any point, you can tap the “Fire” logo to clear all your browsing data.
Apart from that, it’s a simple web browser that offers everything that big browsers like Chrome have.
Know How Browsers Compromise Privacy
If you use the browser that came with your phone, it’s important to know that this is probably compromising your privacy. The company that sold you the phone, or the one that made the browser, or both will be tracking you across the sites you visit.