You can have a phone and run everything straight out of the box. However, when it comes to browsing the web, you are stuck with the default, which happens to be Google Chrome. The problem here is that it may not be the best option.
This is true when it comes to private browsing, because Google aim to glean every ounce of user data they can for their own benefits. (Get better privacy with Chrome with these extensions)
We will look to try to find the best browser in the Google Play Store. They may improve your experience, and they may help keep things more private.
Top Android Browsers
Focus may be relatively new and arriving mid way through 2017. However, it may have come a long way with new features since then, such as search suggestions and safe surfing, which checks for potentially harmful phishing sites.
The Firefox full mobile version is a great browser. One reason being that it supports extensions, unlike many others.
However, Firefox Focus is one of our favourite in Mozilla’s Android offerings. Focus has been well planned, and Mozilla is regularly adding new functionality to cover all aspects of private browsing.
Focus blocks ads, crawlers, and other malicious code that may send information to the site.
Closing Firefox Focus wipes all signs of your history, or you can erase your session by tapping the trashcan icon in the bottom right as you start surfing, and if you navigate to a new application, the ability to end your session appears in the notification area of your phone. (Bump up your privacy more with these Firefox browser extensions for privacy)
The Dolphin Zero browser is lightweight, and doesn’t store any of your data, passwords or browsing history.
You can make use of personalised search, the ad-blocker and the AdBlock pop-up blocker. It also automatically deletes all your browsing history and any cookies from your device.
Using this browser, you are in full incognito mode right from the get go. The Dolphin browser might not be a common name among the more well-known names, but you still get fast speeds, support for Flash, gesture support and tabbed pages.
This browser has a unique sidebar panel, has a built in night reader mode, a desktop mode, and you can stop images loading if you so wish.
It does as much as it can to make the web experience enjoyable, but no mobile browsers are 100% secure.
This comes as part of Windows 10; however, it was made available for Android. The version for mobiles uses a different development team, so some features may differ.
Adding to this, Microsoft made the decision to dump the old Edge and make one from scratch using Chromium which so many other browsers are built on.
This open source code allows any developer to create software based upon it, and it is open for anyone to see.
It does come with plenty of features, such as the night mode, to make things easier on the eyes.
However, the Edge Chromium browser is still in a beta version. This means there may be bugs or glitches at present.
Microsoft Edge is a great browser, and should be even better once the final version is released. Even now, it is one of the top browsers for Android.
No list of browsers would be complete without the Chrome browser. It has over 1.5 billion downloads, so it is one of the most popular choices for Android devices.
Chrome still has a clean interface as it always had, but it can be resource hungry. There are plenty of features that come in Chrome to make browsing experiences better.
You can sync between the mobile devices the desktop version and onto a laptop.
It comes with data saver, data conversion, incognito, ad blocking, and many other things to make life easier.
For many, they use this because it is the default browser, and they use it without even checking out any of the others.
Opera Touch is a light and powerful version of Opera that allows for incredibly fast navigation. You will actually find it hard to find a more responsive and faster browser in the mobile market.
Opera Touch’s best feature is its ability to enable the user to work with only one hand.
On the homepage of the browser, tap the search button and type what you are looking for. Tap one of the main websites or navigate to the History tab to quickly find a site you need.
Opera also comes with an easy way to share websites between desktop and mobile versions, with My Flow.
With one click or tap, you can instantly send a site to any Opera Touch browser that is connected to My Flow – this can be desktop to mobile, mobile to a desktop or mobile-to-mobile. This alone makes it one of the best browsers for Android tablet use.
The browser app includes a built-in ad blocker, a download manager, private browsing, support for downloading videos and numerous other features with a highly intuitive user interface.
This is very different from all the other browsers here. Rather than taking up the entire screen, it floats above whatever else you have on screen. This becomes useful if you use social media a lot.
You can tap a link inside and app, and then you have the option to “Load with Flynx” from here, the browser opens the link inside the app. All you have to do then is tap the globe icon, and the page opens.
Once you are finished, you just swipe it down to close. Larger social sites such as Pinterest and Facebook already have their own built in browsers, but Flynx makes things more convenient and less intrusive until you want it to be.
For users who want to keep things private, then the Tor browser has reached another stage in its development.
It has taken a long time, but this secure browser is finally becoming a realisation.
First, there was Orbot, which was a proxy app, and then Orfox followed this. This was an Orbot powered browser.
Like the version on the desktop, the Tor browser hides your identity by default as you surf the web.
Adding to this, it hides your current location when you data passes across the Tor network.
Even though all this is the most secure of all the browsers here, the Tor browser still removes cookies once you are done.
Data will have 3X encryption, but this will have some speed sacrifice for the extra work that needs to go into this scrambling of data.
Like Firefox, the entire project is open-source. The ultimate aim is to let users browse freely and defend against online surveillance.
Because of the way it works, each site you visit is isolated so trackers are unable to follow you around the internet.
It may be the best Android browser for privacy once it reaches a stable release.
Android Browsers and VPN’s
It doesn’t matter how many browsers there are in the Google store. Everyone has their favourite, regardless of if they are in fact the best web browsers going, or not.
Most users just want to be happy with their experience, and in many cases, they are unaware how their browser can be letting them down.
There is an upsurge in browsers that are privacy focused, but you can see from the development of the Tor browser. This focus doesn’t go far enough.
With this in mind, the best solution that can cover every user, and every browser in this list, or any browser in the Google store is for users to make full use of a VPN service.
Many users don’t know that these can run on mobile phones, tablets or many other devices. They think they are a computer software, and that is it.
A VPN will take your data and encrypt it in the same way as Tor, however, it goes a step further, and makes it impossible for anyone to crack the encryption. You can even set the location to another country.
This actually comes in handy when streaming, you can access blocked sites and bypass geo-restrictions. You may find you can open up more online content than previously.
VPN’s are becoming increasingly popular. This is due to data retention, ISP’s are recording what you do, and mass surveillance watches what everyone is doing while on the internet.
The best VPN for Australian Android users is ExpressVPN. It keeps you safe on the widest ranges of devices than any other provider.
It also comes with a cancel anytime 30-day money back guarantee. You can test all the features, and if it’s not suited, you can easily cancel.
The main thing is you can use your favourite browser without worrying if you are in safe browsing or being tracked. A VPN puts you in permanent incognito mode.
Want more, read 7 Must-Have Apps to Protect Your Privacy Online