10
Oct
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Mercury Browser has been one of the top alternatives to Apple's Safari browser on iOS for a while, and now the developers have finally ported it to Android. It might not be sewn into the fabric of your Google account like Chrome is, but Mercury Browser has a slick interface and plenty of advanced features.

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Mercury sticks to a minimalist aesthetic, but there are a ton of options just below the surface. The navigation bar at the bottom has a popup for settings like user agent, private browsing mode, and font size. There's also a dedicated button down there for access to the included plugins. The list isn't as extensive as the iOS version quite yet (no LastPass, sadly), but you still have Google Translate, Dropbox, WiFi file transfer, and more. One plugin builds a cool stripped-down "reader" version of the page like Pocket or Instapaper. If that navigation bar is in the way, you can switch to full screen mode by just holding the device in landscape.

4 2

Page loading is fast and rendering seems spot-on. Zooming and scrolling are a bit more responsive than Chrome Beta on Android, but it's not worlds different. The tab switching screen offers big previews, which is cool. However, you can just switch tabs with a quick two-finger flick.

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The developer seems to take browser privacy pretty seriously. In addition to private browsing mode, you can also password protect the entire app and clear cookies/history in one tap. That way no one can see what you're up to. I'm not going to speculate about what you could use this browser for, but I'm sure you'll find a worthy use. Mercury Browser is free.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/denny.kluge diskostu

    Does anyone know what rendering engine this browser uses?

    • atlouiedog

      I don't know, but it seems to be having issues with giantbomb.com which I visit often. I'll give this another try when it's had a couple of updates.

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

      I'm almost certain it's Android integrated WebView. No modern rendering engine fits into the 4 MB this browser weights.

  • Jack

    Flash support?

  • abobobilly

    All of them are killing the Flash. Thats not cool man :(

    • Zieen

      It may be a bit resource hungry, but I don't think it's that difficult for websites to add a HTML5 tag as a fallback for those without Flash. Flash may be more secure than HTML5, but I do hate it.

      • abobobilly

        With all the RAM and Dual/Quad core frigging phones in the world, you REALLY expect one to whine about "being resource hungry"? Why not just wait until the websites fully make the transition? So that WE, the users take a breath of fresh air and NOT feel stuck in a situation.

        I have no idea why people think flash support is bad. Just because its Resource Hungry? Yea Right. Complain about the Non-existent HTML5 then <_<

        • Zieen

          I'll be honest and say I'm not really sure what you just said, as it seemed more a rant than a coherent thought. I was referring to being more resource hungry on the server side to supply two video files / delivery methods. I suppose that wasn't as clear as I could have made it.

  • Brad

    I was going to ask firefox beta vs this but if no flash - no deal.

  • Jürgen

    "I'm not going to speculate about what you could use this browser for, but I'm sure you'll find a worthy use." :D

    • IrishSid

      Hurr durr a porn joke. We don't watch porn do we guys? wink wink durr.

  • a.d.AM

    Am i the only one seeing this model on this thing?!?!? Who cares if it has flash!!

    • IrishSid

      A lot of people you ignorant tit.

  • icyrock1

    Yes! This is, by far, the app I missed the most from iOS!

    Finally on Android! Now I can use android with out feeling I'm missing something.

    • BaconEater
      • icyrock1

        Laugh all you want, I loved this browser back when I used an iPhone. It was (and still is) easily better than chrome, Firefox, and Dolphin.

        • IrishSid

          omg stop, my sides...

          • icyrock1

            Chrome lags and is bloated, Firefox renders images weirdly, and Dolphin is a privacy nightmare. I've tried a lot of browsers (from both app stores to try and find one that works well, because I spend a lot of time in the browser). UC browser is also good, but the page of sites you can't edit or remove is annoying. Maxthon's alright, but it lags when scrolling (very annoying). Boat browser is probably the best alternative I've found to Mercury on Android, it loads fast, little lag, and supports flash.

          • bL4Ck

            >Chrome lags and is bloated

            wat

          • icyrock1

            It takes wayyy more RAM than it should, and it's almost more than eight times has big has the next biggest browser I have (82.58MB Vs Next Browser at 11.98MB).

          • bL4Ck

            I don't really care about ram consumption, my Nexus 4 sits at 800mb of 1800 occupied most of the time, even with multiple apps open.

          • icyrock1

            Fair enough. Storage, however, you must care about. I have a 16GB Nexus 4 and I'm constantly running up against the full border and I'd love to have that extra space back. Chrome needs to go on a diet.

          • IrishSid

            Prob never tried stock extensively have you? Move along.

          • Fuck you asshole

            If Chrome lags your phone then your phone must be garbage. I've never had a problem with it on my Nexus 4.

          • icyrock1

            You never have the lag when the page is loading and you can't scroll? When you can't do anything (get really annoying) and after it finally loads it jumps down the page? You probably don't use it enough to notice that small lag, but I live in the browser. I do everything in it. Over time, you start noticing that small lag. Sure, if you don't use it that much or simply don't care, you won't notice it. But, for people who live in the browser (or me at least) chrome lags more than the other browsers I've tried.

          • Zieen

            I'm on a Galaxy Nexus. It's dated and slow. Even on 'zippy' ROMs, I have an abundance of problems with Chrome. It crashes once in a while, but the biggest issue I have is running out of memory. Chrome hogs so many resources on my Gnex, it puts Lux into a crash loop until I close Chrome. I have to turn off instant search as soon as I come off a fresh wipe, or searching in Chrome will cause my phone to lag unbearably.

        • mavericksid

          Just use AOSP browser, simple as fuck and has everything

          • icyrock1

            I'd rather not root my device, if I can help it (my nexus 4 doesn't have the AOSP browser).

          • Kieron Quinn

            Use one of the builds from the Play Store then, like ICS Browser+

            https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.beansoft.browserplus

          • icyrock1

            "*** Not Compatible with Jelly Bean ***"

            I've seen that, I've stayed away from it because of that warning, though. I'll *try* to put it on my nexus when I get back home.

          • All I've gathered from your comments is that you're an autist.

          • Zieen

            It's always surprising to me to find Nexus users active on Android websites that aren't rooted or using a custom ROM. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it. It's just unexpected.

    • IrishSid

      Not sure if serious :/

      • icyrock1

        Very. Though, it's because I use the browser a lot and have yet to find a great one on Android (and this is the best one I've ever used on iOS).

        • mavericksid

          Are you all guys retarded, just use AOSP browser.

          • icyrock1

            Chrome is the new AOSP browser, if I'm not mistaken (given they've stopped developing the old AOSP browser, and that it's not available for download with out rooting and then going threw tedious steps to get it). HTC and Samsung are basing there browser's off of the old AOSP browser, hence why there phone's still have it (while, sadly, my Nexus can't get it).

          • omegavesko

            Er.. are you serious? Chrome isn't the AOSP browser until it's actually in AOSP. Just because it's the default on Nexus devices doesn't make it AOSP.

  • nyr2k2

    Dolphin Browser is the only browser you'll ever need on Android. The tabbed browsing can't be beat.

    • foggyflute

      This one got better JS behavior in complex scripts compare to Dolphine.

      Also more stable and better UI than stock, less resource hungry than Chorme, better render than Opera, Firefox, Lightning, Next, and other. It slow, of course, but more accurate and less error - maybe because it not trying to hack it way to better speed.

      A good all rounder, I have Opera with me when I need it fast.

    • IrishSid

      Stock Samsung browser with quick controls turned on beats any browser. Plus it has flash as an added bonus. Mix that with google bookmark sync and it can't be beaten. 3rd party browsers are pretty crap in comparison.

    • Anon

      You can't say something like that, everyone has different tastes. That's why there are a lot of different browsers, and all of them have some users.
      If you're happy with Dolphin, that's great. But you can't say that's the only browser you'll ever need, as some people (eg: me) don't like it and prefer other browsers.

      P.s. The only browser I can bare on my mobile device is Firefox.

    • http://my.opera.com/rafaelluik Rafael Luik

      No way, tabs on the bottom are definitely better. I'm talking about Opera. :)

    • Tim242

      Dolphin has privacy issues. They are based in China. They are now also anti Google

  • ithehappy

    Nice simple UI, not much lag, okay, but no real full screen mode, no exit option, not really enough to switch me from Naked/Dolphin. Better than crappy Chrome anytime though.

  • Brad

    I love the down votes on anything mentioning flash :-P

    • s427

      Here, have a downvote. ;-)

  • Luqmaan Mathee

    I'm not even gonna try it. I hate the iOS look.

  • Cryosx

    arggh, every browser seems to have issue with text reflow on the htc one

  • Wanker

    "In addition to private browsing mode, you can also password protect the
    entire app and clear cookies/history in one tap. That way no one can see
    what you're up to. I'm not going to speculate about what you could use
    this browser for, but I'm sure you'll find a worthy use"

    Yes, finally I can become a whistleblower. But I think I'm going to wank off first.

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      I love that you put "Wanker" as your name, perfect extra touch

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