I have tried a lot of web browsers on my Android devices over the years, the quality ranging from abysmal to just plain useful. The stock browser that comes with Android does a pretty fine job, and also manages to support Flash and not have any major compatibility problems, but the UI sucks (it gets better if you activate radial menus, but still) and it tends to be somewhat unstable and heavy on my devices. Google Chrome for Android is also a decent choice, but as of yet it seems to be too slow and memory hungry, and also borders on unresponsiveness a lot of the time, most noticeably on heavy pages. It has been getting better and it is regularly updated, but it still doesn’t qualify as my main browser.
Instead, I have began to use Naked Browser, a somewhat recent browser that has a focus on simplicity, privacy and speed. It advertises itself as “a trustworthy browser with features I need yet using as few resources as possible”, which seems right up my alley. It’s also completely free and regularly updated, so it’s not just a one-off app, and it has an active development surrounding it. Now, despite the bizarre name and icon, which looks like it was drawn by a 5 year old in Paint, this browser is actually nothing short of amazing. It does manage to fulfill the promise of speed and features, and does it in a way that’s very transparent. It’s also ideal for older devices, as it uses very little resources. It also tries to use as much of the screen as possible, hiding the user interface until needed:
However, not everything is good with Naked Browser. The focus on speed and bare-bones features means that something has to take a back-seat, and in Naked Browser’s case, it’s definitely the UI. It’s not just that the interface is ugly, but it’s also very disorganized and inconsistent, lacking any style or grace that any of its competitors gladly offer first and foremost. While this “clean” style of user interface may appeal to some, to me it is one major fault with this browser. However, that’s also my only fault with it. I cannot criticize it on a functional level, because it excels at that. Despite a few quirks with HTML5 content, I can’t fault this browser’s performance and functionality at all. Like it promises, it is indeed lightning fast, and has a bevy of very useful features, while disregarding the superficial.
The main features it advertises are: privacy and no-tracking, infinite tab support (it will allow you to make new tabs as long as your device can handle it), crash restore and one-finger zoom. As additional features, I would add Flash support, download manager, option to choose desktop or mobile version of page and gesture shortcuts to access features like the history and bookmarks. It seems to be stable on my device, but reading the reviews indicates some users have the occasional crash. No biggie, in the case of a crash, Naked Browser will simply restore your last session, something a few browsers still haven’t implemented.
Comparing this browser to others like Dolphin HD or Opera Mobile (or even the previously mentioned stock browser or Chrome), it’s easy to see why naked Browser would be so appealing to some. Unlike it’s competitors, it focuses on being lean and clean, and giving the user a simple experience with no strings attached, something that has become very rare these days. There are no additional services, or webpage compression or anything fancy like that. This is a free browser that you use when you want to do something, fast. It’s very stable and light, and has all the right features. It’s a unique beast, and it takes a certain kind of user to see its appeal, but if you do see it and give it a go, you will probably feel naked using any other browser.