Replacement Browsers for Android Tablets

Your Android tablet comes pre-installed with a browser that, for most, is a clean and efficient way to access webpages. It certainly does the job well, but there are many instances when you might need something else, maybe more speed or options, so you’ll be looking into alternatives. There’s a variety of both first and third-party Android browser, including the well-received Chrome for Android.

In this roundup, we’ll take a look at a handful of the tablet-optimised browsers available for you on the Google Play store.


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replacementBrowsersForTablets roundup: Chrome

Chrome

Chrome for Android is, of course, Google’s own alternative browser and one that was met with significant acclaim when it was first released as a beta.

It brings a nice, intuitive interface with tabs that, if nothing else, makes tablet web browsing feel more on par with desktop browsing and that’s what pushes Chrome for Android to pole position in this roundup.

Of course, Chrome for Android brings notable features from the desktop to your tablet, such as Incognito mode for browsing privately without leaving a trace and the syncing of your open tabs, bookmarks and omnibox data between platforms — including desktop and even iOS.

Price: Free
Requires: Android Varies with device
Google Play Link: Chrome
Developer: Google Inc.

replacementBrowsersForTablets roundup: Opera Mobile web browser

Opera Mobile web browser

Opera Mobile is another Android iteration of a popular desktop browser, claiming to be “the premium web experience” on mobile devices.

It shares a similar design to Opera on desktop, which regular users and fans will appreciate. It also boasts Opera Link for synchronising bookmarks, Speed Dials and other data between platforms.

Also available is Opera Mini, a slightly different and lighter version of Opera that reduces data consumption by compressing webpages before serving them to you, saving you money and bandwidth consumption on your mobile data plan. The tough decision is having to choose between Mobile and Mini.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Opera Mobile web browser
Developer: Opera Software ASA

replacementBrowsersForTablets roundup: Firefox

Firefox

Much like Chrome and Opera, Mozilla’s Firefox for Android is the mobile equivalent of the popular desktop browser. Firefox for Android boasts speed, advanced security and a Reader Mode to optimise pages away from their clutter default.

In what is becoming a fairly generic feature of these browsers, Firefox also offers syncing features for browser history, bookmarks, passwords and tabs between platforms, so everything stays up-to-date and in sync.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.2 or above
Google Play Link: Firefox
Developer: Mozilla

replacementBrowsersForTablets roundup: Dolphin for Pad V1.0 Beta

Dolphin for Pad V1.0 Beta

Dolphin Browser for tablets is a replacement browser designed specifically for the tablet’s larger screen, featuring a Chrome-esque tabbed interface that feels more akin to desktop browsing than mobile.

Dolphin, as a platform, is also customisable, allowing you to “beef up” your installation with add-ons and manipulate the visual presentation of the app with themes.

Dolphin Browser also lets users customise how they navigate and use the app by creating custom gestures for specific actions, such as going back or forward between browsed pages. If you fancy a bit more customisability in your browser, Dolphin Browser for tablets might just be for you!

Price: Free
Requires: Android 3.0 or above
Google Play Link: Dolphin for Pad V1.0 Beta
Developer: Dolphin Browser

replacementBrowsersForTablets roundup: Maxthon Web Browser for Tablet

Maxthon Web Browser for Tablet

Maxathon Web Browser for your 10″ tablet is yet another alternative browser using the now-generic tabs-at-the-top interface that became popular with Chrome.

Much like Dolphin, Maxathon includes an ever-growing choice of skins allowing users to customise and style their experience. Plus, as is evidently the norm with such alternative browsers, offers syncing functionality with a desktop counterpart.

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Google Play Link: Maxthon Web Browser for Tablet
Developer: Maxthon LTD

replacementBrowsersForTablets roundup: OverSkreen (floating browser)

OverSkreen (floating browser)

OverSkreen is another alternative browser, but is a little more unique than any other featured on this list.

Unlike the standard, one-window views of the other browsers on this list, OverSkreen is a so-called “floating browser” that floats on top of your open application or homescreen in a kind of PiP mode. Furthermore, it allows users to open multiple webpages and organise them much like desktop windows side-by-side.

Outside of it’s unique selling point, OverSkreen features everything you’ve come to expect in a good replacement browser, such as private browsing and syncing with a desktop browser (in this case, Overskreen can sync bookmarks with your Chrome installation!).

Price: $2.49
Requires: Android 2.2 – 4.0.3
Google Play Link: OverSkreen (floating browser)
Developer: MBFG

If the default stock browser that ships on your Android tablet isn’t doing it for you, hopefully this roundup has inspired you to pick up a new one. While they all have some pretty common themes (ie syncing with the desktop), most have some stand-out unique features. OverSkreen, for example, can certainly be useful at times and will be a welcome addition to most Android tablet users.

If you’re using an alternative browser, what is your preference? If not, does this list make you want to try some of the alternatives?


  • anon

    Article is missing Boatbrowser, which despite strange name, i think is the best browser on the market. Fast, stable, good interface (easy surfing with one hand). Worth trying

  • Joe Simpson

    Dolphin browser beta is really good. I think they bundle different Webkit version or something

  • Robert

    I vote for Boat Browser too. I’ve tried all the ones you reviewed and I still find Boat the best for speed, layout and ease of use.

  • steanne

    Sleipnir!

  • Marcel

    I’m missing boatbrowser too, its by far the best browser for android tablets at this moment. For my android phone i am using boatbrowser mini.

  • Lady Di

    I’m voting for Boat Browser to as it allowed me to have a purple theme. It is fast, responsive and customizable. My only complaint is I can’t get the text wrap and pinch n zoom to work simultaneously. It works great otherwise on the SGSII. Wish my Asian no name brand tablet that is 4.0.3 OS could have it as well. I can only see the license key for both full and mini versions of Boat.

  • Spencer

    Without a doubt, Boat Browser. Fast, stable, feature full. Tried just about all browsers and determined Boat Browser is by far the best.

  • Tony Whittaker

    What I struggle with using Dolphin, with limited internal card space on a Desire, is that it leaves a vast amount of html5 data around after you have closed it. Only way is to physically remove it frequently via the applications option. Do these other browsers have similar behavior?

  • Mr6211

    Article is def missing boat browser ( or any paid browser). I mainly use boat browser for stability since it seems anything else crashes on my thrive faster than a house of cards.

  • Luke

    Chrome and the stock ICS/JB browser are the best. Not worth giving up the bookmark and tab syncing from Chrome for any other browser, especially as Chrome finally performs well after the last update. (certainly seemed to fix it for me)

    This is all on an S3.

  • Dave

    Personally, I like Boat Browser the best. Nice features and it works great! I was using Dolphin, which was nice, but didn’t do some things the way I thought they should be done and it is very proprietary.

    I tried a bunch of browsers. Probably 99% of the browsers in the Market. I did like Maxthon, but it needed work and the updates just weren’t coming and the developer kept telling to wait and how he didn’t have time for it.

    I finally tried Boat. It was nice enough to make me decide to give it a trial run and once I used it for a couple of days, I switched from Dolphin and I’ve never looked back! For me, not one of the other browsers can measure up!

    However, while Boat does do graphics well, if what you’re looking for is “pretty, pretty” and a thousand things to play with on the screen, then this isn’t the browser for you!

    Finally, Boat does have a cool feature for security which you should know about, so you don’t think it’s the browser messing up (it can be turned on/off). By default, it does not play videos, or show various flash animations. Rather, it shows the box outline and puts a little puzzle looking piece in the center, which you can tap to play it. Again, it does this for security from malicious code and this can be enabled/disabled.

    Enjoy! :)

  • Dave

    Btw, I noticed a comment on bookmarks. It seems that only the default Android browser can create bookmarks that are usable by other apps (like desktop folder apps, et al). Remember, just because you create the bookmark in the default browser, that doesn’t mean that you have to use the default browser to use the bookmark in another app.

    And since it isn’t going to change, all you have to do, is create the bookmark with the default browser, then add the bookmark into whatever app you need it to be in by browsing for it just like you would do normally (as I do in “Application Folders Pro”).

    Since another browser is your default browser, your device will call up the bookmark with your default browser, not the default browser. This is especially handy, since in ICS, the default broswer does not allow you to use “Desktop Mode” in the browser, instead of “MobileMode”. For those of us who do not like Mobile Mode in our Android browsers, that sucks! :)

    Once you have created the bookmark in your default (Android stock) browser, you can then edit it and change the URL to the normal, Desktop URL and save it and do as I des cribed above.

    Just remember, if you want Google to be able to restore all of your bookmarks, if you ever need it to, you have to pick the right place to save them. I.e., when you’re saving your bookmark, there is a little pull-down in the save bookmark box and you can select from “Local”, or your email address as the place to save your bookmark.

    *** If you choose “Local”, it will only save to your device and it will NOT symc to Google! You MUST choose to save it to your email address (you’ll see what I mean)! Tap the little box that says, “Local” and change it, so that it shows your email address and then it will sync with Google, so that whenever you set up your device again, or set up a new one, all of your bookmarks will be on it!

    *** So if you have ever wondered why you didn’t get all of your old bookmarks restored to a new device, or after redoing your device from scratch, that’s why! They were save to “Local”, which is the default. Think about it… LOCAL means just that… LOCAL, not to another server! :) Don’t worry, you can change all of your existing bookmarks to get them backed up, by going into your bookmarks list and longtapping on each one, then use the “Edit” feature and make the change as I described above.

  • Dave

    Forgive the confusion, please! I double used the word “default”. It should read as follows;

    “Since another browser is your default browser, your device will call up the bookmark with your default browser, not the Android device’s factory default browser.”

    Insert change of wording where necessary in my second message. :)

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  • lorraine

    i use ics browser as i browse alot of webcams & it’s really good for this, i hate chrome browser, i had it on my computer & kept getting funmoods.com coming down with it & then i had to do a full restore to get rid of it, ive tried to download chrome on my computer again , but the same thing happened again & it takes over your browser . grrrr

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  • Richard

    I too use Boat browser but l also use Maxthon browser, I find them both to be good and Maxthon HD is the one you want and not the basic Maxthon because its the one with the issues…nothing major but still a pain to deal with every time you do a search…..I’m using a Asus Transformer Pad TF300T so it comes with a nice stock browser and Chrome, you would think that would be enough but I like having several browsers to choose from.

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  • saul anderson

    Hi, very good article. I would like to add that the right tablet is also needed.
    If your tablet does not support a large browser like Chrome, because is not powerful enough like a nexus or with a processor with more than 1 GHz, you will not be able to use it.

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