Smartphones

Android browser showdown gallery

Wrapping up

One of the features that stole my heart is how Chrome zooms in when there is a collection of links bunched together, giving users the ability to make precise taps on links that they mean to tap on, instead of cursing their fat-fingered navigation. Opera does much the same thing by zooming into the links, but Chrome's inset method is a far better implementation.

The browser has the ability to sync bookmarks, omnibox data, and open tabs from other instances of Chrome that you may be using on your desktop or tablet. For developers, it also offers remote debugging.

If your phone is using Android Ice Cream Sandwich, then Chrome is the way to go.

Postscript: the things that don't matter

In articles such as this, it is common to present a table of BrowserMark results to demonstrate speed differences between browsers. But in a mobile world, the speed of the browser is often not the bottleneck; the mobile data connection is. To the nearest thousand, the average scores for each browser on an HTC Sense were: Opera 26K, Boat 73K, Firefox 48K, Firefox beta 43K, Chrome 92K, Dolphin 80K — but in real-world use, the performance difference is not in the rendering engines, but often in the browser chrome, feature sets, and extension usage. Looking at those numbers, it looks like Opera and Firefox are struggling to keep up; well, if they were, I struggled to see it.

One feature that was nice to see was the "View desktop site" feature that some browsers offered. Unfortunately, though, for the feature to work properly, the site that the user is viewing needs to adjust its layout based on CSS media queries. Many sites, including this one, redirect mobile users to a version of their site from which that browser feature has no effect. Hopefully, as time goes on, adaptive CSS implementation will increase, and this feature will become more useful.

About

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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