Get The Most From Your Android's Browser

10/16/2012 7:16:48 PM

Your device’s browser is great for viewing websites, but a few tweaks can made it faster and better

Long gone are the days of browsing the web very slowly via WAP. The web browser takes pride of place on Android phones, and it’s a stunning piece of software, capable of rendering web pages in their native formats complete with Flash content. However, it can still suffer from slow downs, which are especially annoying if you’re on a weak 2G connection.

Fortunately, even Android’s basic browser can be fine-tuned to fetch pages faster, and there are fast alternative browsers available on Google Play – we’ve highlighted two of them here.

If you want to experience the future of Android browsing, you can download the beta of Google’s Chrome browser from

1.    In a Flash

In a Flash

One of Android’s key advantages over Apple devices is its ability to display Flash animations and other elements (such as videos) in web pages. It’s a mixed blessing, though, because the Flash engine can take up a lot of room on your device – a not insignificant 12.85 MB, to be precise.

2.    Flash sale

Flash sale

Adobe Flash Player can be found on Google Play. We recommend uninstalling it, however, if you’re low on memory – the stock version of Flash is just as good. But if you haven’t already installed it, and you have a more spacious device, you can grab it from

3.    Plug it in

Plug it in

Open the browser on your Android device and hit ‘Menu > More ‘, then ‘Settings’. Scroll down to ‘Enable plugins’ and set this to ‘On demand’. This prevents Flash from loading automatically (which can slow down web pages). Loading the content is simply a question of tapping the green arrow in Flash elements.

4.    Images


In the same Settings menu, you’ll find the option to ‘Load images’. This is handy if you’re on a slow connection because images use a lot of bandwidth, and can slow down some sites. Turn it off to speed up your daily news reading on the bus, and back on, if you want, when you reach the office.

5.    Cache and carry

Cache and carry

Your browser’s cache is a temporary dump for images and data from the web. This can make browsing speedier, but it can also take up a lot of memory. To clear it out, you need to press the ‘Home’ button, then choose ‘Menu > Settings > Applications > Storage use > Browser > Clear data.’

6.    Dive into Dolphin

Dive into Dolphin

While Android’s native browser is perfectly adequate, there are plenty of alternatives on Google Play. Our favourite is Dolphin HD, which is fast and free ( It adds Chrome-style tabbed browsing, an innovative gesture feature, plus its plug-in system includes an ad-blocker.

7.    A night at the Opera

A night at the Opera

If you’re worried about bandwidth use, switch to the Opera  Mini browser (from This uses clever server-side technology to reduce image files before they arrive. We recommend using Opera when you’re out and about, and Dolphin HD when you’re on a solid Wi-Fi connection.

8.    I wanna go surfing

I wanna go surfing

Now you should have a supercharged Android device with the right version of Flash, for web browsing at optimum speed. Always switch to Wi-Fi when possible – it’s far faster than a 3G connection. You can switch most mobile sites to the full desktop experience with the ‘View full site’ link, usually at the bottom.

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