We all use our mobile browsers on a daily basis. Having a browser that is fast, easy to use, and that renders pages properly is important. Fixya has released a report comparing the top 5 mobile browsers. They are making it easy for us to compare a few choices and see how they rank. The Fixya ranking system is figured by comparing developer problem impressions and NetMarketShare, and using them to factor a total Usability Score. They compared the Android Stock Browser, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Because market share was heavily weighted in the ranking system, Safari came out on top. The stock Android browser came in second, Opera ranked third, with Chrome fourth and IE bringing up the rear. Let’s take a look at some of what Fixya found.
Android Stock Browser
The stock Android browser is the number 2 browser according to Fixya. It got points for being open source, quick and easy to use, having a simple design, and still supporting Flash. Some of the major features that it shares with Chrome were not mentioned, like cross-platform synchronization. The cons for the stock Android browser were random crashes, password concerns because it stores passwords in plain text, and limited support because it is being phased out in favor of Chrome as the stock Android browser. I personally feel that the last point is a good thing.
Chrome came in fourth, partly because its current market share is small when compared to Safari and the current stock Android browser. It was bolstered by its feature set. Google brings most of the core features from the Chrome desktop browser over to the mobile version. The UI is smooth, with Fixya users stating that the mobile Chrome browser offers the most natural browsing experience of any of these web browsers. The cross-platform compatibility is unmatched on Chrome. Some of the negatives were that it doesn’t support Flash, which is being phased out in favor of HTML5 and other mobile-friendly options. Some users experienced issues with font recognition and issues with the browser tabs.
There’s always been a soft spot in my heart for Opera. It doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. In this comparison, the Opera mobile browser came in third. The UI is smooth, it has excellent HTML5 support, and it can use less data than other mobile browsers. On the other hand, it can render web pages strangely from time to time. Some users were also concerned with privacy because of the server-side rendering that Opera uses.
Apple’s Safari browser topped this list of mobile browsers, mostly because it has a higher NetMarketShare than all of the other browsers combined. The UI is “dead simple” and it got points for users being able to bookmark web pages and share links via email or Twitter. Those functions are basic and built in to most browsers, but Fixya counted them as pros for Safari. The cons were lack of Flash support, lack of video integration, and the fact that the UI can look cluttered even though it’s simple to use.
IE gets a nod here, but it came in last place in this comparison. It has good cross-platform compatibility and handles screen real estate well, but renders web pages poorly and doesn’t recognize fonts properly.
You can find the full breakdown of these 5 browsers on the Fixya blog. What’s your favorite mobile browser? Why do you love it above all others?