Firefox for Android

Having access to the Internet's rich content is a good reason why many of us love our smartphones. The days of WAP browsing are over and we have all sorts of options and way to get the Web and services right in our hands. On the Android platform we're especially lucky, because we have an abundance of browser apps available right in Google Play. Whether you need one of the numerous fast-as-heck rendering Webkit browsers, like Chrome or Dolphin, or want the compatibility with desktop web apps that Firefox's Gecko delivers, or even the quick loading pages that come with Opera Mini, Android has you covered.

This is where we share, so I'll tell what I'm using. I actually install two full browsers -- Chrome and Firefox. I need Chrome's device sync and tie-in to my Google account, and use it as my device default browser, but when I'm just playing and surfing the 'net I use Firefox, as it seems to do a better job with the sites I frequent. What about you guys? Hit the poll -- you'll find it in the sidebar to the right or after the break -- and let us know how you do it.

Last week's poll was about NFC, and here are the results.

Do you use NFC often?

  • Yes -- 31-percent
  • No -- 43.98-percent
  • My phone doesn't have NFC. Sad Panda face -- 25.01-percent

With a 30-percent plus adoption rate among Android enthusiasts, NFC looks like a feature the manufacturers need to consider when they make their next device. 


Reader comments

This week's sidebar poll: What is your browser of choice?


+5000, I have tried a lot of other browsers but always go back to my trusted BOAT to keep me browsing happily

That is funny, because I only switched from Dolpin to Boat last week, and I am so surprised how unknown it is, as it is fast and feature rich. I am really enjoying using it.

I too switched from Dolphin to Boat after having too many problems with Dolphin lately (new splash screen etc). Boat is snappy and smooth, the UI could be polished up a bit more but the browser renders text wrapping better than Dolphin.

Boat browser is never mentioned in any of these best "browser" threads, ever.

IT is so much better then most of the others especially Dolphin.

Dolphin browser was good 1.5 years ago since then its become a bloated POS.

Boat browser feels like a breath of fresh air compared to Dolphin.

How can it be the fastest, when it's not a browser, and just piggybacks the stock browser?

Opera is king when it comes to speed. You get a build compiled for your specific ARM version, and the javascript execution is about 2x quicker than the stock browser.

It also renders the most accurate, and when in desktop mode, gives you the full desktop rendering.

Opera is great, but problem is that you get mobile versions of web pages - not smartphone versions (try facebook and gmail for instance). I tried custom user agent in opera:config (Android) but it doesn't work well. It is not big problem but it bothers me...

I am shocked I'm just hearing about this - it seems as fast as the stock browser (was using Stock +) and has some real nice features.

I'M IN A BOAT (browser)!!

It's true, we're spoiled when it comes to browsers. I split time between Chrome and the stock browser (for flash, and smoother scrolling). The latest version of Firefox is excellent too, and Opera Mobile/Mini are fine choices as well.

Stock, because nothing else formats pages for small screens anywhere near as intelligently. And nobody else has the "Read" button.

Doesn't have to be that way...silly billy.
If any device is meant to be rooted, it's the Nexus 7. Free of cell-carrier radios and red tape. I understand if you're not comfortable with it, and I can totally respect it.
But if you're every feeling cocky, I highly suggest it. AOSP on the Nexus 7 is beautiful. TeamEOS has a wonderful enhanced AOSP version of Jellybean--complete with AOSP browser, fully functional camera app(supports 720p now)and a spectacular debugging menu in browser options(toggles for open GL-rendering, JavaScript console, and more).

Wow, not to say that Dolphin is the best, but I really figured it would have fared better.
I spent a few weeks using each browser and found Dolphin to be so much better than all the others.
I loved the stock browser on my Thunderbolt, but hated it on my S3. Use only Firefox on my desktop computer and swore by Opera on my old Windows Mobile devices (which I still use).
So I'd like to think I came in to this being fairly open minded.
I will give Boat a try. I did not care for Chrome at all.

I tried it. And I uninstalled that Boat crap.

They both handle websites pretty much the same way, but the GUI and hardware acceleration of Dolphin is much much better.

I use two browsers, stock JB and Opera Mini.

The stock browser is what I use on Wifi, because it renders pages flawlessly and is fairly fast. I'd rather use Chrome, but my Atrix can only get ICS/JB through custom roms and due to a lack of proper drivers Chrome is too unstable to rely on.

When I'm on 3G/Edge, I use Opera Mini. The page rendering is funky and sometimes pages will outright fail to load. But I'm on a 200mb per month cap, and I've found Opera's compression to be essential. In fact, according to its data usage page, this month I've used 62.5mb of data. If I used a different browser, it would have cost me 327.6mb which would put me over my cap. Well worth some weird looking pages to me.

I really enjoy using Dolphin Browser Mini. That browser packs a lot of performance in a simple, barely 1MB package. I've used it as my primary browser for well over a year now, and that across at least three different devices. It's a great browser.

ICS Browser + , has everything the stock browser has and more.

I can't do without the thumb controls quite frankly and they're even more useful in Browser + than they are in the stock browser, I really think Google should include them with the Chrome browser and make them a more prominent addition in stock.

Quite frankly its by far the quickest and most intuitive way to browse and that coupled with Chrome's "other devices" bit would have been lovely but the lack of that and Flash mean Chrome's a no go for me at the moment.

If you haven't tried the quick "thumb" controls in the ICS browser, I urge you to give them a go for a while, far and away the best and quickest way to browse.

I love ICS Browsers + The quick controls are incredibly plus text reflow is a must for me.

I never got why Chrome is so popular its rendering issues made it unusable for me on any devices i tried it on

I use Chrome as my daily driver on my S3, I use to hate Chrome, well I still do on my Transformer prime. Its far better on the phone vs the tablet. So on my phone it's Chrome and when I need flash I use the default browser. On my tablet I have tired several but leaning more towards firefox or just the default browser.

On ICS, and definitely Chrome. As others have said, the only time I use an alternate browser is when I absolutely have to use Flash.

Chrome, BUT I have been very unimpressed with Google and their update cycles. Chrome for iOS already has password sync, but not on Android. Chrome for iOS is on version 21, but Android is on 18. One would think Google would focus on Android first!!!

No stock ics love for my atrix 2, so dolphin for me. I really wanna try chrome, when I get a CPU I will try the leak 4.0.4 and check out chrome...

If chrome actually worked on my evo3d I would use it. My favorite browser that I use 90% of the time is miren browser.

Me too. Used to use Dolphin all the time but I really like having all my desktop links available too so I kept trying each new version of Chrome until it was usable. Dolphin is a bit nicer on navigation, but I've gotten used to Chrome now.

I'm not sure why and maybe one of you can answer this question but whether I'm on wifi or hspa my default browser is faster than chrome. I don't under stand it. Can some one explain it? Chrome hesitates and studders, but the default browser, even when loading is fast and I can scroll up down pinch in out, with no lag or studder. I clear all my running apps and it still lags some times. By the way I have GNEX on ATT..

I've found that the "best" browser is a moving target. I've used nearly all of the ones mentioned here today. My current favorite is FireFox, because it loads pages in the background (and rather quickly as well). And I have a soft spot for Dolphin Mini which does an awesome job of reformatting full web pages for the small screen.

Dolphin mini and Boat, not because I need two browsers but because both of these are awesome and I just can't make myself throw one out.

I tested both as well, but decided Dolphin was superior in speed and usability. Dolphin has sunk the Boat browser in my opinion :)

I like using the stock browser on my HTC Evo LTE because of the text wrap feature. When you pinch to zoom in it fits all the text in the screen which is awesome. I also use chrome a lot as well though.

Mostly ICS+ on my Galaxy Nexus (love the quick controls), and Chrome on my Nexus 7. I agree with others who suggested putting the quick controls into Chrome.

I am a huge fan of the fact that when I set at work, here at home on the desktop, travelling with the laptop, the N7 and my GNote, there's Chrome with all my favs and bookmarks all in mostly the same places and easily accessed. The others are good fro some things (I need Dolphin for iOS mimicking on some sights and FireFox for Flash on my N7, Chrome is the winner hands down, no contest.

I'm still trying to decide - an ongoing process in the 14 or 15 months since I bought my Galaxy S2 :). Unlike on PC where Opera has been my browser of choice for years (with a few months here and there giving Chrome and Firefox a try, but they never quite lived up to my expectations and needs), it's just been flat out impossible for me to find a favored browser on Android - on both my GS2 as well as on my Transformer TF300 tablet.

On my tablet I'm currently finding myself using Dolphin most, especially after a recent update that seemed to change address and tab bar behavior so it now remains visible at all time (I hate the most browsers automatically retract it when scrolling down the page).
I still prefer the tab management of Opera Mobile, but Dolphin seems to be slightly more responsive and smooth, although even after the JB update we're still some ways away from how the browsing experience felt on PCs even years ago.

I also like Boat Browser, but it's proven too crash prone on my tablet to be worth using.

I use Opera Mobile on the cell for the word wrap and tap to zoom. On the tablet I use stock but I want to see what this "boat" is rocking. :-)

The way I see it is if I wanted "clean", "simple" or "uncluttered" I would stick with Chrome. But I've been using Dolphin since 1.6 and there has not been another browser that makes browsing easier. Swipe right fro shortcuts. Gestures for closing tabs (and a bunch of other functions). After setting things up to my preference EVERYTHING is faster.

I really wanted to switch to chrome but it is super inefficient, something like three touches to select one of your bookmarks, in dolphin, one swipe one touch. Chrome mightoad pages faster but whatever incremental gain you might get isn't worth it.

I use Chrome, as I like its format and the fact that it syncs with Chrome on the computer. It's the stock browser on my Nexus 7 anyway. Other browsers may be faster or have cool features, but I won't switch because of the compatibility with the computer version of Chrome.

Edit: I downloaded Flash, but will it work with Chrome since I have Jelly Bean?

I must be the one guy using MaxthonHD on my tablet! But hey, I've never had the issues that I've had with Chrome and DolphinHD. It is definately a good and stable browser.

I use Chrome on my laptop, Chromebook of course, Nexus 7 and my Evo I'm all chromed out...bling,bling.

Chrome is good but takes too much space, Dolphin has always been a great choice but I must say that the current stock browser on my Jellybean ROM is good so I'll be sticking to that for the moment.

If you actually can't afford the space for Chrome, then how do you expect to keep up with application advancements in the not too distant future? Most apps are only getting bigger. I have three 1.5 GB games on my Nexus 7(16 GB), which is supposedly soooo storage deprived--yet I'm not anywhere near full capacity.

I've been using boat for about a year now as a main, and I have opera mobile as a secondary.
Why isn't boat listed on the poll???

Boat, just because for some reasons I don't understand, it seems to work better with my phone's ROM

I take back my vote from last night for stock. Latest Chrome update really feels great. I've always liked Chrome, and never had any problems with it...I guess I just had to adjust.
Stock will stay around on my N7 and Galaxy Nexus (obviously) however, aside from the times I have a specific flash-player "need", I think I'm ready to give Chrome the full-time job it deserves--with stock browser filling in a couple hours on the weekends.
At this point, I click on an Adobe Flash "placeholder"(I use the on-demand plugin setting) once a week, if that. A large amount of the the content is obviously advertising too.
One thing I use somewhat frequently with Flash, is the website version of gives me more consistent results than the actual app--but aside from that, I wouldn't say that I *depend* on Adobe for any of my needs. However, I know that's not the case for everyone. Some Android users depend on it.
Flash *does* create a more attractive/immersive browsing experience, and Jerry is not wrong about it's abrupt withdrawal being a little too early.
I've just accepted it though. I'm sure they have their reasons..and eventually, something will have to give.

Chrome for almost everything. Stock for flash. I tried Dolphin for a week and I was VERY unimpressed. I've yet to give Firefox a fair shake, and I've never heard of boat.

I use Dolphin Engine beta mostly (although I am trying out a few others). I would use Chrome instead if I could set a default homepage and had the ability to flush privacy data when I close the browser.

i use 3: Chrome (main); Dolphin Mini(2nd); stock.

i used to have DM as my main, but since Chrome came, it's my choice. DM now pretty much cuz it runs in private mode at all times. i use that cuz i like my privacy. it's not bombproof, but it helps. Con: it stopped using RAM well. i can now only open 1 page at a time smoothly and quickly. i've tried everything, and it's just lame.

Chrome because it uses RAM well. if i restart my phone, it keeps my pages open. i keep a couple of my stocks open all the time. smooth, neat and pure Google.

stock browser cuz i can print from it with HP app. laptop is HP, printer is HP, therefore, HP app is awesome. otherwise, hate it.

however, based on the majority here, i'm going to give Boat a try. AC users know, and i want to know too. thanks.