Sep 30 AT 11:36 AM Nick Gray 29 Comments

Speed Tests: Benchmarking the Android browsers

With an open ecosystem and unrestricted market, consumers always benefit by having the option to choose which product they want to use.  One of the best examples of this is the number of web browsers available to consumers on the Android Market.  Yes, many of them have unique features that give each of them a small advantage over the competition, but I’m sure we can all agree that speed is one of the main concerns for most of us.

To help us sort everything out, PC World has pitted some of the most popular Android web browsers against each other to see which one rises to the top.  To be honest, the results should not be shocking to most of you who have used other browsers than Google’s stock option, but we were a little taken aback by the fact that Skyfire 2.0 did take the number one spot.

If you have never tested out any of the browsers features in PC World’s test, we’d highly recommend you head on over to the Android Market and give a few of them a try.  Skyfire 2.0, Opera Mini, and Dolphin HD all offer a pretty unique browsing experience that you simply don’t get with Google’s stock browser.

We’d be interested to hear which browser you use on a regular basis. Leave us a note in the comments to let us know which is number one on your Android phone.

Source: PC World

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • jayzeroeee

    Been using stock since I’ve been on 2.2, before that I was using Dolphin HD.

    • http://www.niola.net Jon Niola

      I was a pretty devout user of Dolphin HD but when I upgraded to 2.2 I gave the stock browser another shot and it felt snappier. Nice to see actually data to back up what I was experiencing.

  • http://Website Mocha K

    I use stock (2.1) , but for online videos i used sky fire but i downloaded dolphin Browser HD yesterday.

  • http://Website nmw407

    I have a G1 rooted with biffmod 2.0, overclocked to 614. On my G1, the fastest is Opera Mini, then Dolphin, then stock, and last is Skyfire.

    Skyfire is by far the slowest to render pages, especially if the site is graphic heavy and doesn’t have a mobile site.

    • http://Website gee

      The test above tested only for full browser pages. If you compare Dolphin & Stock loading mobile pages vs Skyfire full webpages, of course the mobile pages will load faster. The point is to compare them on similar terms as PC World did.

      I use stock and Skyfire. I’ve tried Dolphin HD several times but have found that it takes forever to load full webpages and stutters on video whereas both stock & skyfire handle flash videos very well.

  • http://Website Ben

    I keep trying to use the stock browsers (2.1 and 2.2), but I end up going back to Dolphin HD. It’s a little slower than others, but it’s the best implementation of all of the usability features I’ve found. Zooming, tabs, clearing history at close – it does these the best. It gets laggy with a lot of flash, but I can always turn to the stock browser for those tasks (I’m looking at you, nfl.com).

    • http://Website chad

      I agree, dolphin hd is slow but I like it because of how many features it has.

  • http://Website SamFreezy

    I’ve also been using the stock browser since Froyo. On 2.1 I was using Xscope. Never tried Skyfire

  • AndyH_STi

    On my N1 running 2.2 my go-to browser is Dolphin HD for its features and general usability. I also have (and occasionally use) the stock browser, xScope and Opera Mini. I tried Skyfire shortly after it came out and wasn’t impressed.

  • http://Website Chancy

    Don’t forget to factor in human error for these figures for about (+1 or -1) because of slight mis-timing.

  • http://Website ThisIsMyName

    What about Xscope?

  • http://Website Darkseider

    Remind me again why Mozilla is making a browser for Android? An article sometime last week said new Fennec Alpha much faster! Well hell if 23 seconds is much faster than the older Alpha looks like they have a LONG way to go. Not to mention 40 freakin megs for a browser? REALLY?

  • http://Website D.J.

    To be fair to Mozilla not only is Fennec an alpha, they tested it on a phone with an entirely different architecture. The other browsers were tested on a Motorola DROID X while Fennec was tested on a HTC EVO. I don’t know they didn’t test all of them on just one phone, but that makes the results invalid.

    Personally I prefer Dolphin HD followed by the stock browser. Dolphin has a lot of great features, and a great interface with real tabs.

    • themetatron

      not only that, but the droidx doesnt have jit enabled. also, the droidx is hampered by motoblur, a rediculous resource hog. why not test on the device google does their testing on?

  • http://droidandroidgames.com/ AndroidGames

    What surprises me is that stock browsers are actually really good, do they use webkit by the way? And will google rebrand stock browser from android to chrome?

  • http://Website Shawn

    Where is xScope?!!

    xScope is my main browser, it is much cleaner then stock browser and works better with tabs. Would really love to see that added.

  • http://Website Gawain23

    I changed the settings in the stock browser so software plugins only load on demand. It reduces the time it takes for Flash-heavy sites to load. When you use stock like this it leaves everything else in the dust.

  • http://Website Miguel

    After reading this, I think I’ll have Opera Mini on hand for those inevitable times when T-Mobile’s 3G coverage goes to crap (Edge), which tends to happen in most suburbs once you go indoors.

    I also might check out Dolphin. But I am quite happy with the stock browser on my Nexus One.

  • http://Website Larry

    One thing that PC world should have noted, like it did w/ Fennec, is that Skyfire is still a Beta version, so that it can outperform some of the fully released browsers is a testament to how good it actually can be.

  • Enndr

    WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP IGNORING XSCOPE? I MEAN COME ON.. SOME OF US ARE SICK OF HEARING ABOUT THE MEDIA CHOSEN “BIG BOYS.”

    START DOING AN ACTUAL REAL JOB AND LOOK AT REAL ALTERNATIVES. REPORT ON THAT.

  • http://Website ps3chick

    I use Skyfire, I like that you can switch between mobile pages and desktop with one click. That gives me the speed and flexibility I want. And the videos are shown in HQ, for youtube.

  • http://Website Guy Bailey

    I’m a Skyfire man – good point about it being in beta.

    Why isn’t there a Chrome mobile browser?

    • falmc

      In the most basic sense, android default browser IS chrome. It uses chromes V8 javascript engine.

  • http://Website james

    II wish they would have tested xscope 6…. it truly is a fine alternative.

  • http://Website G-Money713

    Why is xScope always left out of the tests? I have tried all of the browser options, and I prefer xScope over all the others. Skyfire is great for videos, But nothing gives a better mobile experience than xScope IMO!

  • http://Website Dan

    Unfortunately, it’s been reported on a forum and I’ve experienced Skyfire sending LARGE amounts of data back to their server without explanation. I don’t mind speed, but not if I’m being hacked :(

  • http://Website Haggie

    Moved to Dolphin HD when they added a LastPass extension for syncing passwords with my desktop and laptop machines.

  • http://twitter.com/geeknik geeknik

    Why isn’t xscope in the list? The new version is supposed to be pretty good.

  • http://Website kumar

    xScope 6 (trial) is not working for me. Keeps auto closing everytime I launch http://thestar.com.my/news/nation/ . Oh well, back to the stock 2.1 browser on my Galaxy S.

  1. Been using stock since I’ve been on 2.2, before that I was using Dolphin HD.

    • I was a pretty devout user of Dolphin HD but when I upgraded to 2.2 I gave the stock browser another shot and it felt snappier. Nice to see actually data to back up what I was experiencing.

  2. Mocha KGuest 4 years ago

    I use stock (2.1) , but for online videos i used sky fire but i downloaded dolphin Browser HD yesterday.

  3. nmw407Guest 4 years ago

    I have a G1 rooted with biffmod 2.0, overclocked to 614. On my G1, the fastest is Opera Mini, then Dolphin, then stock, and last is Skyfire.

    Skyfire is by far the slowest to render pages, especially if the site is graphic heavy and doesn’t have a mobile site.

    • geeGuest 4 years ago

      The test above tested only for full browser pages. If you compare Dolphin & Stock loading mobile pages vs Skyfire full webpages, of course the mobile pages will load faster. The point is to compare them on similar terms as PC World did.

      I use stock and Skyfire. I’ve tried Dolphin HD several times but have found that it takes forever to load full webpages and stutters on video whereas both stock & skyfire handle flash videos very well.

  4. BenGuest 4 years ago

    I keep trying to use the stock browsers (2.1 and 2.2), but I end up going back to Dolphin HD. It’s a little slower than others, but it’s the best implementation of all of the usability features I’ve found. Zooming, tabs, clearing history at close – it does these the best. It gets laggy with a lot of flash, but I can always turn to the stock browser for those tasks (I’m looking at you, nfl.com).

  5. SamFreezyGuest 4 years ago

    I’ve also been using the stock browser since Froyo. On 2.1 I was using Xscope. Never tried Skyfire

  6. On my N1 running 2.2 my go-to browser is Dolphin HD for its features and general usability. I also have (and occasionally use) the stock browser, xScope and Opera Mini. I tried Skyfire shortly after it came out and wasn’t impressed.

  7. ChancyGuest 4 years ago

    Don’t forget to factor in human error for these figures for about (+1 or -1) because of slight mis-timing.

  8. ThisIsMyNameGuest 4 years ago

    What about Xscope?

  9. DarkseiderGuest 4 years ago

    Remind me again why Mozilla is making a browser for Android? An article sometime last week said new Fennec Alpha much faster! Well hell if 23 seconds is much faster than the older Alpha looks like they have a LONG way to go. Not to mention 40 freakin megs for a browser? REALLY?

  10. D.J.Guest 4 years ago

    To be fair to Mozilla not only is Fennec an alpha, they tested it on a phone with an entirely different architecture. The other browsers were tested on a Motorola DROID X while Fennec was tested on a HTC EVO. I don’t know they didn’t test all of them on just one phone, but that makes the results invalid.

    Personally I prefer Dolphin HD followed by the stock browser. Dolphin has a lot of great features, and a great interface with real tabs.

    • not only that, but the droidx doesnt have jit enabled. also, the droidx is hampered by motoblur, a rediculous resource hog. why not test on the device google does their testing on?

  11. What surprises me is that stock browsers are actually really good, do they use webkit by the way? And will google rebrand stock browser from android to chrome?

  12. ShawnGuest 4 years ago

    Where is xScope?!!

    xScope is my main browser, it is much cleaner then stock browser and works better with tabs. Would really love to see that added.

  13. Gawain23Guest 4 years ago

    I changed the settings in the stock browser so software plugins only load on demand. It reduces the time it takes for Flash-heavy sites to load. When you use stock like this it leaves everything else in the dust.

  14. MiguelGuest 4 years ago

    After reading this, I think I’ll have Opera Mini on hand for those inevitable times when T-Mobile’s 3G coverage goes to crap (Edge), which tends to happen in most suburbs once you go indoors.

    I also might check out Dolphin. But I am quite happy with the stock browser on my Nexus One.

  15. LarryGuest 4 years ago

    One thing that PC world should have noted, like it did w/ Fennec, is that Skyfire is still a Beta version, so that it can outperform some of the fully released browsers is a testament to how good it actually can be.

  16. EnndrGuest 4 years ago

    WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP IGNORING XSCOPE? I MEAN COME ON.. SOME OF US ARE SICK OF HEARING ABOUT THE MEDIA CHOSEN “BIG BOYS.”

    START DOING AN ACTUAL REAL JOB AND LOOK AT REAL ALTERNATIVES. REPORT ON THAT.

  17. ps3chickGuest 4 years ago

    I use Skyfire, I like that you can switch between mobile pages and desktop with one click. That gives me the speed and flexibility I want. And the videos are shown in HQ, for youtube.

  18. Guy BaileyGuest 4 years ago

    I’m a Skyfire man – good point about it being in beta.

    Why isn’t there a Chrome mobile browser?

  19. jamesGuest 4 years ago

    II wish they would have tested xscope 6…. it truly is a fine alternative.

  20. G-Money713Guest 4 years ago

    Why is xScope always left out of the tests? I have tried all of the browser options, and I prefer xScope over all the others. Skyfire is great for videos, But nothing gives a better mobile experience than xScope IMO!

  21. DanGuest 4 years ago

    Unfortunately, it’s been reported on a forum and I’ve experienced Skyfire sending LARGE amounts of data back to their server without explanation. I don’t mind speed, but not if I’m being hacked :(

  22. HaggieGuest 4 years ago

    Moved to Dolphin HD when they added a LastPass extension for syncing passwords with my desktop and laptop machines.

  23. geeknikGuest 4 years ago

    Why isn’t xscope in the list? The new version is supposed to be pretty good.

  24. kumarGuest 4 years ago

    xScope 6 (trial) is not working for me. Keeps auto closing everytime I launch http://thestar.com.my/news/nation/ . Oh well, back to the stock 2.1 browser on my Galaxy S.