Picking a web browser isn’t like picking an operating system or a mobile phone ecosystem — jumping into Mac OS or Windows, iOS or Android, your choices are mutually exclusive. Pick one, and you can’t pick the other unless you get a new device or go through the trouble of booting Windows on a Mac. Browsers are comparatively easy, by the time you finish reading this paragraph, you could download each major browser on the market today — and you should.
Really. You can read all the stats, benchmarks, and speed tests, but the right browser for you is the one that feels right. The one that provides everything you want, where you want it. So if you’re curious about one you should just go give it a try. If you’re still undecided, or if you’re in the early stages of browser-curiosity, read on. Here, we’ve broken down the best browsers on the market today and boiled them down to their bare bones.
The best browser: Google Chrome
Chrome is ubiquitous, and for good reason. With a robust feature set, full Google Account integration, a thriving extension ecosystem, and a reliable suite of mobile apps, it’s easy to see why Chrome is the new gold standard for web browsers.
Chrome also boasts some of the best mobile integration available. With a mobile app available on every major platform, it’s easy to keep your data in sync, so seamlessly browsing between multiple devices is a breeze. Sign into your Google account on one device and all your Chrome bookmarks, saved data, and preferences come right along. It’s a standard feature you can find on other platforms, but Chrome’s integration is second to none.
More: How to block pop-up ads in Google Chrome
Bottom line, Chrome is fast, free, and light. With a thriving extension ecosystem, it’s as fully featured or as pared down as you want it to be. Everything is right where it should be, privacy and security controls are laid out in plain English, and the browser just gets out of your way.
If you’re not sure which browser you should be using, you should be using Chrome.
The best of the rest: Mozilla Firefox
If you’d have read this article ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, Firefox would’ve taken the top slot as the best browser out there. But today it’s a slightly different story. Firefox is still a quick and reliable browser, but it hasn’t aged gracefully.
It’s a very capable browser, with a deep catalog of extensions and user interface customizations, but it’s not quite as fast as a clean install of Chrome and the mobile integration hasn’t quite kept up with the times. Grab the mobile Firefox app and you’ll be able to share bookmarks between devices, but you have to sign up for a Firefox account, and managing settings across platforms isn’t as seamless as it is in Chrome.
More: Performing better at work? You’re probably using Chrome or Firefox
Firefox is a comfortable, familiar old standby. Having a separate URL and search bars is almost quaint, but if you’re frequently jumping between search providers, having a separate bar could be a helpful feature. Additionally, because it’s been around longer than Chrome, some older web apps — the likes of which you might encounter at your university or workplace — work better on Firefox than they do on Chrome. For that reason, it never hurts to keep it around.
But as a primary browser, Firefox doesn’t offer much that Chrome doesn’t. When it comes to these two, it’s really a matter of personal preference. Chrome has a leg up because of its superior mobile integration, but Firefox is tried and true, and still receives regular updates.
An attractive alternative to Chrome: Opera
Also a venerable browser and popular alternative, Opera shares much of Chrome’s DNA. Both browsers are built on Google’s Chromium engine, and as a result, they have a very similar user experience. Both feature a hybrid URL/search bar, and both are relatively light and fast.
The differences appear when you start to look at Opera’s built-in features. Where Chrome relies on an extension ecosystem to provide functionality users might want, Opera has a few more features baked right into the browser itself.
More: Opera 41 speeds up your browsing experience by boosting multi-tab performance on startup
For instance, Opera features a built-in “Stash” for saving pages to read later. No need to sign up for a Pocket or Evernote account to save a page for later reading. Similarly, Opera also features a speed dial menu which puts all your most frequently visited pages in one place. Chrome also does this, but only on a blank new tab.
You can see that we’re well into hair-splitting territory, which is why it’s important to remember that browsers are, more than any other service or app you use on a daily basis, entirely dependent on your personal preferences — what feels most right for you. Opera has a unique look and feel, and combines some of the best features of Firefox and Chrome.
The default choice still struggles: Edge
Edge resembles Internet Explorer 11, though with even smaller borders, fewer icons, and a streamlined toolbar designed to mirror Microsoft’s new Windows 10 UI aesthetic. A solitary, address-search bar also runs the width of the page, along with a trio of headline features that include markups, reading view, and Cortana integration.
It’s ultimately the next generation of Internet Explorer, in that it’s the default Windows web browser, but it’s undergone a complete revamp. With Edge, Microsoft continues to roll out new platform-specific features, like support for its AI-assistant Cortana. Rather than just leaving it to languish and tossing out an occasional security patch, Edge receives a lot of TLC from the Redmond, Washington company.
More: Windows 10 appears to be poised to hit 24 percent market share by end of 2016.
On the downside, Edge has relatively slim extension support, and doesn’t allow for much customization. While quick, its pared-down interface can feel a little too bare-bones at times. And while Edge has recently received some ability to manage bookmarks and settings between PCs, you”ll have to look into third-party solutions to sync with an Android or iOS device.
If you’re looking for something a bit more experimental than Chrome or Firefox, just fire up Edge and see what it can do, you might be surprised.
An up-and-comer that needs to grow: Vivaldi
Vivaldi is unique. No two Vivaldi users will have the same setup. When you run it for the first time, you’re guided through a setup process that lays out your browser in a way that makes sense for you. You get to choose where your tabs and address bar go, you get to choose if you want browser tabs displayed at the top of the page, or in a separate side-panel. This is a browser built from the ground up to deliver a unique user experience, and for the most part it succeeds.
This browser excels at customization, you can choose from a variety of tasteful themes that don’t feel dated or out-of-place on a modern PC, in addition to the aforementioned UI choices. If you’re tired of the usual suspects, and want to try a browser that takes a different approach to web browsing, check out Vivaldi.
More: Vivaldi browser will become much more share-happy with version 1.7 update
That said, there is a big caveat: it’s limited to desktop use for the time being. With support on Windows 10, Mac OS, and Linux, Vivaldi is currently only available on desktop platforms or tablets running full versions of Windows. No mobile browsing, means no shared settings, and that’s a problem for a lot of users.
It’s also meant for power users, so a lot of people might feel confused or let down by the browser. Vivaldi is unapologetic about this, but it’s hard to recommend Vivaldi when it can overwhelm first-time users with its wide selection of options.
One of the first things most people do when they purchase a new smartphone is add their Gmail account. You may have more than one account, maybe you’ve made a new account that you want to add, or perhaps you skipped the email step during the initial setup process. Whatever the reason, adding a Gmail account is easy.
More: Inbox full of spam? Here’s how to block messages on Gmail
Because there are differences between iOS and Android, and a range of manufacturer variations, it may not be obvious where you should go to add your Gmail account. That’s why we put together this simple, step-by-step guide on how to set up a Gmail account on your iPhone and most Android phones.
How to add a Gmail account in iOS
Go to Settings.
Scroll down to Mail > Accounts > Add Account, and then select Google.
You’re now at the Gmail sign in page.
Enter your Gmail address, and tap Next.
Enter your password, and tap Next.
It will ask you which things you want to sync. Turn off the things you don’t want to sync, and tap Save in the upper-right corner when finished.
When you bought your iPhone or iPad, you probably got a standard Lightning cable in the box with it. But if you want to be able to charge your device at work or in different rooms without having to carry that cable around with you, you’ll want to invest in a spare cable or two. You may also prefer something a little longer, so you can use your iPhone comfortably while it’s plugged in, or something a little stronger that can survive tugs, bumps, or the unwelcome attention of a pet and child. Let’s take a look at the best Lightning cables around.
More: Check out 25 of the best iPhone 7 cases and covers for your shiny new phone
Anker PowerLine Cable
- MFi-Certified: Yes
- Length: 6 feet
- Warranty: 18 months
- Price: $13
This is a really great Lightning cable at an affordable price. It’s fast when it comes to charging and data transfer, it’s certified by Apple, and it’s really durable. The cable is reinforced with Kevlar and Anker has strengthened the stress points at the ends to ensure it lasts. It also comes with a handy Velcro tie and you can pick it up in black, white, blue, red, or grey. The end of the Lightning connector is slightly wider than the basic Apple cable, however, so it might not fit every case. Otherwise, this is probably the best cable at this price point.
Buy one now from:
- MFi-Certified: Yes
- Length: 3.28 feet
- Warranty: 12 months
- Price: $7
This cable from 1byone is well worth considering, especially since it’s half the price of Apple’s proprietary Lightning cable and features nearly the same design. It’s fast at charging and syncing data, and it’s easy to carry around. It’s not going to be especially durable given it’s essentially a clone of Apple’s cable, but it will fit all the same cases, including Otterbox cases. Needless to say the latter can be a real problem with other cables.
Buy one now from:
- MFi-Certified: Yes
- Length: 6 feet
- Warranty: 12 months
- Price: $12
You actually get two tangle-free, braided cables for this price, which is a great value. They’re a bit heavier and tougher than most cables, yet they can still quickly charge and sync data. The black and white stripes are eye-catching, too, though they might not be to everyone. Their resistance to tangling is welcome as well, as are the aluminum-alloy connectors. Just keep in mind that the Lightning connector is bigger than those on a standard cable, so it probably won’t fit every case.
Buy one now from:
Ventev ChargeSync Cable
- MFi-Certified: Yes
- Length: 6 inches
- Warranty: Limited lifetime
- Price: $18
Maybe you have a USB charging hub on your desk, or you want to plug into your laptop and you hate the cable clutter. Whatever the reason, there are times when you might prefer a really short cable to keep things tidy. Thankfully, this cable charges and syncs data at full speed and measures a mere 6 inches long. It’s also flat, so there’s no danger of tangling. It’s a little pricey and the Lightning connector may be a little big for some case cut-outs, but it works well and it’s pretty durable.
Buy one now from:
Fuse Chicken Titan Cable
- MFi-Certified: Yes
- Length: 3.25 feet
- Warranty: Limited lifetime
- Price: $35
Billed as the toughest Lightning cable on the planet, the Fuse Chicken Titan is wrapped in two layers of flexible steel. This thing will survive pet attacks without fraying and the manufacturers even took a chainsaw to it just to prove its strength. That said, it’s a lot heavier and stiffer than a regular cable, which means it can be rather difficult to coil up. The Lightning connector can also be a weak point and the neck is wider than a traditional Apple cable, so it won’t fit all cases. But if you want something that your pets can’t chew through — this is it.
Buy one now from:
Good on you for keeping your promises, Verizon.
One of the big guarantees that came with the Droid Turbo 2 was software updates, which was a big deal after so many Droid Turbo owners felt left out when all of the other phones released at the same time were updated so quickly. Verizon’s Turbo 2 push was a big deal in stores, but it’s been a long time in smartphone years since those days and Motorola isn’t exactly its own company anymore.
All the same, it looks like Nougat is officially rolling out for the Droid Turbo 2!
…and of course Google Assistant is nowhere to be found.
Verizon includes all of the usual warnings for a big update on their landing page for this announcement, but also includes some new information on how Nougat-specific features will work on the Turbo 2. Bundled notifications, multi-windows, and improves notification shade features all work the way you’d expect if you’ve used a Nexus or Pixel with Nougat.
It’s not a surprise that Lenovorola would keep the software on this phone as close to the Google experience as possible given the way that UI was touted as a feature at launch, and of course Google Assistant is nowhere to be found. The big things for Droid Turbo 2 owners to look out for will be better battery life through enhanced Doze features, better data saving features in Settings, and of course more emoji than anyone will ever know what to do with.
This update will be rolling out to Droid Turbo 2 owners over the next couple of days, so be sure to hit up our Turbo 2 forums if you run into any update issues!
Just because you’re not paying much for data doesn’t mean you don’t want to share! Here are the MVNOs that support tethering.
Saving money on your data plan? That’s fine — who says you shouldn’t be allowed to share that data with the rest of your peers when the situation arises? If you’re hoping your carrier allows tethering so you can log on with your laptop, read on. And if you don’t see your preferred carrier, let us know in the comments.
Tethering is available on its Clear Choice Plans.
See at Republic Wireless
Hotspot and tethering capabilities are included with all data rate plans.
See at Metro PCS
Only 3G wireless tethering is supported for GSM devices.
See at Ting
Mobile Hotspot is included in Boost Mobile’s $35-$50 unlimited plans. On the $35 a month plan hotspot usage will draw from the high-speed data allotments of that plan. You can purchase more high-speed data as you need.
See at Boost Mobile
New and existing customers with $50 or $60 per month plans are eligible for tethering abilities. You’ll have to pay an extra $10 a month to use it and it isn’t available for Talk & Text, $40 Basic, or $70 Unlimited plans.
See at Cricket Wireless
Tethering is offered at no additional cost.
See at US Mobile
Does tethering matter to you when you’re paying so little for data? Does it factor into your strategy when looking for an alternative carrier? Let us know!
The Nintendo Switch is finally here, along with its most anticipated launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We’re still putting the new console through its paces, but we’ve put together a quick preview of the hardware and game to tide you over. In short: We’re impressed. But the lack of networking functionality, among other features, so close to the console’s launch has us worried if Nintendo is totally prepared. Check back for our full review of the Switch and Breath of the Wild next week.
Letter from the Editor
It’s been a banner week for Nintendo fanboys and girls, what with the company’s new console finally making its way into reviewers’ hands — and giving Nintendophiles their first extended look at the Switch. Naturally, Engadget editors were among the chosen to get some quality time, and early returns are … middling? Devindra Hardawar is a fan of the system’s controllers, and he loved the ability to take the Switch out of his living room and into bed for late-night gaming sessions. But that portability is seriously hamstrung by a screen that’s essentially unusable outside and meager battery life (at least when playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild).
Meanwhile, Aaron Souppouris was also spending all his waking hours in Hyrule and shared what he’s learned playing Link’s latest adventure. Turns out, the latest in the series has a relatively high degree of difficulty, which represents a welcome return to Zelda games of yore. And while his first impressions are generally favorable, he still found fault with the game’s screencap feature, and some performance issues. Finally, Sean Buckley brought a dose of reality to hopeful Switch owners the world over by detailing all of the console’s shortcomings at launch. (But he’s still buying one on launch day.)
And speaking of shortcomings, Uber had some dirty laundry aired this week when a former female employee revealed a series of sexist incidents she experienced while working at the company. Her tale paints a horrific picture of a company rife with sexual harassment that was implicitly endorsed and covered up by HR. While the media attention resulting from these revelations is ostensibly a good thing, Nicole Lee wrote why she’s not convinced it’ll make any lasting difference at Uber, or any other companies in Silicon Valley, for that matter. For lasting and meaningful change, the leadership at these companies must stop accepting that misogyny is an acceptable by-product of employing some top-performing talent.
A word of advice for CEO Travis Kalanick: Faustian bargains don’t work out well for those who make them, and it’s time for you to clean house.
What if you actually do want all of the channels?Sling TV’s discounted ‘Extra’ bundles brings some cable flavor to cord-cutting
Now that Sling TV is facing more competition in the internet TV business, it’s picking up some tricks from cable and satellite TV. Namely, its “4 Extras Deal,” which lets customers load up with channel add-ons for an overall discount. While some cord-cutters may prefer slimmer, cheaper packages, families or heavy media consumers might want a lot of options combined with the convenience of internet TV, and this package is for those people.
Just in caseThe Svalbard Global Seed Vault accepts nearly 50,000 samples
Ten years after it opened, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway accepted a major new deposit. Organizations from the US, the UK, Mexico, Benin, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, the Netherlands and Belarus all contributed seeds for safe keeping in the gene bank located near the Arctic Circle. Now home to 930,821 samples, it’s a backup ready to “improve agricultural production and prevent loss of crop diversity in the face of natural disasters, climate change and war.”
Want to get away?NASA found seven new Earth-sized planets
In case the seed bank doesn’t work out, maybe humanity can check out one of the new planets NASA found. During a press conference in DC, the agency announced that among seven Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a star 40 light years away, three of them are in the “Goldilocks zone” which could allow them to be habitable for life. Meet TRAPPIST-1.
One more thing for your weekend to-do listCloudflare bug potentially leaked data for thousands of websites
We’re trying not to call it “Cloudbleed,” but that’s a good description for the bug recently found by Google’s Tavis Ormandy. A buffer overrun problem at a popular web services company resulted in data that should’ve been secure ending up randomly dumped on other web pages for anyone to scoop up. What that means, is there’s a chance info like your password or authorization token for websites like OkCupid or Patreon could be floating around or cached somewhere.
You can reset passwords for potentially affected sites and services (although some, like 1Password, use Cloudflare and were still secure), but you should also use unique passwords everywhere, and turn on two-factor authentication/login verification for any services that support those features.
Is it Tuesday yet?‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ made me fall in love with open-world RPGs
The highly-anticipated PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn arrives February 28th, and Jessica Conditt explains why its 30 hour-ish campaign “sounds like barely enough time.” Between its protagonist, the independent outcast Aloy and giant metal dinosaurs, this game made quite the impression.
One false move and you’ll lose a legHoversurf’s electric quadcopter bike redefines dangerous
This Scorpion S-3 platform from Hoversurf seeks to combine flying with the ease of riding a bike. Unfortunately, all we can focus on is how close it puts rider’s legs to those unprotected rotors.
But wait, there’s more…
- ‘Halo’ will bring back local split-screen multiplayer
- Stanford researchers develop a technique to harvest uranium from the sea
- Apple’s spaceship campus will open in April as ‘Apple Park’
- The Engadget Podcast Ep 29: The return of the Note 7, PewDiePie and Uber’s serious sexism problem
- Claim your Nintendo Switch online account name right now
The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t subscribe.
It’s February, which can mean only one thing: the MWC tanks are rolling into Barcelona. We’re expecting to see a lot of new phones and tablets, and the fun starts right here, later today with BlackBerry (via TCL of course). We’re expecting to see the final reveal of the “Mercury” phone we saw back at CES. There could be a few more surprises along the way, so be sure to tune in right here at 1PM ET.
Click here to catch up on the latest news from MWC 2017.
Originally thought of as nothing more than a sexting app founded by college bros, Snapchat has risen to become the most active social media platform among users aged 13 to 25. According to Adweek, Snapchat currently touts an estimated 200 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users, which, after a mere four years of existence, puts it ahead of all of its competitors. And, a University of Michigan research found that Snappers feel happier than other social network users. It’s now valued at more than $15 billion, and serves as one of the premiere platforms for sending selfies, silly photos, videos, and messages. Publishers and brands, such as Vice, Buzzfeed, and McDonald’s, also use it to send branded content.
It’s easy to dismiss Snapchat as a child’s toy because it feels different than other messaging and social networking apps, but it can be fun to use. And, with major news organizations utilizing the platform as a new way to deliver news and information, Snapchat is starting to grow up (a little). If you want to understand this new mobile phenomenon and how to get your foot in the door, read on.
Related: Snapchat aims to be the all-in-one messaging platform of choice with Chat 2.0
Understanding Snapchat and how it’s used
Snapchat’s appeal is that it acts as a “dark” social network of sorts, essentially meaning that grandma can’t view and comment on every photo and video that is posted, especially given the content disappears after a set number of seconds. This makes a much more personal experience, as unlike Facebook or Instagram, you are not broadcasting your updates to the world, but rather to a very select group of friends.
Unlike other social networks, Snapchat is very intuitively designed and is intended to be as hassle-free as possible. When you open the app, the camera is automatically activated and then you can quickly snap a picture for your friends. You don’t have to dig through any menus or manage updates, likes, or comments – all you have to do is hit the record button and you are ready to go.
As a result, Snapchat has become one of the most popular social networks, especially among younger generations who appreciate the creative ways it does ephemeral messaging – it’s so popular that it has caught the attention of Facebook, which is experimenting with Snapchat-like features with its Facebook Messenger app (while, interestingly, Snapchat is trying to become more like Facebook, but that’s another story). With that in mind, here are nine tips you can use to use Snapchat in the best way possible.
Now that you have a general idea of how Snapchat works, here are some tips on how to maximize your experience.
CES may be one of the world’s largest gadget shows, but Mobile World Congress is the venue Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony, and others make some of the year’s biggest mobile announcements. The show runs in Barcelona, Spain from February 24 to March 2 at the Fira Gran Via convention center, and it’s where some of the world’s big-name tech brands try to out-do each other with flagship smartphone, smartwatch, and gadget launches.
Related: 200 Awesome iPhone Apps | The best Android apps for almost any occasion
This year, we expect to see a mix of incredible innovations from the big brands and an intriguing tech from relatively unknown companies. We’ll be reporting live from the show floor, so follow @DigitalTrends and @DTMobile for the latest news. You can also follow our on-the-ground reporters Andy Boxall, Malarie Gokey, Julian Chokkattu, Kyle Wiggers, and Simon Hill on Twitter.
In the meantime, here’s everything we expect to see at the biggest mobile extravaganza of the year.
Samsung has historically unveiled new flagship smartphones at MWC — take last year’s Galaxy S7, for example. But this time around, things will be a little quieter for the Korean electronics giant. DJ Koh, Samsung’s mobile chief executive, told Reuters that the long-rumored Galaxy S8 won’t make an appearance at its February 26 event. Instead, the company’s principal focus is expected to be the Galaxy Tab S3.
The Galaxy Tab S3, which is said to feature a 9.7-inch screen with a 2,048 x 1,536 resolution and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, will reportedly borrow a number of features from Samsung’s Note line of phablets. It’ll come with a clip-on variant of Samsung’s S Pen stylus, which will enable features like the ability to write on the display when it’s off. The stylus will ship alongside accessories like a magnetic-stand keyboard.
Samsung may also take the opportunity to unveil the Galaxy Tab Pro S2, a Window-powered tablet with a 12-inch Quad HD (resolution), Intel Kaby Lake processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera, and 5,070mAh battery. But as of now, the launch details are a bit foggy.
There might be a new Gear VR headset. It’s said to feature a new front cover and ship with a dedicated controller for navigating apps and games, much like Google’s Daydream platform.
Read more:Galaxy Tab S3 | Galaxy Tab S2 | Gear VR 2