Lightweight Browsers

Introduction

Lightweight browsers are an alternative to the Heavyweight (or Mega-Browsers). Some people need a browser that will run on older systems or simply one with less features. The Lightweight browsers offer a large variety of alternatives from the traditional heavyweight browsers. Each review will highlight the key features of the 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.

Discussion

Flashpeak.com

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    The folks at FlashPeak.com have created two lightweight browsers in this category. Slimbrowser was developed as a lightweight high speed alternative for the Windows OS and uses the Trident engine. Slimboat is similar in appearance, but the core uses Webkit to offer versions in Windows, Linux and Mac OSx. Both are reviewed with emphasis on what makes each unique.

     

SlimBrowser - Windows

SlimBrowser   freeware version 7.00.070 was released Nov 28, 2013. Also available in a portable version, Slimbrowser is compatible with Windows XP(with SP2)/Vista/7/8, Windows 2003/2005/2008/2012. Runs on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. Minimum system requirement: Windows XP SP2+Internet Explorer 6.0 with at least 512MB RAM. Core engine is Trident.

Some of Slimbrowser's key features include full or partial screen capture, spell check, Site Groups, form Quickfill management, Photo management, and Social Networking. Quickfill is used to save form information from websites where you may repeatedly have to enter differing information. Once you complete the form, save the page and Quickfill will recall the information next time. It also supports multiple identity files for multiple users. Photo-Salon will create frames or other enhancements for pictures before they are uploaded. Auto size will automatically resize pictures to a customizable predetermined size for uploads without changing the original file. This is a good web browser for Windows only.
 

SlimBoat - Windows/Mac/Linux

SlimBoat  freeware version 1.1.44 was released Nov 27, 2013. Also available in a portable version, Slimboat is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/2003/2008/Win7/Win8, 32bit / 64bit, Mac OS X 10.6 or later, 32bit / 64bit, Debian-based Linux, Generic Linux (SUSE, CentOS, Mint, Fedora, RHEL, Slackware, etc. Core engine is Webkit.

Some of Slimboat's key features include Site Groups, and Social Networking. With Site Groups you can create groups of tabs for various websites to open all at one time. For example all your favorite news sites can be grouped so in one click they all open on individual tabs without selecting them individually from your favorites. The Social Networking has two functions. Web page sharing to all the popular sites like Facebook and Twitter or e-mail, and a Facebook button to quickly post web pages, web page text and images or your status by clicking a button and not having to login to your Facebook account. For a browser that is only on version 1, it's packed full of features in a lightweight format.
 

Torch - Windows/Mac

Torch is a freeware browser developed on the Chromium engine. Available in Windows (ver 29) and Mac (ver 25). Supports Windows OS: XP with Service Pack 2+, Win7, Win8 (Vista is not supported) and Mac OS X 10.6/10.7/10.8.

Torch is a media browser featuring built-in torrent downloading, media grabber and audio extractor. Also features easy media sharing to social media sites. Torch was considered as a mega browser, but it's lack of cross platform cloud support held it back. Really a powerful browser with a clean look, Torch can also be considered a Chrome alternative. Torch can be a good lightweight version if you want a browser that focus' on file and media downloads/sharing. Some people may find Torch's Chrome like UI off putting.
 

Comodo Dragon - Windows

Comodo Dragon is an alternative browser to Google's Chrome.  Dragon is based on Chromium technology and is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8.  Dragon incorporates the features and abilities of Chrome with enhanced security and privacy from Google.  
 
Comodo is a company focused on Internet Security.  You won't see a lot of bells and whistles in the browsers because their focus is behind the scene helping you have a better, safer browsing experience.  The features they do display are generally related to security like Web Inspector and Privacy Dog.  Dragon's UI is similar to Chrome but some of the buttons and menu options are different.  Install Comodo Internet Security (also free) to run in virtual mode, the equivalent of using a sandbox. Create an account and sign-in to share your browser settings on the cloud making them available to other computers you may use.
 

Comodo Ice Dragon - Windows

Similar to Comodo Dragon, Ice Dragon is Comodo's equivalent of Firefox.  Ice Dragon share's many of the same security features as it's Dragon partner but the UI and menu's are similar to Firefox (FF).  Ice Dragon is fully compatible with FF plug-ins and extensions.  Ice Dragon can also use Comodo's free DNS Servers to improve performance and privacy.  If you're looking for a  more stable, safer and faster equivalent to Firefox, try Comodo Ice Dragon. Compatible with Windows Ver XP thru Ver 7.

 

 

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Comments

by A__nonymous (not verified) on 2. January 2012 - 15:09  (86413)

GreenBrowser still has features from 2002 that are not available in any of the main browsers - IE, Chrome, Opera etc. The most useful is to be able to get a list of all the links on a page and sort them in various ways before either saving them or opening selected ones.

Its a fantastic no. 2 browser (for its features) but its like IE in that its slow.

by A_Nonny_Mush (not verified) on 31. December 2011 - 2:08  (86256)

I've been using QupZilla on Bodhi Linux for the past few days and it's very good indeed. Yes it has crashed a couple of times but I can forgive it that. Really like the built in Ad/Flash block and it's super fast.

by Tucker (not verified) on 29. December 2011 - 0:10  (86142)

Anyone here have recent experience with SlimBrowser? I have a 6 year old XP desktop and am looking for the lightest, fastest browser. Thank You

by George.J on 2. December 2011 - 7:47  (84267)

Should say that Opera is also really lightweight and uses less CPU. It works really fast and smooth on my low end desktop with 256MB RAM. Pretty impressive. I wonder how it could be included in this article considering that it's already mentioned in Mega Browsers section.

by Glenn Sanders (not verified) on 13. November 2011 - 10:08  (83192)

Well, on my low-end desktop, both QTWeb and k-meleon take twice as long to load as Chrome, and prowling around Task manager shows about the same resources used. I'll stick with Chrome I think.

by George.J on 13. November 2011 - 11:26  (83193)

Low end? What's your system specs? QTweb has near instant startup on low end PC's and the resource usage of Chrome spikes as the number of tabs increases because each tab separates as a process. Also if you look at the resource usage tables Chrome falls at the bottom of the pack among mega browsers too http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-web-browser.htm though it shines in memory management.

If you are working with just one tab throughout your browsing period, none of these browsers won't have much effect to your PC and you'll be safe.

by Glenn Sanders (not verified) on 14. November 2011 - 11:05  (83258)

Hi George

Win 7 Home premium 64 bit SP1, Intel E2200 2.2GHz, 4 Gb DDR2 RAM, 512 mb GeForce 8400, a couple of Tb across 2 hard disks. Nothing fancy, all a few years old. I'm just timing by counting seconds out loud, no stopwatch (we're pretty primitive up here in Australia), but Chrome loads in about half the time. Sometime soon I'll run some tests on my Asus eee netbook (2 gb RAM under XP) and see what happens there.

Cheers

Glenn

by George.J on 14. November 2011 - 11:48  (83261)

Your system specs is way too good to see significant differences in memory and CPU usage. You need to have a PC that has less than 512MB RAM, ideally for computers having 256MB or 386MB RAM. Firefox and Chrome are nearly unusable with more than 4 tabs opened on these systems. I have a low end system, specifically to test these kind of browsers. (A desktop with WinXP, Pentium IV CPU, 256MB RAM, 2GHz processor).

by Yanii (not verified) on 26. October 2011 - 2:04  (82131)

I just installed QTWeb browser. I first set my home page to CNN and then Yahoo.Regardless, when I first open the browser it quickly opens to the QtWeb for a second or so page then just as quickly opens to and stays on my set homepage. This is annoying. It should immediately open to my choice of homepage. Any ideas on how to remedy it? Thank You

by George.J on 26. October 2011 - 4:49  (82140)

I tried the same. What I feel is that QtWeb uses this feature for faster startup. And the page you're seeing is not QtWeb homepage but about:blank page. You see the same page when opening new tabs also. When a browser starts to about:blank page, the browser loads faster and consumes lesser memory. But this hinderance is only for fraction of a second and you'll be redirected your desired homepage.

by Tamara (not verified) on 19. September 2011 - 3:00  (79865)

Are QTweb browser and K-Meleon both compatible with Sandboxie? Also anyone know when K Meleon will be updated? It is waaayyyy past.

by arnie23 (not verified) on 19. September 2011 - 3:19  (79866)

I use K-meleon sandboxed. Sandboxie will run whatever you choose as your default browser sandboxed. If it's not your default browser, right click it and choose to run sandboxed.

by Tamara (not verified) on 19. September 2011 - 5:03  (79873)

Thanks for your info! Have you found KM much faster than other browsers? Also what about any upcoming updates?

by arnie23 (not verified) on 19. September 2011 - 15:12  (79895)

It is much quicker than anything else I've tried on the old laptop running XP that I use it on. Miles behind ff, chrome etc on features, looks etc. But if it's speed you're after, definitely worth a try. I don't use it that much tbh though as I mainly use BodhiLinux nowadays.

As far as when the next release is, the thread below from the K-Meleon forum may or may not shed some light on that.

http://kmeleon.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?8,118531

by MidnightCowboy on 19. September 2011 - 15:20  (79899)

Concur about BodhiLinux. Now my OS of choice. Fast, stable, safe and supported in a language I can understand :)

by George.J on 19. September 2011 - 3:25  (79867)

Yes, Sandboxie should run with any web browser without much issues. If you want to check the known conflicts of Sandboxie with other programs here's a list http://www.sandboxie.com/index.php?KnownConflicts

by Tamara (not verified) on 19. September 2011 - 5:04  (79874)

Thanks George for a speedy reply.

by Zinja22 on 30. August 2011 - 11:11  (78635)

Orca browser is also a lightweight.

by George.J on 30. August 2011 - 12:11  (78639)

Orca Browser is like Avant for Firefox, from the developer of Avant Browser. But it seems like it hasn't been updated for quite a while now. Last one seems to be way back in Dec 2009 and no beta versions have been out since. Anyway let me take a look at it.
edit:Orca Browser is no longer in development. It seems as if development have been shifted in favour of Avant.So it won't be featured in this page.

by Collier on 27. August 2011 - 10:02  (78431)

Tried all of them except Midori. Old slow system 2003 vintage. K Meleon best by some distance tho I like QT web as well

by Anonymous9090 (not verified) on 25. August 2011 - 13:17  (78332)

How about the Lunascape? Isn't a lightweight browser?

by supanut on 25. August 2011 - 10:03  (78321)

The World Browser is no longer being developed.
Last version is from February 2010.
K-Meleon is also nearly dead...last beta is from December 2010.

by Way (not verified) on 29. August 2011 - 17:19  (78576)

Isn't K Meleon nearing a new release? I thought I read that somewhere but cant remember where. Anyway it is past time for one.

by George.J on 25. August 2011 - 12:59  (78331)

--"The World Browser is no longer being developed.Last version is from February 2010"--
Support of IE9 kernel and various fixes have been implemented in its latest release 3.4.0.5 (April 11 2011) http://www.softpedia.com/progChangelog/TheWorld-Browser-Changelog-70722....
K-Melon 1.7 alpha2 development is in progress but is not yet officially out. It’s true that some of these browsers have crawling development, yet they are the best bets on systems like Win98, 2000 and even XP in resource consumption.

by Panzer (not verified) on 26. August 2011 - 10:03  (78380)

K-Meleon works on Win95 too.

by Joab on 24. August 2011 - 19:53  (78297)

I don't know if you've tried it but for me Comodo Dragon seems pretty lightweight and decent.
Definitely worth a try.

by George.J on 26. August 2011 - 8:39  (78376)

Sure, I'll give it a try :-)

by Joab on 26. August 2011 - 19:14  (78401)

The main downside that I can see is, that it runs in several processes, which I just find irritating and unnecessary.
After trying some of the ones in the article Comodo Dragon probably isn't worth a mention.
Good article :)

by George.J on 27. August 2011 - 3:20  (78414)

Yeah, it is common for all Chromium browsers to separate tabs as processes in memory leading to greater resource consumption if you have many tabs open. Anyways it should go into the category of "Other Browsers" which am working on right now.

by Anonymous225 (not verified) on 24. August 2011 - 11:59  (78250)

Avant browser is lightweight. Or it used to be...haven't used it for a while though.

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