Whether it’s work or play, the right web browser makes all the difference. We ask the experts: what’s the best browser in 2020?
You’re reading this in a web browser. In fact, almost three-quarters of the time that we spend on our computers is spent in a browser environment whether we are working or playing. In that respect, it’s probably the most important application that we use, but how much thought have you given to your choice of browser? In our experience, many people are happy to just use the browser that comes pre-installed with their operating system or the one that they’ve been loyal to for years. With most users hoping to improve speed and security, we’re deciding on the best browser 2020.
Google Chrome holds the title of the world’s favourite web browser, thanks partly to its strong integration with our favourite search engine. Why do we love it so? It’s cross-platform, incredibly stable, brilliantly presented to take up the minimum of screen space, all contributing to a very enjoyable browsing experience. Developers love Google Chrome as well, as its developer tools are second to none. This has lead to some invaluable plugins, including Evernote Web Clipper, The Great Suspender and Pushbullet.
Even Chrome has its downsides though. It’s a RAM-hungry beast and doesn’t perform as well on older and slower machines. And because it’s Google, some users may not be 100% comfortable with how their browsing data is being used (or misused).
Mozilla Firefox recently received its biggest update in the last 13 years, addressing many of the issues that had caused it to slip down the rankings in recent years. Firefox has long been known for its flexibility and support for extensions, but in recent years it had started to lag behind the competition in terms of speed, with many users deflecting to Chrome in frustration. The latest release competes favourably in speed tests, while the browser is streamlined and clearly takes influence from the popular Google browser.
As Mozilla is a non-profit organisation, so far less likely to sell your data than more unscrupulous organisations. They haven’t been complacent with their success either, making regular updates to help protect its users’ privacy as internet companies come under increasing scrutiny over the way they treat people’s data. Recent additions include support for password-free logins and automatic blocking of ad trackers. New versions of their browser are frequently made available through their Test Pilot programme to allow you to be amongst the first to explore their latest innovations.
Microsoft was once the kings of web browsing, with their browser achieving up to 95% market share in 2003, mostly thanks to it being pre-installed on all new Windows machines. As competitors came along with faster and more appealing browsers, they slipped away quietly until Microsoft Edge was released for Windows 10 and Xbox One in 2015. It experienced a revival earlier this year when Microsoft partnered with Google to release a new version of Edge based on Chromium engine.
Microsoft is a long-standing master of the user experience and has brought its decades of experience in developing operating systems into the development of their latest browser, such as smooth scrolling and faster browsing on older systems. The new incarnation of Microsoft Edge isn’t just for PC users either, as it also supports Android, iOS and macOS.
Despite only accounting for 1% of the browser market, Opera is a browsing powerhouse. It boasts an invaluable Turbo Mode, which shrinks the web content your device receives to a fraction of its original size. You get all the videos, photos and text that you normally would, but you eat up less data and load pages faster. It’s especially handy over slow or busy connections.
Opera has a selection of unique features that make it a very worthy contender for the best browser 2020 crown. Perhaps our favourite is a free built-in VPN, reducing online tracking and shielding your browsing. There’s also a battery-saving mode that promises to keep your laptop going for longer and a cryptocurrency wallet for online transactions.
So which is the 2021?
Well, it’s not as simple as choosing one. All of the browsers that we’ve outlined have advantages for different markets. We love the additional functionality of Opera, but understand that many users crave the familiarity of their current browser. Firefox’s recent regeneration definitely deserves a second look and with another new version of Microsoft Edge on the cards for Q1 2020, it could herald their return to ruling the browser market.