Strangely enough, one of the fastest browsers available for Android remains virtually unheard of, despite its stalwart security, swift browsing speed and feature rich interface. In comparison, all of the other major browsers match-up poorly to the completely free Naked Browser.
Naked offers a sterling array of features, such as blazing fast speed, tabbed browsing, excellent security, minimal app permissions and a tiny installed size. While it has a handful of shortcomings, such as a lack of GPS functionality, these seem debatable. Otherwise, Naked offers users one of the best portals to the Internet available on Android. These features allow Naked to excel on older handsets with limited RAM, drive space and processing power.
To get started, after opening the browser, go to the URL bar and type in the address or name of the site you want to visit. As you type, suggested sites pop up beneath the URL bar. Simply tap on the desired site.
After using the browser a few times, it becomes apparent that it provides greater speed than most of its competitors.
- Tab manipulation: A single tap on the active tab kills it. Adding a new tab only requires that you hit the green plus icon at the top right-side of the screen.
- Restoring tabs from a crash: In the event of a browser crash, Naked automatically restores the lost browsing session’s tabs.
- (almost) Infinite tabs: I’ve personally opened twenty tabs in Naked on an ancient 1 GHz Scorpion CPU, with 512MB of RAM. In short, you don’t have to worry about running out of memory when browsing.
- Open in background tab: Naked opens new tabs from links in the background or foreground, depending on what you select from the context menu. It’s quite handy when doing research.
Naked Browser possesses a dizzying array of features, too numerous to mention in their entirety. For brevity’s sake, only four of these receive a mention:
- Desktop mode: Website compatibility can cause a great deal of issues when using a mobile to browse the Internet, since sites load stripped-down mobile versions to both tablets and handsets. Fortunately, Naked offers the ability to browse sites in desktop mode – I use this feature all the time on my tablet.
- Block images: Many users with limited data plans prefer that their mobile not download images, which can quickly force a user into expensive overage fees. Naked Browser requires that, in order to block images, first, go to settings, second, click on block images from the settings menu.
- Zoom reflows text: This feature requires enabling from the settings menu. Essentially, zooming into a page will reflow the text so that it fits onto the screen. Simply go to the settings menu, as above, but select “Zoom re-flows text“. This feature has some slight bugs, but simply zooming in and out will help.
- One-finger zoom: Double-tapping the screen either zooms in or out.
Great Security & Privacy
- Minimal Permissions Requested: Naked requests only the bare minimum of permissions in order to function as a browser. It asks for the following four permissions: (1) Internet, (2) file read/write, (3) view network state, (4) keep device from sleeping and these all have relevancy to Naked’s role as an internet portal.
- No GPS: The developer chose to leave out GPS. This has some arguably negative ramifications, as well.
- No ads!
Tiny Installation Size
Naked’s total size weighs in at an anorexic 114 kilobytes. It’s able to achieve such a light weight by using Android’s baked-in web-rendering engine, WebKit. Naked simply strips away the bloat, leaving behind the barest implementation of the stock browser.
For comparison’s sake, the formerly lightest browser, Opera Mini, weighs in at 908kb. Dolphin’s 4.8MB size remains on the lowest end of the browser size spectrum, particularly when compared to Chrome and Firefox. Firefox’s mobile implementation exceeds 20MB and Chrome, the most bloated, reaches almost 50MB.
While it has all the features most users need, Naked comes as barebones as possible. Unfortunately, having trimmed away anything that might slow the browser down, Naked Browser lacks spoof detection. Meaning, that if you visit a site that uses a spoofing exploit, you might be taken to a fake version of, let’s say, Facebook and prompted to log in. While most users know the ins-and-outs of internet security, not everyone possesses such savvy.
Naked Browser, therefore, targets advanced users who know the difference between Facebook and a fake.
Additionally, the developer Aminaked chose to strip away GPS functionality, meaning that sites cannot track your physical location. While this may impact the ability of advertisers to target their audience, personally, that seems to be a positive.
Finally, Naked Browser dispenses entirely with aesthetics – the browser offers one of the rawest user experiences on the Android operating system. Sadly, a complete lack of UI refinements may turn away the more aesthetically inclined of users. But as the saying goes: ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.
Naked Browser stands out among even the large number of great browsers available in the Google Play store. Its speed, security, features and tiny size make it, in my opinion, easily the best browser for Android around. However, because of its relative newness on the Android scene, Naked suffers from relative obscurity, except among those who frequent the XDA forums.
So far, according to the SunSpider benchmark, Naked came in with a score of 2507.7ms, which ranks it first when compared to Matt’s Android browser benchmark article. However, these numbers aren’t directly comparable as we have slightly different phones.
Anyone who likes an efficient browser, and particularly for those who have low-end Android phones, should give Naked Browser a try. For me, it’s simply indispensable. Also, if you’re feeling generous, feel free to give the developer Aminaked a donation, here.