Best Free Lightweight Web Browser

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Introduction

Lightweight browsers are an alternative to heavyweight or mega browsers because many people need a browser that will run on older systems or simply one with fewer features.

The lightweight browsers offer a large variety of alternatives from the traditional heavyweight browsers. This review highlights the key features of each lightweight browser and specify if the browser is good for older systems or has unique functions. Browsers that have not been maintained by the developer for 12 months or longer will not be considered. All the reviewed browsers will have the essential features of a quality browser including active security, web search, privacy viewing, pop-up blocking, download management, plug-in and extension support.

This page covers Lightweight Browsers. Read also our reviews on Mega Browsers and Specialised Browsers.

 

Rated Products

SlimBrowser  

Best web browser for Windows in terms of time savings


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free
Screen capture, spell check, Site Groups, form Quickfill management, Photo management, and Social Networking.
No cross platforms.
Read full review...

Torch  

A web browser with built-in torrent manager, media player and more


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Built-in features: Download accelerator, Media manager, Torrent manager, Music player.
Lack of cross-platform.
Read full review...

SlimBoat  

A fast and lightweight web browser across platforms


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Include Site Groups, and Social Networking.
No longer be further developed due to the performance and compatibility issue.
Read full review...

Comodo Dragon  

A lightweight browser alternative to Google Chrome


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Incorporates the features and abilities of Chrome.
No cross platforms.
Read full review...

Comodo IceDragon  

Comodo's equivalent of Firefox


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Fully compatible with Firefox plug-ins and extensions.
No cross platforms.
Read full review...

Related Products and Links

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Comments

The hyperlink in the review directs you to Comodo. The problem is the download link on Comodo's site redirects you to Download.com (AKA Cnet).

[Suggestion]
Change the hyperlink in the review to http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/Browsers/Comodo-IceDragon.shtml

For what it's worth, I've always used the CNet page to get Ice Dragon and so far it's always been a clean file with nothing bundled and no wrapped installer.

The Major Geeks link (http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/comodo_icedragon.html) downloads directly from Comodo but as far as I can tell it's exactly the same file.

For weak netbooks the best REALLY lightweight brs are QtWeb 3.8.5 and QupZilla, so was SeaMonkey 2.0.14 (but now this version is a little old). All three have portable versions.

Just tried K-Meleon, uninstalled it right away. I did not like it's functions or performance at all. And no (native or otherwise) adblocker.

Slimbrowser crashes all the time.
It displays this message on the tab:

This browser session has crashed for some reason. You can choose from the following two options:
•Open the same web page again.
•Open the same web page in compatibility view.

It uses as it's default in text search this page: http://search.flashpeak.com/?sbSource=searchbtn (their own web site)
which is a customized file: "Google (custom).qseg" None of the other search engines that are used by in page context are customized (wiki, youtube et al.)I'm not sure where to get a standard google qseg file and I didn't feel like editing in notepad.

I uninstalled slimbrowser right away.

Will add that it does have a good native ad blocker with a good list.

I use Slimbrowser regularly without issue. There may be a compatibility issue with your system. If you are interested in the software, I recommend trying the developer's forum here: http://www.slimbrowser.net/en/forum/ If you're looking for more of a Chrome alternative, try Comodo Dragon or for Firefox alternative Comodo Ice Dragon. To be fair I will say the lightweight browsers are less stable under certain conditions than the Heavy Weights. It's just a matter of which one will work with your system and needs.
Please post updates and information about Kmeleon in the Freeware Forum.

Thanks!
Vote in K-Meleon...

In case you're wondering, more browsers are being reviewed and the list will expand. Sincere recommendations are welcome.

I am using an old DELL Dimension 4300 with 256 megs of RAM. I am a Firefox fan and was using the latest ver 26. But I noticed how slow the computer became after opening FF. It was really using up the memory so I decided to try a lightweight browser. Came here to Gizmo's for a lightweight browser. Saw that K-Meleon was top rated so I downloaded and installed it. I liked it 's appearance and the way it handled bookmarks. Started using it. But the more I used it, the more problems I encountered. A lot of web pages didn't load right making a jumbled mess. Then I kept getting script error messages all the time. Pages wouldn't load until I stopped script. After disabling JAVA the script errors went away BUT web pages wouldn't load because of that. I searched the K-Meleon forums and there were no answers. Support was very poor I found. Then I missed a bunch of addons that FF had. The list goes on and on. All this with a new install of XP. Just a very bad experience with K-Meleon. Just a terrible browser. I'm going to try a few of the other lightweights.

If you want to stay with Firefox type browsers, you might try Ice Dragon Internet Browser by Comodo or Pale Moon. Both look, feel and function similar to Firefox and both will use Firefox extensions. Another issue that's been raised before is cookies - some are Flash cookies and can really slow down Firefox. I use the BetterPrivacy add-on to clean them out. A clean install also helps. :) I use FEBE or MozBackup - Backup to back up and restore my all my settings. I prefer FEBE because it allows you to pick and choose what extensions you want reinstalled.
Sorry to hear of your experience. I'm new to this category and haven't reviewed the programs yet, so if you would like suggestions and can provide more information about your system, like the version of Windows you are using, please post in our Freeware Forum. Thank you for your feedback.

After reading the comments here and at raymond.cc about GreenBrowser, I went to the MoreQuick website. At the bottom of the product page is an Award section with logos from eleven websites, most of which are unfamiliar to me. For one of those websites, the logo says simply "editor's pick"; but for each of the others there is a 5-star award.

I clicked on the Softpedia logo to find that Softpedia editor's rating is actually 3.5, not 5, for the current version; the 5-star rating was from 2006. Next, I found that 4 of the other "awarding" websites have been detected by some blacklist engines.

Similarly, I looked at the Awards page from Maxthon.com, and found that 10 of their 33 "awarding" websites have been detected by some blacklist engines.

So, from those two products, that's one-third of the "awarding" websites detected by some blacklist engines. Now I'm interested in the opinions of others, because this makes me wonder if it's common for legitimate developers to link to possibly unsafe "awarding" websites (perhaps just an oversight due to overzealous marketing on their part), or if this shows an ethics problem with developers who do this.

Thank you for the comments. Because you are looking for feedback and opinions, I recommend you post this concern in the freeware forum for dialogue. This comment section isn't for continued discussion, but your comments are always welcome.
I would probably attribute it to overzealous, but it is hard to believe that the developer does not know the sites are scams. I would think that a reputable developer would check the sites before listing. Many sites award the 5 stars to insure a link back to their site. This reminded me of a story I read a few years back - I just found it in a Google search. A developer became suspicious of "awards" his product was getting, so he created a fake program "awardmestars" to see what "awards" it for. The "program" was a text file that basically said this program does nothing, saved as an .exe. http://successfulsoftware.net/2007/08/16/the-software-awards-scam/ At last count, awardmestars had 23 5 star awards. http://successfulsoftware.net/2007/12/13/the-software-awards-scam-update/ The software was (and probably still is) available on hundreds of download sites, some even posting the screenshot that says "this program does nothing at all..." without even realizing what was going on. http://www.oryxdigital.com/awardmestars/awardmestars_screenshot.gif

That's a great story, I'd not heard of that before :-D

I did have a look at the Maxthon awards page (Maxthon having been my secondary browser for about a year now) and I found an award from a site that WoT flags as red. On the other hand when I ran the URL through Virus Total it scored 1/51 with WoT being the only one that flagged it.

I did notice that there's a "Gizmo's Top Picks - Product of the Year" award which no longer seems to exist, it just links to a "OOPs - We can't find that page" notice.

Other awards state the year, although there are a lot I've never heard of.

I'll check them all out more closely sometime and probably raise it on the forum to see if they have anything to say about it.

K-Meleon 1.6.0 Beta 2.6: What's new: - minor fixes to K-Meleon binaries - These include, but may not be limited to, an increase in the length of buffer size for injectJS, prompt and iniread, fix crash when too much result with autocomplete, and fix crash when session history is empty. - K-Meleon Restart Plus - The restart button will close and restart K-Meleon. - Skins Management - SkinSwitch allow the user to save and reload the toolbar layout for each skin. Extra Tools added: - Note4me provides the user a note taking system with automatic annotation of the date, time and URL of the page. - Groups2 provides the user the ability to store the URLs of the currently open tabs, and give a name to the group. - The PriorTabs macro causes closed tabs have their URLs stored in a list. - Quickstore provides menus for storing and using up to six URLs (to save the URL for a page or link temporarily). - StoreFS provides a method for the user to store selected input fields and make them available later for repeat input. For more info locate and open Additions.htm, which can be found within K-Meleon1.6.0_Beta2dot6_en-US.7z file. http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?1,112235,page=9 (download is at the bottom of the page)

I'm wondering about Java and Flash capabilities of the lightweight browsers. I'm using FF 21 and stuck with flash 10.3 since flash 11 makes FF bug. I'm using win XP on an Intel Dual core 4300 1.8 Ghz with 2 GB of Ram.

For the Avant Browser the web site claims to have the lowest memory usage but according to http://www.raymond.cc/blog/battle-of-the-browsers-in-cpu-and-memory-usag... they have the worst.

The tests at Raymond were done on a fairly good system, and these results may not reflect on a low end system in a similar fashion. Even though Firefox gets the lowest memory usage in the tests it's nearly unusable on a low end system running WinXP and less than 512 MB RAM.

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