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Not satisfied with the browsing experience on your Android tablet or smartphone? Mercury Browser could help fix that.

Google’s Play Store lists several excellent browsers for devices running on Android. If you’re looking to install one, chances are that you’re leaning toward choices like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, especially if you’re accustomed to their desktop versions. Other popular choices such as Dolphin Browser and UC Browser are probably on your list too, as they were on mine when I bought a Samsung tablet last year.

In search of a comfortable Web experience, I tried various Android browsers 7 Browsers That Are Better Than The Native Android Browser 7 Browsers That Are Better Than The Native Android Browser I set out to get a handle on the latest available browsers out there that are better than the native ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) Android browser. Some of the apps that made it to the... Read More and then some. But, browsing just did not feel easy and intuitive on the 7-inch device as it did on my laptop, and not because of the smaller screen either.

That changed when I found Mercury Browser, a fast and secure app that has been introduced for Android after the success of its iOS version Looking To Ditch Mobile Safari? Mercury Browser Pro Is The App For You [iOS, Free For A Limited Time] Looking To Ditch Mobile Safari? Mercury Browser Pro Is The App For You [iOS, Free For A Limited Time] Most iOS users are happy to use Mobile Safari. It's a solid browser with many of the features users need, but for some users, it's not enough. Some of us want more from our browsers... Read More . Here’s an in-depth look at this new player in the Android market.

At First Glance

When you open Mercury Browser, you’re greeted by a grid-based Speed Dial section as seen in most browsers.

What I like best about this browser is its menu section, which sits in a discreet toolbar at the bottom of the window and stays out of your way, unlike that of the usual browsers.

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mercury-homescreen

I could easily explore nearly all of the features using just 3-4 toolbar buttons. With this clever arrangement, the browser appears simple on the surface, while hiding plenty of interesting options for those who like their apps feature rich. As the toolbar buttons lead to popup panels that appear and disappear with a tap, the screen remains conveniently free from clutter.

Diving Into The Important Stuff

Mercury Browser is quite customizable . Take your pick from as many as 12 search engines including Google, DuckDuckGo (reviewed here Get A Better Search Experience With Duck Duck Go Get A Better Search Experience With Duck Duck Go It seems that there are a couple of services and Linux distributions (such as Linux Mint) that are switching over to Duck Duck Go as their default search engine. So why the heck are they... Read More ), Bing, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, Reddit, and YouTube.

Tapping on the numbered icon in the toolbar reveals a slide-out panel from where you can open and close tabs. Tasks like managing downloaded files, switching to private mode, and sharing Web pages are all pretty straightforward. If you’re security conscious, you’ll be glad to know that you can protect the browser with a pass code.

You’ll have no trouble navigating the bookmarks section. If you use Chrome or Firefox on your PC, you can choose to keep its data synced with your mobile device by installing the corresponding Mercury Connect desktop extension.

I could quickly access my Firefox bookmarks on the tab by signing up for Sync using my email address. Registering with your Facebook or Google account is also available as an option.

mercury-desktop-connect

Tweak, Tweak, And Tweak Some More

Make the screen visually comfortable by adjusting the brightness and font size to your liking. You can even switch between day and night modes, and lock screen orientation as required.

Take full advantage of the Settings screen, which lets you customize various features. This is the screen from where you can set up auto-filling for forms, import/export bookmarks, change privacy and gesture settings, add plugins, etc.

mercury-settings-plugins-screenshot

Extend the browser’s functionality by activating one or more plugins. Some of the add-ons include options for translation, blocking ads, scanning QR codes, and transferring files over WiFi.

I found the Reader plugin to be particularly useful, because it strips away unnecessary elements from a Web page and presents content in a distraction-free format, much like Evernote Clearly does Evernote Clearly Removes Clutter From Webpages For Reading, Clipping Or Printing Evernote Clearly Removes Clutter From Webpages For Reading, Clipping Or Printing Remove everything from any webpage - the header, the sidebar, the advertisements - except for what you want to read. Then, if you like, send the article directly to Evernote or print it, clutter free.... Read More .

mercury-reader-mode-screenshot

What Could Have Been Better

The option to switch between tabs by sliding them across the screen would have been nice. A bandwidth management feature and JavaScript settings would also have proved handy for some.

As the Android version of the browser was released as recently as October 2013, it’s understandable that it feels a little rough around the edges. For now, it lacks Flash support and some of the personalization features that are available in its iOS avatar.

The browser crashed on a couple of occasions, but that did nothing to detract from its overall look and feel. It has been my default browser for a few weeks now, and I have no intention of switching to a different one any time soon.

The Verdict

Mercury Browser provides the right mix of features and simplicity, which can be just what you need for a comfortable browsing experience. It’s easy on the eyes as well. Sure, it may not be as advanced as its iOS relative is said to be. You might even end up going back to your regular browser. But, in my experience, Mercury Browser is a fairly good app that has the capability to impress you if you let it. How about giving it a shot?

Have you tried Mercury Browser? In your opinion, how does it fare over its more-talked-about counterparts?

Image Credits: The featured image is a derivative of Powered By Android by jdhancock (used under CC)

  1. Rafael
    January 30, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Opera (the full version, not Mini) is the best.

  2. Scott B
    January 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I find it difficult to get away from my life of Google. Might sound sad but I kinda like having everything synced and linked. I did try Dolphin sometime ago and this looks like it's got some nice features but Chrome it is for me.

    • Vipul J
      January 29, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      I am in the exact same boat and sometimes do feel sad. The only calender, contact app, browser, map provider, mail client I use is something Google Inc. It just seems so effortless to have everything synced. The only thing I have separate is Dropbox over GDrive.
      So, on topic, yeah, Internet (Samsung default browser) is what suits me best. All the chrome functionality without the chrome resource hogging scenario.

    • Akshata
      January 30, 2014 at 4:58 am

      Scott, I have had the same dilemma before - wanting to try a new service but not ready to give up the sync feature convenience that comes with using Google products. If Chrome works great for you, you're right that it's best to stick with it.

  3. Nunja B
    January 29, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Looks good! Will have to give it a try.

  4. Philip
    January 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I currently use Dolphin as my main browser but am becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the number of sites and pages it either can't handle at all or at least can't handle properly, so a new player is potentially good news.

    But there's a big BUT!

    I use LastPass and Pocket extensively and the Dolphin add-ins for each have no rivals. Even Firefox for Android only has a basic LastPass add-in and nothing - as far as I'm aware - for Pocket.

    Without those I'm tied to Dolphin.

    • Tug R
      January 30, 2014 at 3:20 am

      As a LastPass user I'm in the same boat. If only Chrome would have extensions, then my problem would solved. Until then I'll probably keep bouncing around between Dolphin and Firefox.

  5. Alan M
    January 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Just downloaded it. It shouldn't have to work too hard to outdo the fat Chrome and Firefox browsers on my phone.

  6. johnbrian
    January 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Have been looking for a browser with a built in Reader. BB has it and have missed it from all of the Android browsers. This may become my primary browser.

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