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Dolphin Browser

Free
Reviewed
April 2014
by ConsumerSearch
Dolphin Browser

Pros
  • Voice and gesture navigation
  • Clean design
  • Multiple search engine options
Cons
  • No desktop version
  • Buried, limited privacy settings

Bottom line

Android and iOS users mostly use Google Chrome and Safari by default, but experts say they should instead consider trying Dolphin Browser. This third-party browser has a simple, uncluttered design that works well on small screens and lets you use gestures (write N to launch a new tab, for example) or voice controls that make browsing on phones a little less cumbersome.

Performance

A mobile-only browser. Dolphin Browser is one of the few entirely created for mobile devices and works on both Android and iOS. It was designed as an alternative to the leading mobile browsers -- Google Chrome, Android's stock browser and Apple's Safari -- which have long held the most market share. Dolphin has a sleek, organized design that suits smaller screens on phones; it's also easy to navigate and use, reviewers say. A redesign has made Dolphin's interface even simpler and more user friendly, and supports faster page loading times. (Chrome is usually faster, however.) Dolphin Jetpack is an add-on that speeds up page loading, but will also drain your battery.

Features

Voice and gesture controls for easier browsing. Dolphin sports two cool features that make this browser stand out from the rest in the mobile pack: gesture and voice navigation. Gesture navigation is built into the browser and lets you navigate by simply writing on the screen (G for Google, for example) but you have to activate it first on the menu bar. Once you do, it can be customized. Dolphin also has voice commands called Sonar that can be activated by shaking your device, and it offers multiple search options (Amazon and Twitter among them); more can be added. Apps of popular sites like eBay can be quickly accessed via Dolphin's shortcuts (a.k.a. speed dials), and the browser has a new app store. On the downside, there's no desktop version and for syncing you'll need an extension, Dolphin Connect, which lets you sync bookmarks, tabs and other browsing activity between your mobile device and desktop versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari. 

Privacy and Security

Limited privacy protections -- unless you switch versions. Hot on the heels of the NSA spying scandal, Dolphin announced it was releasing a new version of its browser called Dolphin Zero (free). Unlike Dolphin Browser, Dolphin Zero has very few features and attempts to leave no trace of your browsing history or cache. Dolphin Browser, meanwhile, offers limited privacy or security protections -- private browsing is available, but is buried deep in settings. Do Not Track is not an option, but its private browsing mode should stop some snooping. Overall, Dolphin Browser is very well reviewed and received PCMag.com's Editors' Choice award for Android browsers. Those seriously concerned with privacy may want to consider Dolphin Zero (though you'll need to give up bookmarks and other features) or the mobile version of Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. 

Our Sources

1. Language Magazine

Dolphin comes in dead last in this comparative test of Android browsers, scoring well only for sync ability thanks to its Dolphin Connect extension that lets you share tabs and links.

Review: Best Android Browser: Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Opera vs. Dolphin, Cherlynn Low, March 31, 2014

2. AndroidCentral.com

AndroidCentral.com gives Dolphin Browser a positive write-up of its new and robust features and clean interface. Martonik praises Dolphin's customized search engine selector and app store, which includes apps for major sites like Wikipedia that can be added to the start screen.

Review: Dolphin Browser hits version 10 with a fresh design, new features, Andrew Martonik, June 19, 2013

3. PCMag.com

PCMag.com gives Dolphin Browser HD its Editors' Choice award for Android browsers, praising its speed "for such a powerful, feature-rich browser" even though Dolphin took time to load pages. Dolphin's sleek interface, syncing with Google bookmarks and gesture- and voice-enabled navigation are praised.

Review: Dolphin Browser HD 8.8 (for Android), Sara Yin, Sept. 24, 2012

4. AndroidPolice.com

This reviewer highlights Dolphin's touch-friendly interface, app store, expanded search options (including Amazon, YouTube, Wikipedia and more) and Flash support, but knocks its menu button that's located all the way at the bottom of the screen.

Review: Hands on: Dolphin browser, Bertel King, Jr., June 19, 2013

5. Download.com

In a rare review of the iOS version of Dolphin Browser, CNET editors give Dolphin 5 out of 5 stars, or a "spectacular" rating, declaring that "We loved it so much that we're now using it as our main browser." The main draw is Dolphin's gesture tool; customized shortcuts (speed dials) and clean design are also praised.

Review: Dolphin Browser, CNET staff, Feb. 11, 2013

6. TechAdvisor

Matt Egan at TechAdvisor (part of PC Advisor) tests Dolphin on Android phones and tablets and deems it "quick enough" but says it needs some performance improvement.

Review: Dolphin Browser 8.8.1 review, Matt Egan, Sept. 27, 2012

7. Google Play

Over 1.5 million Google Play contributors give Dolphin Browser, one of the most popular Android browsers, an impressive overall score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The browser's clean interface and speedy navigation are praised, but some users had issues with Flash.

Review: Dolphin Browser for Android, Contributors to Google Play, April 15, 2014

8. Engadget.com

Alvarez highlights Dolphin's drag-and-drop support for speed dials, gesture control, new app store and improved user interface. This is more of a summary of new features, than a review, but still helpful.

Review: Dolphin browser for Android adds redesigned UI, new store for web apps, Edgar Alvarez, June 20, 2013

9. Appstorm.net

Lenahan gives Dolphin Browser a score of 9 out 10 based on its features, like voice and gesture commands and friendly user interface. He doesn't conduct any formal test though.

Review: 6 Reasons Dolphin Should Be Your Default Browser, Tim Lenahan, Nov. 30, 2012

10. ReadWrite.com

Rowinski doesn't review Dolphin Browser but instead talks about the limitations of mobile-only browsers. He recommends "cross-platform browsers" that allow syncing between desktop and mobile.

Review: Dolphin Browser Demonstrates Why Mobile-Only Is a Losing Bet, Dan Rowinski, Jan. 18, 2013

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