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Which Internet Browser Should You Use?

Tech Talker compares all the Internet browsers in 2016 to weigh the pros and cons.

By
Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #219

To begin with ... if you're using an Apple operating system your default browser will be Safari. If you're using a windows computer your default browser will be Internet Explorer. These browsers will allow you to browse the internet but the other browsers I'll mention here are jam packed with more features than either of these default browsers.

Safari

If you have any Apple device, it will come with the Safari browser. It does a good job with power savings, and keeping things synced between your iOS devices and your computer. Everything works extremely well if everything you own is in the Apple ecosystem of devices. It’s been proven to manage battery life better on Apple laptops.

If you’re a rock solid Apple user or you’re trying to eek all of the battery life you can out of you MacBook, using Safari is most likely going to be the way to go. It makes sense that a browser designed by the creators of the device would be the most efficient.

Internet Explorer (Edge)

If you’re a Windows user, you should only use Internet Explorer once. That one time should be to install another web browser. That may sound harsh, but Microsoft has fallen far behind in performance, security, and features. Microsoft has acknowledged this and scrapped Internet Explorer and replaced it with their new browser Edge. This browser is coming stock on Windows 10, with some new improvements such as support for extensions. Time will tell how this browser fairs, but I’d recommend not using it as your primary browser!

The Alternatives

There are three main alternatives to the stock browsers that come with your devices: Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. The two main competitors are Firefox and Chrome, but Opera has a pretty great feature I’ll mention later. Alternative browsers are used frequently due to the amount of features, updates, and security that each of them exhibit. Firefox and Chrome both have support for plug ins, which are basically third party programs that add extra functionality to the browser.

Currently my web browser is running an Evernote, Google Translate, and LastPass extensions. They are awesome because you can use Evernote to clip and save things you are viewing straight into Evernote. Google Translate will automatically translate any foreign webpages and LastPass stores all of my passwords. Both Firefox and Chrome are capable of running these extensions, and they have a zillion more that are built for pretty much anything you can think of.

I recommend checking out some of the popular ones to get an idea of something that you would like.

The next useful feature of these two browsers is the ability to browse the web privately. This called different things, such as “Privacy Mode” or “Incognito.” Essentially what this feature does is open a separate browser window that once you close it will remove any trace that is was there. Once you exit the window all of the history, cookies, and saved data are gone.

It can be extremely useful for having multiple accounts opened up at once. Privacy mode keeps browser windows separated, which means you can be logged in to multiple accounts on the same web page and not have to log out and log back in! Just keep in mind that this just destroys traces of your browsing history on your device. It doesn’t stop logging done by your company, government, or other entity.

Lastly, a huge benefit to these browsers is the ability to create an account to log into. If you create an account with one of these browsers you’re able to sync links, bookmarks and other information between all of your devices. This is great when you’re reading something on your computer and want to take it with you on the go to use with a mobile device.

Firefox or Chrome

The big question really comes down to Firefox or Chrome? It’s not a cut and dry answer. Both are extremely similar in the features that they have. I personally feel that FireFox is a bit rougher around the edges, and a little clunkier. However there are a handful of apps on Firefox that I use that Chrome doesn’t have such as Hackbar. If you’re a heavy Android user and have Gmail and other Google services, Chrome is probably your best bet. Firefox, on the other hand, is completely open source. In either case, you’ll be in good hands if you update to one of these browsers.

Opera

Opera’s popularity has dropped in recent years. However, with their new update they’ve released a built-in feature I’ve never seen before: a built in VPN. A VPN is basically a way to secure all of your Internet traffic as it travels across the web. Think of it as a tunnel that safely let’s your data pass under a warzone raging above it. This feature is stellar for people who travel a lot and have to get on public Wi-Fi found at airports, restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels! It will be interesting to see how Firefox and Chrome respond to this new feature!

Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.