In the age of internet millennialism, browsers are an essential tool to help you connect. Most of our browsing online is done on a mobile these days. And unlike desktop browsers, mobile browsers vary a lot in terms of performance, design, reliability, support etc. Even a general user might be able to make out the difference the choice of a correct browser makes, which is not the case when it comes to desktops.
Nevertheless, sparing you all the technical testing for yourself, we’ve compared some of the ablest browsers available for you to download.
Just a heads up- this article is divided into four categories based on the factors involved that makes a particular browser the perfect choice. To make it as fair as possible, all the browsers are tested on the same iPhone using the same resources.
Above all, even in real-world usage, it has been found that Microsoft’s Edge surprisingly has a knack over most of the browsers available. And that includes Safari as well. On the other hand, Chrome and Firefox are ‘usable’ browsers but don’t provide an improvement over the latter. Adding to that, Chrome and Firefox feel kind of heavy with their design. Anyways, hold on, as I talk about the design later in this post.
2. HTML5 Compliance Test
Chrome and Safari have always been the real deal in terms of HTML5 inclusion. Google has been really pushing hard to improve its browsing experience by providing as much support a developer needs in order to make it a better place to browse.
It’s not just the case with Chrome, but Firefox is also a strong contender. Lately, it has been showing up for ads on its desktop version which explain developers non-delusive ways to append HTML codes into their projects.
HTML5 Compliance test results: Closer to ‘555’ is better
The results clearly indicate that Safari is still the best browser to rely on when it comes to HTML5 compatibility, which is the language on which around 80% of the whole internet is based. Although, it is sad to see that Firefox failed miserably on this test as well. This shows the colossal difference between a desktop-based browser and a mobile browser. It’s like the coins have flipped completely.
Chrome managed to handle HTML blissfully, which is why it’s scored the second position. Chrome is also supposed to be well-adjusted for Google’s AMP program, which allows publishers to provide content on a blazing fast speed by basically hosting it on Google’s servers.
3. Design and Features
Having a pure Apple essence is one of the things Safari is very good at. And a pure Apple essence demands simplicity to its core. If you are the one that prefers a clean and powerful browsing experience, no other browser except for Safari will win you over.
It has a reading mode which basically declutters a webpage and provides you only the useful information like texts and images. You can even get rid of ads using the reading mode. Although, sometimes it’s not as efficient as the algorithm behind it fails to detect the structure of a webpage and provides unuseful information.
Additionally, you have the option to save mobile bookmarklets so that you can easily traverse through your favorite websites right from your springboard. Above all, if you happen to have the rest of the Apple family (MacBook, iPad, iPod), you can seamlessly multitask. As an example, you can have a Safari tab open on your iPhone and can continue to browse exactly where you left off on your MacBook. This is not what other browsers offer.
From a design point of view, Safari’s design is overdue for a change. It has been the same looking browser since the Safari that came with the first iPhone, except it has become more minimalistic. If you’re looking for a browser that gets most of your job done efficiently right off the bat, then Safari could be the best deal for you.
Google’s own browser helps with most of the stuff that is related to Google. Albeit, there’s no doubt that most of the stuff on the internet is related to Google. Seamless integration between different platforms is the characteristic feature of Google Chrome.
All you need is to sign in to your Google account in the Mobile browser and all of your bookmarks, passwords, history data and cached files are seamlessly synced. It’s so smooth that the whole process feels almost magical. The magical part about it is that you don’t even need to enter your account details manually. Chances are, if you’ve signed into any Google service using your iPhone, you have the account details already stored on the secure servers. With just a tap, you are signed into Chrome.
When you glance at the new tab page of Chrome, you’ll notice that a feed containing the latest trending news articles is already set up. Those news articles are curated based on your browsing pattern. Apart from that, the iOS keyboard gets an extra row of functions like a QR code scanner, some handy symbols etc. in the Chrome app.
Having a Chrome browser on mobile is similar to having it on a desktop except for the difference that you have a community of extensions on the desktop which is not currently the case with mobile.
The design, on the other hand, is kind of heavy and undesirable sometimes. Due to the heavy design, iOS tends to lag and freeze which becomes extremely annoying with constant usage. Chrome also has a reputation for being a battery hog on mobile devices. And it’s no different in this case. In fact, Chrome utilizes the CPU in such a way that in just a few minutes of normal browsing, the iPhone’s back becomes extensively hot. All of this could be a major setback for a someone who cares more to squeeze some juice until the end of the day.
Despite its poor performance in the benchmarks, Firefox has the most features of all the browsers featured in this comparison. Similar to Chrome, it also has a seamless cross-platform syncing system. Although, you’ll have to create a separate Mozilla account without which it won’t be possible to sync between your desktop and your mobile.
Albeit, once you have the Mozilla account signed in on the mobile version of Firefox, all the bookmarks, history data, and passwords will seamlessly sync to your device. At the end of the day, it doesn’t have that magical element that makes Chrome so special.
After the recent update for the desktop version of Firefox- dubbed the Quantum update, there are a lot of under-the-hood engineering improvements, as stated by Mozilla. However, Mozilla also hinted that the Mobile version gets the same Quantum treatment. Basically, the new engineering framework leverages the multi-core processors in a fairly unique manner, according to Mozilla. Now it won’t make a huge difference in day-to-day usage but with further upgrades in processors with progressive devices, the experience is only getting better.
Some of the unique features of Firefox on mobile includes a dedicated night mode aimed at easing the usage of websites during the night. Wasn’t it certain? Also, just like Safari, Firefox also has a proper reading mode, but not as perfect as the reading mode on Safari. Although there is one thing that Firefox totally messes up- handling the cache.
The design is something for which Firefox is needed to be comprehended. Despite having a heavy design like Google’s Chrome browser, Firefox handles every task like a breeze. I haven’t faced any performance nor any battery issues while using Firefox in the course of time in which I had it for testing. Firefox could be a daily driver for someone who does like proficiency but is okay with the browser not able to handle caching well.
Something about this browser makes browsing both smooth and laggy at the same time. And it’s not sure whether this is because of Microsoft’s legacy or something else. On the other hand, you can easily compare Edge with Safari because of the similarities they withhold between them. A reading mode, tools to bookmark and text searching on a webpage sum up to be almost all of the features of the browser.
And trust me, you won’t need more. The Edge browser for mobile has a lot in common with its desktop counterpart featurewise. You get a minimalistic news feed on the ‘new tab’ page along with some other recommended websites for you to consider to visit. Although it has that nostalgic Microsoft essence to it, and you can feel it, there’s no getting tired of this browser on mobile. Even though it doesn’t live up to the Chrome and Firefox standards in terms of seamlessness and the presence of features, it just simply works every time. And that certainly is not the case with any of the browsers in this comparison.
When it comes to interconnectivity, it’s not as magical as Chrome, but it’s doable. The medium for the same seamless connection between cross-platforms is a Hotmail account, or rather a Skype account. And the contents that get synced over are same as that of every other browser featured in this post.
Designwise, I must say that Edge has got an edge over other browsers. Simplicity is the key with this one. The flagship Microsoft interface is omnipresent and highly noticeable throughout the app. It slightly stresses the processor but gets the work done, which is browsing (of course!). However, websites tend to perform smoother on Edge than on Chrome or Firefox or for that matter, even Safari.
Perhaps, the most important sector of our browsing experiences, privacy is something that you should care about when choosing the perfect browser for yourself.
Apple, as we all know it, is extremely vested in privacy and often makes sure that it isn’t undermined by Safari. On the backend, Safari analyzes your behavior on the web space and based on your liking, restricts the transmission of your data to ad firms.
On the other hand, Chrome does exactly the opposite. It has a bad reputation in terms of data management as it monitors your browsing history along with relevant website data and uses it to provide a better experience- that’s what Google affirms. But having all of your data handled by a corporation at a fairly vast level is kind of threatening. And the recent Cambridge Analytica scam makes me more unnerved about Chrome’s data usage methods.
Although there’s absolutely no problem regarding Firefox’s privacy and security abilities, it could be better considering the vast user base. Also, if you care about extensive privacy regarding internet usage, Mozilla has a separate app named Firefox Focus that has an expertise in handling security and the privacy of the end user. Edge, on the other side of the bridge, is not as careful with user privacy as per the current industry standards, but it doesn’t jump too far like the privacy features in Chrome. And that provides the balance.
All of the browsers have a basic incognito mode, which generally does not register your browsing history in the first place. It also doesn’t allow for search engines to retrospect your search data.
Even though there are a lot of parameters that form an outline for the ‘best’ browser in the market, it all boils down to your liking and feeling towards a particular one. For instance, if you’ve been using the Chrome browser on an Android phone, you’ll end up using Chrome on iOS as well, when you make a switch. It becomes exasperatingly difficult to break out of the comfort zone once you’ve discovered it.
Although, Microsoft’s Edge is an exception as it’s a new release and doesn’t have a strong user base since the beginning, making it a difficult choice for most of the users out there.
Once again, it all cuts down to your affinity.