Your mobile browser is an app you probably use all the time, but might not have thought about replacing like your phone or messaging app.
But you should. There’s a lot you do in a browser. Therefore, it matters that the one you’re swiping and tapping on every day suits your needs.
Maybe you’re someone who wants a more handy interface, or perhaps you care about your privacy above all. There’s an Android browser for everyone—here are seven options that stand out from the rest, and their major focuses.
1. Firefox Focus: Privacy-Focused
We begin with one of Mozilla’s offerings for Android, Firefox Focus. Focus is designed for the sole purpose of securing your digital presence. There’s no browsing history, tabs, a list of your most-visited websites, or similar features found on modern browsers.
Instead, Firefox Focus comes with a wide set of tools that allow you to cover your tracks once you leave a website. The browser does so by obstructing trackers and cookies which would have otherwise monitored your browsing habits.
In addition, Firefox Focus erases your entire browsing session and its details as soon as you exit. There’s also a persistent delete button and a notification for when you’d like to do it manually.
Since Firefox Focus prevents all background plugins, it’s also quicker at loading web pages. You can even cherry-pick which elements you want to allow. For instance, you can disable analytic trackers and still keep cookies, since disabling them can cause issues with certain websites.
Download: Firefox Focus (Free)
2. Opera Touch: More Convenient Web Browsing
Opera Touch is a browser for people who find it difficult to browse on large-screen phones. Instead of the usual row of options at the bottom, the app comes with a single gesture-based floating button called the Fast Action Button. You can swipe this in various directions to access actions such as switching to another tab, reloading, searching, and more. This keeps everything important within reach of your finger.
This browser also features a handful of other nifty tools. One is My Flow, which lets you seamlessly share content between Opera on your desktop and phone. Plus, there’s a setting for blocking websites that mine cryptocurrencies in the background.
Among the flurry of Android browsers which offer gestures, Opera Touch definitely has the most polished and sophisticated interface.
Download: Opera Touch (Free)
3. Ecosia Browser: Plant Trees With Web Searches
Ecosia Browser is a run-of-the-mill Chromium-based browser with one significant difference: it’s developed by a non-profit organization and comes locked to a custom search engine. How is that helpful?
Well, ad revenue from every web search you run on the Ecosia Browser contributes to planting a tree. Yes, all the proceeds from the browser are used to finance reforestation programs.
A single tree costs about forty-five searches, which is not much. Most people will probably hit this in less than a week. Ecosia says its browser accumulates enough profit every second for a new sapling. So far, it has managed to seed over 36 million trees with nearly 7 million active users.
Therefore, if you’re someone who can live with a slightly less powerful search engine, give the Ecosia Browser a shot and be part of this great cause. The rest of its features are identical to Google Chrome.
Download: Ecosia Browser (Free)
4. DuckDuckGo Browser: Privacy Tests for Websites
In addition to a series of privacy-oriented features, DuckDuckGo’s Android browser educates you on how secure a particular website is by grading it. These scores are derived from an evaluation of several security practices. These include whether HTTPS is available, the number of trackers, whether it’s mining cryptocurrencies, pop-up ads, and others.
The browser displays this grade beside the address bar and even allows you to improve it manually by blocking various elements. There’s also a Fire Button, which extinguishes all your personal data from the app just like Firefox Focus. Although here, it doesn’t automatically execute after every session.
DuckDuckGo’s biggest highlight, of course, is that it forces you to employ DuckDuckGo’s own search engine instead of Google. This is arguably a safer and less prying environment. Of course, this is not as private of an experience as ditching Google entirely on Android, but it’s a start.
Download: DuckDuckGo Browser (Free)
5. Lynket Browser: Powerful Custom Tabs
Lynket Browser is for people who are fed up with Android’s Custom Tabs.
Initially set out to enable developers to easily render web pages without sending users away from their apps, Custom Tabs have been a mess due to the lack of attention from Google. Custom Tabs suffer from two critical drawbacks today—they prevent you from multitasking and you lose all trace of them when you return to the app.
Lynket fixes that with a clever approach. When configured as the default browser, Lynket slides over any Custom Tab you open to a separate window on your phone, letting you easily multitask between several of them. What’s more, the browser also adds these links to the history so you don’t lose them forever if you accidentally swipe them away.
It can even launch Custom Tabs as a floating bubble and load them in the background if you don’t want to immediately attend to them. This is similar to Facebook Messenger’s Chat Heads. Reader mode and other browser tidbits are available too.
The most intriguing aspect of Lynket Browser, however, is that the app is built on top of the Custom Tabs protocol. That lets it employ the architecture of any other browser (like Google Chrome or Samsung’s browser) and sync its existing data.
Download: Lynket Browser (Free)
6. Cake: Kill the Search Engine Results Page
The majority of times when you look up something online, there’s a good chance you end up tapping the first link. A free browser called Cake addresses that behavior by getting rid of the search engine’s results page.
The idea is to skip that and directly land you on the first link of the results. From there, you can swipe right or left to view the rest of the pages or pull down from the top to access the search index. Cake also preloads the links closest to the one you’re reading at the moment, speeding up the experience even more.
Download: Cake Web Browser (Free)
7. Kiwi Browser: A Straightforward Alternative
Based on Chromium, Kiwi Browser is an app for people in search of a no-frills, quick browsing experience. The browser comes with all the necessary features and a few more supplementing them.
This includes a night mode (optimized for OLED screens), a bottom address bar, cryptojacking protection, and more.
Download: Kiwi Browser (Free)
A Unique Android Browsing Experience
The browser that comes installed on your phone is probably more than capable of handling your demands. But these seven unique browsers take your experience a step further by overcoming at least one major shortcoming of other mainstream apps, like privacy or the hassle of Custom Tabs.