Which Web Browser Should You Run On Your Android Device?

Load Times

Page Load Time Composite Score

The page load time composite is derived from a geometric mean consisting of the start, uncached, and cached page load time. Test pages are are not live in order to reduce the variation between iterations, but instead hosted from a local Web server.

Norwegian browser Opera Mobile takes a small lead over Chinese browser Maxthon in page load times on Android, earning a first-place victory. Japanese browser Sleipnir places third (at 2.7 seconds), followed by the stock Android browser in fourth. Dolphin takes fifth place at just under three seconds. Strangely, Google Chrome, the speed demon of the desktop, places sixth on Android. Firefox falls to last place with a time of 3.3 seconds.

Start Time

Start time is how long a browser takes to launch and render the home tab. Yahoo! serves as our start time test page, and it is loaded in cache before testing. Start time results are the average of three iterations; obvious outliers are re-tested.

When starting and loading a page, Chrome places first, followed closely by Opera Mobile in second place. Maxthon takes third place, with Sleipnir, the stock browser, and Firefox close behind in fourth, fifth, and sixth. Dolphin comes in dead last, one-and-a-half seconds behind the others.

Load Time

Pages from About.com, Amazon, Ask.com, craigslist, Google, LinkedIn, and Wikipedia join the Yahoo! homepage to round out our page load time test pages. Results are the average of five iterations.

Uncached

Browser history and cache is cleared between iterations and the browsers are restarted in order to achieve uncached page load times.

Maxthon takes the lead for uncached page loads, averaging just 2.3 seconds. Dolphin earns second place with Opera Mobile very close behind in third. The stock Android browser takes fourth place, followed by Sleipnir in fifth. Firefox is in sixth place at almost 3.2 seconds, and Chrome drops to a very distant last place.

Cached

Opera once again achieves a substantial lead, finishing the cached page load in just 1.8 seconds. Sleipnir is in second place. Chrome, Dolphin, and the stock browser place third, fourth, and fifth (respectively), all three completing the test in around 1.9 seconds. Maxthon is close behind in sixth place. Firefox once again finds itself in last place, this time at 2.8 seconds.

Drill Down

The charts below contain the load times of all eight individual test pages for each browser.

Notes: Chrome trails behind on most sites when not cached, with Google.com appropriately being the only strong point. The poor cached page load times for Firefox are also not confined to a single test page, occurring on most sites.

UncachedUncachedCachedCached

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  • 399650 said:
    "Stock Android Browser" is a myth. There is NO "Stock" android browser. Each device manufacturer (Samsung, Asus, Lg, HTC) customise/modify the "stock" browser to match the SoC, the TDP, power saving, and specific browser benchmark targeted, for that device. So this "Stock" browser is actually a modified browser, customised by ASUS to work better with a Tegra3 SoC, in some specifc benchmarks which Asus thinks are more important than others. Its not a representative of all android devices.


    When you're running a Nexus device, it's a stock browser...
    14
  • Other Comments
  • "Stock Android Browser" is a myth. There is NO "Stock" android browser.
    Each device manufacturer (Samsung, Asus, Lg, HTC) customise/modify the "stock" browser to match the SoC, the TDP, power saving, and specific browser benchmark targeted, for that device.

    So this "Stock" browser is actually a modified browser, customised by ASUS to work better with a Tegra3 SoC, in some specifc benchmarks which Asus thinks are more important than others. Its not a representative of all android devices.
    -5
  • Sunspider and Kraken are crap benchmarks. All browsers target these benchmarks for specifc optimisations, that are never actually used on the web.
    3
  • 399650 said:
    "Stock Android Browser" is a myth. There is NO "Stock" android browser. Each device manufacturer (Samsung, Asus, Lg, HTC) customise/modify the "stock" browser to match the SoC, the TDP, power saving, and specific browser benchmark targeted, for that device. So this "Stock" browser is actually a modified browser, customised by ASUS to work better with a Tegra3 SoC, in some specifc benchmarks which Asus thinks are more important than others. Its not a representative of all android devices.


    When you're running a Nexus device, it's a stock browser...
    14
  • mayankleoboy1Sunspider and Kraken are crap benchmarks. All browsers target these benchmarks for specifc optimisations, that are never actually used on the web.

    SunSpider is the next to go for sure, but I haven't heard a ton of criticism regarding Kraken yet. Between BrowserMark, Peacekeeper, and RIABench, we could withdraw all the vendor-developed JS tests.
    4
  • give me a browser with flash support then we'll talk
    7
  • ^ coming soon to firefox. Project Shumway.
    4
  • ^ interesting. lets hope it works out... my gf is rather pissed that she can't play farmville on my galaxy tab.
    3
  • I've already figured out that Chrome isn't so hot, but the reason why Chrome still wins for me is that it synchronizes bookmarks, passwords, history and a bunch of other stuff across all my computers and devices. That is an indispensable feature for me.
    6
  • tiretgive me a browser with flash support then we'll talk

    Since Adobe themselves has ended Flash development for all mobile platforms, I don't think you will see many browsers keeping support for it for long. Likely in a year, maybe 18 months, you won't see any support for Flash as, well, what's the point.
    0
  • Firefox Beta has flash support once you download and install the flash apk - I have it working well on my Nexus 7
    7
  • It is not benchmark results that counts when choosing my mobile browser. And what counts?
    - some kind of adblocking utility, like urlfilter.ini in Opera, adblock in firefox
    - minimum font size. On my 8" 160dpi screen fonts are too small to be read comfortably. In Opera I can declare a minimum font size and have all webpages readable and well formatted.
    - declare to be a desktop browser. I most browsers I have to declare this for every site I visit, in Opera I do it once and it is set
    - smoothness on any hardware, not only Quad-core. Try stock browser or firefox on a single-core A10 machine and it will freeze for 10s when composing your webpage. Opera won't be butter-smooth, but it will let you scroll througn the page from the beginning.
    So Opera is the worst browser according to Thg, but is the best for me, the average user.
    8
  • Read this on Dolphin on my Galaxy Tab, Dolphin has been a fixture on the Tab for two years and for good reason. Forget the scores, even if it wasn't top I would still use it, the actual user experience is head and shoulders above the competition.
    1
  • piotrjakubIt is not benchmark results that counts when choosing my mobile browser. And what counts?- some kind of adblocking utility, like urlfilter.ini in Opera, adblock in firefox- minimum font size. On my 8" 160dpi screen fonts are too small to be read comfortably. In Opera I can declare a minimum font size and have all webpages readable and well formatted.- declare to be a desktop browser. I most browsers I have to declare this for every site I visit, in Opera I do it once and it is set- smoothness on any hardware, not only Quad-core. Try stock browser or firefox on a single-core A10 machine and it will freeze for 10s when composing your webpage. Opera won't be butter-smooth, but it will let you scroll througn the page from the beginning.So Opera is the worst browser according to Thg, but is the best for me, the average user.


    This. A review of performance only is useless. Features are more important.
    4
  • Also, Opera has a night mode that works, the only browser I could find with one. It's a little hacky though (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1326434)
    1
  • "Boat Browser" (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.boatbrowser.free) supports flash just fine. I've used it on a Galaxy S3 and a Nexus 10. Just go download the latest Flash apk from Adobe:

    http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions.html#main_Archived_Flash_Player_versions_for_developers

    Scroll down a bit to get to the Android listings.
    2
  • naked browser

    the ui is very minimal though so might not be newcomer friendly
    but the responsiveness is on par with dolphin
    2
  • Chrome is the default browser for Nexus devices running Jellybean. Browser is not even installed on neither the Galaxy Nexus nor the Nexus 4.
    1
  • Chrome is not only the default for Nexus devices...Razr M, HD, and Maxx HD also come with Chrome as the only browser installed. It's been great for me and I especially like being able to swipe between tabs.
    1
  • so, according to real life browsing opera has fastest browsing, but because it scores last in syntethic benchmarks it comes last?
    5
  • I've had the TF300T for some month using Dolphin... And It is still slow, slow, slow.

    My next buy will be a labtop Core i5 / HD 4000 with a SSD and a mouse with a wire. It will be set up so it is always on standby - and wakes up in 2-4 sec.

    Tablets are for todlers and teens :-)
    -2