Comparing browsers, pros and Cons of different Browsers

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by Isthmus, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. Isthmus

    Isthmus Well-Known Member
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    I've seen plenty of discussion here about different browser apps, but I have yet to see one listing the pros and cons of the different most popular browsers available for android. The main browsers I've been able to identify are the following:

    Standard
    Dolphin
    Opera Mini
    xScope

    If there are any others worth mentioning, please add them to the list. I would love to hear your input regarding the pros and cons of each one.

    TIA.
     

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  2. grainysand

    grainysand Well-Known Member
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    Opera Mini assumes your phone is some godawful non-touchscreen dumbphone that can't browse the web like a PC. It's fast, sure, but it renders a lot of sites badly--and worst of all, no kinetic scrolling. Have to rub your screen forever before you hit the bottom of any page. I like the UI, but its lack of optimization for a real smartphone is bad. Very bad.

    Stock is so-so. I like Desire stock, though: easier text selection, quick access to copy-and-paste, look up terms on wikipedia, and google translate of any word.

    The rest I've never tried.
     
  3. pwabbit

    pwabbit Well-Known Member
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    If you have a dumb phone, Opera Mini is the way to go (for all the reasons already noted)

    The stock browser is OK. I wouldn't hate having to use it, I am just glad we have choices.

    Steel is a decent browser. It is has a compact memory footprint. It does most things fairly well. It's better than the stock browser.

    Dolphin used to be awesome. I don't care for the newest UI. Dolphin functions very well. Has pinch zoom.

    xScope is awesome. It does pinch zoom, pin zoom. It's easy to bookmark items. The developer is one of the most active developers that I have seen on Android. Definitely an excellent product.
     
    BrainB0ne and Murphy like this.
  4. Isthmus

    Isthmus Well-Known Member
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    Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't Desire and Steel essentially shells built over the standard browser?
     
  5. Aux

    Aux New Member
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    Currently EVERY browser for Android is a shell for built-in one. Except for Opera Mini, ofcourse.

    A few words on an Opera Mini. Currently it is in beta state and lacks proper Android integration, so developers have some time to polish it. Another thing is that it is made to save traffic and be lightning fast. When you are reading Phandroid/Slashdot on the go these are the only things that matter.
     
  6. pwabbit

    pwabbit Well-Known Member
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    From what I understand, all of the browsers utilize "webkit" for the browser engine. I guess all the other browsers would be a cousin to the stock app, related but not the same.
     
  7. BrainB0ne

    BrainB0ne Member
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    Thanks pwabbit, after your review I gave xScope a try :)

    Will run it in the future to see if I like it.
     
  8. marissa088

    marissa088 Member
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    I've only used the stock browser and Dolphin. I am very happy with Dolphin!! I like the look and layout of it. The gesture and pinch and zoom comes in handy. I really like that you can save bookmarks and favorite links because I don't like to clutter up my home screen with links to things that I can just as easily save to the browser. I recommend it!
     
  9. mkhopper

    mkhopper Well-Known Member
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    Personally I like Infinity. I used Dolphin for awhile, but the UI always seemed a bit clunky to me. Infinity seems to be a bit faster too, but not nearly as fast as Opera.
    Unfortunately, others here in this thread have already mentioned the issues with the current version of Opera and I agree. I used it for a few days and then uninstalled it.

    The only drawback to all 3rd party browsers though is the lack of Flash support that only the stock browser has.
     
  10. Isthmus

    Isthmus Well-Known Member
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    I thought that flash was not currently available for Android. I remember reading somewhere that it was in development - I think it was in a response to one of steve jobs' rants. I'm I getting my stories confused?

    Also, if what you guys say that all the browsers are built on the stock browser's developer kit, doesn't it stand to reason that those will also support Flash in the coming future? :thinking:
     
  11. Isthmus

    Isthmus Well-Known Member
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    OK, so I made the following pro's and cons list based on the comments above.please feel free to flesh it out and add to it:

    ___________________________________________________________


    Standard:
    pros: comes pre-installed, supported by google, has built in flash support;
    cons: lacks features like multi touch, tabs, etc.

    Dolphin:
    pros
    : full featured and has multi touch and is very stable
    cons: newest version is clunky and new layout is not very user friendly. Many prefer the older versions

    Opera Mini:
    pros
    : lightning fast
    cons: still in beta testing. It is currently unstable, incomplete and lacks proper Android integration. Lacks features and does not render all sites well. Still in development so wait
    for final rollout

    xScope:
    pros
    : pinch zoom, pin zoom, easy to bookmark items, active developers
    cons: ?

    Steel:
    pros
    : compact memory footprint. It does most things fairly well. It's better than the stock browser.
    cons: ?

    Desire:
    pros
    : easier text selection, quick access to copy-and-paste, look up terms on wikipedia, and google translate of any word
    cons:

    Infinity:
    pros: ?
    cons: ?
     
  12. grainysand

    grainysand Well-Known Member
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    Erm... Stock browser has multi-touch. On the N1, anyway.

    It's a bit slow sometimes thanks to all the shiny skinning, and only allows you to open very few windows (compared to stock--stock allows, what, seven windows? Eight? Desire seems to let you open only four-five).
     
  13. Mama Luigi

    Mama Luigi Well-Known Member
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    I've tried the default browser, Dolphin, Steel, and Opera Mini. I've stuck with the default browser.

    Dolphin has the worst interface of any Android app I've used. I can't figure out how to do anything with it.

    Steel is like the standard browser except with a little bit worse interface. Not as bad as Dolphin's, but still pretty mediocre. No reason to use it over the default browser.

    Opera Mini is very fast but it's also really weird. The way it handles text boxes is strange and I sometimes have problems even logging in to various websites. It can take several attempts for login forms to work with it.

    So yeah, I just use the default browser.
     
  14. shawn1224

    shawn1224 Ex CEO-DNPSEA foundation
    VIP Member
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    Give me horribly rendered pages any day of the week as long as it's fast. It's all about speed and that's what Opera does best.
     
  15. grainysand

    grainysand Well-Known Member
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    I don't see why I should have to put up with badly rendered pages on a 1 GHz phone with 512 MB of RAM--my phone can handle Javascript, can handle desktop view, can even manage Flash lite. It's not like the stock browser is slow. Oh, and having to flick flick flick repeatedly just to scroll on a touchscreen isn't acceptable by any stretch of the imagination.
     
  16. jimdroid

    jimdroid Well-Known Member
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    Another pro for Opera is the way it handles bookmarks. Not only does it have the speeddial home screen (9 links) but it also supports nested folders for bookmarks.

    The icing on the cake is that it also syncs with the PC browser (via Opera Link), so you can basically have one set of bookmarks on the PC and also use them on Android.

    Other minuses for Opera include the lack of a Share command, so sending a link involves copying/pasting the URL into an email program. Also, as mentioned, it's very hard to click on controls, but using the trackpad works fine; just not used to it.

    I love the speed/rendering quality tradeoff they made, but YMMV.

    .02
     
  17. shrink57

    shrink57 Well-Known Member
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    I have used the stock browser, Dolphin, and xScope extensively. For me, I find navigation is the easiest with xScope and the developer's responsiveness to user input is second to none. Try making a suggestion to Google. With xScope I have seen recommendations posted in this forum implemented within hours. The program has matured over the past 3-4 months and continues to improve. Initially it was spartan and a little clunky. It is now polished, customizable, and most importantly, easy to use. Did I mention it was fast?

    Just my 2 cents..
     
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  18. RyanB

    RyanB Guest

    I played around with the Opera beta for a bit. As mentioned above, the UI is its strong suit. I liked how I could see what my open windows were, as it showed thumbnails of them upon request. That being said, I couldn't agree more about how poorly it renders sites; it's what I would've expected for my old Treo 700p (shudder). It's completely unacceptable on current smartphones.

    Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk
     
  19. bluenova

    bluenova OK Computer
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    I have used stock browser, Dolphin, and xScope and used xScope the most but missed the pinch zoom of the stock browser (pinch not available in xScope for Android 1.5) and the way the text reformats when you zoom. I recently came across Opera Mini and quite like it, page loads are very fast. Unfortunately due to the lack of being able to make it default I use it in combination with the stock browser.

    I started a poll here, as it'll be interesting to see which is most popular.
     
  20. mkhopper

    mkhopper Well-Known Member
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    Well, not full Flash. The stock browser supports "Flash Lite", which from what I understand is a scaled back version of Flash v8. It gets the job done for minor Flash objected embedded in web pages though.

    No, most of the third party browsers use the WebKit rendering engine which is nice and light and perfect for low memory environments like smartphones and tablets. Steel is the only "browser" that I know for Android that is directly paired with the stock browser as it is really just a fancy front-end, adding some extra features and extending the use of the stock browser. Dolphin, Infinity, XScope, etc are all standalone applications using the WebKit engine.

    Opera went in a totally different direction and Mini uses their Presto rendering engine. When Fennic (Mozilla) is finally released, it will use the Gecko rendering engine.

    The only reason I can think of is that there must be a licensing issue keeping all these 3rd party browsers from including support for Flash.
     

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