While most Android phones come pre-installed with Google Chrome browser, not everyone is a fan. Many alternatives are available on the Play Store, and each has its advantages and disadvantages over Chrome.
Xiaomi recently launched a new, lightweight browser known as Mint Browser to compete with Chrome. One may think that due to the lightweight nature of the app, it must be missing some features. Is it true?
Let’s find out by comparing it to the most popular browser out there — Google Chrome.
Touted as a super light browser, Mint Browser weights just around 10MB while its counterpart goes up to 45-50MB.
Unlike Mi Browser, which is limited to Xiaomi’s MIUI running phones only, Mint browser is available on Play Store for all Android phones and tablets irrespective of the fact whether it runs stock Android, MIUI, or any other custom skin.
Chrome, besides being available on all Android phones can also be downloaded on iOS devices, macOS, and Windows PC.
If you prefer navigation buttons at the bottom in a browser, you will love Mint Browser for it offers the same. The bottom bar houses the browser menu, tab switcher, home button, and back/forward buttons. However, the address box still sits at the top.
In Chrome, the address box, tab switcher, and the menu rest at the top. Both the browsers hide address box when you scroll on a web page.
On the home screen, Mint Browser offers a clean layout with a bunch of shortcut icons that can be modified (removed/added) easily. Below them lies the huge microphone icon used to perform a voice search. Even though Chrome offers shortcuts, you can add up to eight shortcuts only. Chrome’s home screen is filled with suggested articles that take away the clean look. Thankfully, you can disable them.
Interestingly, Mint Browser offers an additional feature for multi-window management where you can change the view from vertical to horizontal. The feature is missing in Chrome where you are stuck with the vertical tab switcher.
Tip: To change the tab switcher view, go to Mint Browser’s Settings > Advanced > Multi-window management.
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Using Voice Search
While at first glance, Mint Browser's voice feature looks very similar to the one available in Chrome for both use Google’s voice feature, the difference lies in their implementation. When you use the microphone on Mint Browser, it directly searches for the query on the web, unlike Chrome where voice capability is just limited to voice typing. That is, you need to press the search icon afterward to start searching.
Since Mint Browser boasts of having a voice search feature, it offers a big microphone icon on the home page as opposed to a small microphone icon present in the address bar of the Chrome.
Tip: When you open a web page, clear/remove the URL in the address box to reveal the microphone icon in both the apps.
Dark Mode, You There?
While Mint Browser supports dark mode, it is limited to the app only. It's dark mode doesn’t extend to web pages for it is available just for settings, home screen, navigation bar, and similar app things. To use it on web pages, you have to enable the reading mode and apply dark theme there.
Fun Fact: Xiaomi’s Mi Browser extends the dark mode to web pages too.
Users have been asking for the dark mode on Chrome for the longest time. Fortunately, news has it that Google is working on it and it should be live soon. Meanwhile, enable it using this neat trick on your Android phone.
Life Without Ads
Many browsers available on Play Store come with in-app ads. Fortunately, neither Google nor Mint Browser takes you on that dreadful journey. While both let you block pop-up ads, Mint Browser goes a step ahead by offering an ad blocker in the browser.
To activate it, go to Settings > Advanced > Enable Ad blocker. Alternatively, tap on the Block ads option present in the browser menu.
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Control Using Gestures
There is no denying the fact that gestures make our work easy. While Chrome browser supports many gestures such as cycling through open tabs by swiping on the address bar, Mint Browser doesn’t support any gesture except pinch and zoom. That’s strange for its sibling Mi Browser does support a few of them.
Switch to Desktop Mode
Switching to the desktop mode on Chrome mobile browser comes quite handy when some features are limited to the bigger screen only. Fortunately, even Mint Browser lets you switch to the desktop mode. For that, open the browser menu by tapping on the three-bar icon at the bottom and hit the Desktop option.
The reason why people love Chrome is because of its availability across platforms. Thanks to that, your bookmarks, history, passwords, and more are shared across devices.
On the contrary, things are different for Mint Browser. Firstly, your bookmarks are limited to Android and signing into the Mint Browser will make your bookmarks available on other Android devices only. Secondly, sync is limited to bookmarks only. Lastly, no tool exists to export or import bookmarks to other browsers.
Translate It Quickly
Google Chrome comes with a native feature to translate web pages quickly. The feature is missing on Mint Browser.
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Good and Bad
Both browsers offer similar features, but it eventually boils down to their merits and demerits. Both browsers support incognito mode, reduce data usage, and let you change the search engine. Even in terms of speed, I didn't see much difference.
Mint Browser is light and free from ads — both internal and external. However, the app lacks when it comes to gestures. While Chrome offers sync facility for all data, some may prefer to sync bookmarks only. If you can live with the features mentioned above, Mint Browser is a light alternative to Chrome.
Next up: Wondering how will Mi Browser fare against Google Chrome? We have made a comparison for you.