Best Free Web Browser for Android



Although Android devices come with a default web browser, there are many others available that offer extra features designed to make your browsing experience easier or more enjoyable.

Due to a bewildering array of choices in the Play Store, choosing a mobile browser on Android is not a simple task while there are a wide variety of Android devices in the market, from very low resolution, low powered small screens, to screamingly fast big screen tablets that would put some PCs to shame.

This means that no one solution works best on all those devices, even before you consider the personal choice and different browsing habits of the user.

All is not lost though. There are a number of factors that may make your decision easier, and I will try to cover those in the article to point you in the direction of apps that are likely to work in your situation.

For those looking for a quick solution, read the Short Answer; and if you want a little more detail, see the Long Answer at the end of this page.


Rated Products

Dolphin Browser  

An excellent choice for a mobile web browser with impressive add-ons and other features

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Multi-tab browsing, bookmarking and syncing, Flash and HTML5 support, versatile add-ons, easy bookmark management and access, extensive feature set and regular updates.
Bloated features may cause slow performance, occasional glitches with Flash playback, potential privacy concerns.
Read full review...

Opera Browser (for mobile)  

The browser to beat for all round performance, reliability and ease of use

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Fast, tabbed browsing, Opera Turbo compression technology.
No add-on support, no full-screen mode, only syncs with Opera on desktop.
Read full review...

Opera Mini  

A fast and light browser for those who have slow download speeds or high data costs

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Fast, light on resources, Opera compression technology to reduce data usage, tabbed browsing, supports 96 languages.
No Flash or HTML 5 support, doesn't re-flow text, no full-screen option.
Read full review...

Dolphin Browser Express  

Designed to be lighter, simpler, and less resource heavy

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Small footprint, fast performance, intuitive layout, Flash support.
Limited browser syncing to desktop, privacy concerns for some, lack of updates.
Read full review...

Other Free Web Browsers for Android

These are other web browsers for Android not rated currently in this review but included here for reference.


Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:


The Short Answer to Using A Mobile Browser

In my opinion, if you have a reasonably recent piece of hardware running a recent version of Android, then the best choices are:

1st Choice: Opera Browser
Alternative: Dolphin Browser

If you have an older machine, or lower spec hardware:

1st Choice: Dolphin Browser Express
Alternative: Opera Mini


The Long Answer to Using A Mobile Browser

As detailed above, various factors may affect the decision as to your final browser. I discuss these factors in more depth below, and then will try to offer a review of every browser.

Limiting Factors:

  1. Small screen size & resolution

    The smaller the screen, the more important it is that your browser does not waste any of that valuable screen real estate with superfluous buttons. If screen size is limited, you may in fact find that the built in browser is best customised to work with your hardware restrictions. If you want to try alternatives though, features like full screen mode and good zoom and pan controls are a must. The ability to effectively re-wrap text to fit within the screen as you zoom will also be essential.

    1st Choice: Dolphin Browser Express
    Alternative: Opera Mini

  2. Low powered device

    On a low powered device, you want the browser to load quickly and add the minimum of overhead. You may well be best ignoring features such as Flash (often resource hungry) and add-ons in order to obtain snappy browsing speeds

    1st Choice: Dolphin Browser Express
    Alternative: Opera Mini

  3. Limited data connection speed/limit

    Websites are getting bigger...

    In the early years of the Internet when dial up modems were the norm, website designers would spend hours honing their sites to be the smallest possible, to ensure a speedy experience for their users. With the advent of cheap broadband that is largely no longer the case. Instead designers seem sometimes locked in a battle to see how many images and flashing ads they can fit on one page at once!

    However, on a mobile, data speeds can still be in dial up modem territory. Whilst 3G and (in some places) 4G have helped, the extra speed often comes with a pathetically small data limit, even on so called 'unlimited' data plans.

    If you regularly browse image laden websites, or spend all your time watching YouTube videos, you might find that you hit your data cap sooner rather than later. If you're lucky, you'll just be limited to a slower speed until the end of the month - if you're not so lucky you'll suddenly find charges on your bill for the extra data.

    Some of the browsers below attempt to help, by collecting the pages for you on their servers, compressing larger images and files, then squirting the smaller, leaner file to your mobile device. In most cases, you won't notice the quality difference, but you may notice the faster load times.

    If you are on a very small data cap, or need the fastest browsing you can on a slow data speed, then the clear choice here is Opera Mini (or Opera Browser if the phone is more capable). Both these browsers include the 'Opera Turbo' technology, which aims to reduce the amount of data each webpage uses.

    Note: For the privacy conscious amongst you, the Opera Turbo technology means in effect that Opera acts as a 'proxy' for your connection and could, in theory, read everything your browser shows. If you are using secured browsing (https://) websites then the connection is direct and this cannot happen. In practice, this is unlikely to be an issue for many, but it is something to be aware of.

    1st Choice: Opera Mini
    Alternative: Opera Browser

  4. Current desktop ecosystem

    It may not appear initially relevant, but this factor could end up being the decisive factor in your choice. If you run a  particular browser on your main computer, and want to sync bookmarks easily between your PC and android device, then you will need to choose one that is compatible. In most cases that will mean using the same software on both, although in a few cases there are workarounds.

    In general however, the Opera Android browser will only sync with the Opera desktop browser, Firefox and Chrome likewise.

    You may need to decide whether the ability to sync bookmarks is important to you. If you tend not to browse the same pages on both, or in fact specifically want to keep the bookmarks separate, then you can ignore this factor entirely when making your decision.

    If you do want to sync though, bear in mind that when browsing certain sites on your Android device, the site may detect you are using a mobile browser and serve up a different page without some of the frills, giving you a different experience. There are ways to avoid this, although often the mobile pages are easier to use on a smaller device and more touch friendly.

    There are alternatives that will synchronise your bookmarks between any browser but they are generally not free and so outside the scope of this website.

    1st Choice: dependent on users' needs

  5. Compatibility / Accessibility

    For some, the websites you surf will restrict your choice of browser. Particularly in corporate environments, internal web apps may only work on certain browsers. Services such as banks, which require you to log in, may not work well on certain mobile browsers, if at all. Many browsers are also not well adapted to those with accessibility issues, such as limited vision, poor finger control. In this area, the reviewers' knowledge is limited so any suggestions, comments or experience is welcomed in the comments below. In general however, it may be that Dolphin Browser is the one to work best here, purely because it has so many add-ons, some of which may make it easier to customise the browser to your specific needs

    1st Choice: Dolphin Browser



This software review is copy-edited by Jojo Yee. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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Vivaldi should definitely be on the list.

I suggest "Lightning Browser", it's lightweight and gets the job done.

In the early days of Firefox for Android, it really wasn't usable at all. Then, I had a look at it a few months ago... wow! I now find it as good as the desktop version... great improvements. I now use Firefox on both my phone as well as my PC. I will recommend Firefox.

Thanks all for pointing towards UC Browser - tried Google - It knows exactly what I typed in my Windows machine - Good if you like it's spying - I don't.
- OK a few points - ideally use DuckDuckGo as I cannot abide anything to do with Google as other peoples s/w is about 10mb - Google's can be up to 140mb and it saves everything (seen talk of History files of 5Gb) it's S/W is so bloated that I just want any other s/w BUT Google.

- Dolphin (intrusive and tries as hard as possible to sell stuff and at the end of the day wasn't simple) It may be OK but I gave up. (Couldn't stop it tracking)
- Opera was just a pain (Couldn't stop it tracking)
- Opera mini - seemed ok and better than Opera but still not as good as or as fast as UC (Couldn't stop it tracking)
- UC 13Mb Fast, simple (AdBlock already installed) - still can't find how to use DuckDuckGo (Couldn't stop it tracking)

Other people may find Opera or Opera Mini or Dolphin but I like UC so thanks for the advice.

Never heard of this one until yesterday.
Don't like to exaggerate, but do believe it to be the fastest to surf with.

UC Browser

Don't you find your phone being plagued with ads when you are running UC Browser? One of my friend has it installed, and he was running it, and ads were popping up every few seconds.

My personal favorite is Dolphin browser as its user interface is the best, it is quite faster than other browsers available for android devices & it has support for almost everything we generally run on a typical smartphone. UC browser comes a close second but there isn't any match for dolphin browser.

Uc Browser : good performances, very good on youtube like sites, bad on plugins (no ad block, a few useless), a few crash, fortunately good recovers when you as, *** BUT *** after having opened a few site, it popups a Nag screen that you can't cancel (you can't quit UC Browser neither), it forces you to install an android antivirus. It is too bad and sad that they need to disturb us when we are watching web sites. A serious doubt about their "cloud" used to fasten the download stream : Links seem to be corrupted by ugly porn sites.

Dolphin Browser : bad performance when multiple tabs, sometimes crash, very bad handle full screen videos (it begins again from 0, download again the video... the others browsers are better on that point).

Opera : Often crashes, but no Nagscreen, I try it time to time.

Maxthon : overall quite good, often crash BUT no so evident to use (try to find history). It is a serious app.

Skyfire : often crashes, some websites don't work at 100% (javascript, flash ?)

next browser : guite good but why does it play with the aspect ratio ? How to quit ? Go back, then go back, then go back 20 times and double tap "back" ! Doesn't recover the last session.

Firefox : not finished (compared to their reputation). In my opinion, they suplly an uncomplete app to say "Hey guys ! We are developping for Android" not more. And they generate traffic to justify the $$ (like a hundred thousand others).

All browser that I have tried, have already crashed once.
I am not surprising and more and more confirmed that android apps are NOT tested (It laucnhs ?....OK just put it on web store) And Why do they need to know the phone numbers of my contacts !
By fact we are all beta testers and we take risks to use the apps

Please review Next Browser.I use it for some time and now is my default browser.
It is very easy to use with speed dial,tabs and clean interface(light on resources).

Okay, I'm here to offer a minimalistic view on low end android devices, Opera Mobile is great on low end devices too, UC browser mini,is outstanding when it comes to data saving , however at the cost of page functionality. its also note worth that Opera mini gets u were u want to be..
maxathon is good, doesn't work well with a 2G connection, last time i checked,was far surpassed by dolphin mini..
dolphin vs opera mobile...
dolphin is solid and is reliable, however on a low end device ... becomes slow with more than one tab open..
opera mobile is a safer solution , and 'feels' much ,much more robust, u may need to manage your cache more often than with dolphin for a better experience thought...

Hi Tim001. Always glad to hear from members with their opinions and experience. You sound like the type of person we can always use here. It's not as hard as one might think. An hour here and there once or twice a week. And plenty of us to help out when ever and where ever we can. If you have any interest you could look here. Thanks.

Opera for Android can synch - but it's intensely annoying about it.