Dolphin Browser is a fast enough web browser that adds a host of features and add-ons to web browsing on Android smartphones and Android tablets. As well as its intuitive interface, Dolphin Browser supports voice- and gesture-based navigation. It also supports the LastPass password manager and syncs to Google bookmarks a la Chrome. And for those whose hardware lacks the functionality Dolphin has a built-in screengrab taker. See also: Best Android Apps.
Dolphin Browser 8.8.1: performance
Indeed, on the Nexus 7 tablet at least, Dolphin Browser was faster at completing the SunSpider 0.9.1 test. Using Dolphin on the Nexus 7 the test was completed in an average of 1535.8ms, compared with 1705.8ms using Google Chrome. Dolphin was marginally slower on the Tab 10.1 when compared with the native Android Browser, this time at 2482.8ms as opposed to 2338.0ms on the latter browser.
Using our Motorola Motoluxe smartphone, Dolphin Browser performed at roughly the same speed as the Android browser (7123.0ms for Dolphin and 7121.1ms for Android). Firefox was much faster, however at an average of 3458.4ms.
In conclusion, Dolphin Browser is certainly quick enough for general web browsing use on Android phones and tablets. In our tests it was stable, too.
Dolphin Browser 8.8.1: features
Dolphin Browser has a simple UI that offers access to a variety of features. There's tabbed browsing via a "+" sign that sits in the top righthand corner of the screen. Swiping across the top lets you quickly whizz through all the open tabs, and opening a new tab reveals the familiar sight of Speed Dial, Opera's visual representation of bookmarks for your favourite websites. Swiping in from the left pushes in the browser window and brings up bookmarks and browser history. By default there are 12 'bookmarks' including the likes of Wikipedia. Swipe in from the right to see Add-ons and Themes.
Hit the Add-ons button and you gain access to a plethora of free add-ons and apps for Dolphin Browswer. Hot add-ons when we looked included a network speed checker, but you can find and add Evernote, LastPass, and Amazon Search. There are not a lot of apps here, but those that are add value. Using Dolphin Connect, for instance, you can synch bookmarks and custom gestures across all devices running Dolphin Browser.
Unfortunately there is no way we could see of searching through the add-ons for Dolphin Browser. Weird.
Dolphin Browser 8.8.1: gesture- and voice-enabled navigation
Two key functions of Dolphin Browser are gesture- and voice-enabled navigation. Gestures lets you draw symbols to perform actions once you've tapped the Dolphin in the bottom left of the screen. Once enabled, drawing an 'N' opens a new tab, for instance. There are eight preloaded gestures and you can add some of your own, too.
We found this fun and easy to use, although hitting the "+" is a lot quicker than hitting the Dolphin and drawing an "N"
Also under the Dolphin symbol is Sonar: Dolphin's voice-enabled navigation feature. It our tests it was exactly as useful and accurate as you might expect from using other voice controlled navigation aids (not very). Shaking your device activates Sonar.
Add-ons: great, but where's the search?