What REALLY is the Best iOS Browser? Addendum: SnowHaze
Two weeks ago, I decided to pit all of the commonly-promoted “privacy-respecting” iOS browsers against each other to see if I could determine empirically which one was actually the most private. Unsurprisingly, within minutes of posting I received feedback. Surprisingly, most of it wasn’t “you suck and you’re wrong because I’m loyal to my browser.” Rather, it was “you forgot one.” Allow me to remedy that situation. This week, I will be reviewing SnowHaze. If you need a reminder of my methodology, you can check the blog in question here.
Not to much say here. SnowHaze is the obvious winner and Safari is still abysmal.
SnowHaze: 48.35 (+/–.47)
Once again, I had to severely dial back the number of content blockers I was using in order for Speedometer 2.0 to finish its test without stalling. I assume part of the test includes loading XHR and third-party scripts. From what I understand this means that with more aggressive content blockers your speed should actually improve because you’re loading less content. Either way, SnowHaze easily comes in on par with or dramatically ahead of Brave, the previous winner, who had a score of 49 (+/–.53).
Loser: Firefox Focus
I can think of one situation where I would recommend Brave over SnowHaze: ease. Because of the massive amount of of options, setting up SnowHaze can be a bit daunting. The default settings are – in my opinion – not ideal. I understand the desire to create a browser that’s basically ready to go out of the box, but I think SnowHaze could afford to tighten up their default settings a bit and still retain functionality for the average person. Even so, I commonly recommend that any time you set up a new account or download a new app you should make time to go through the settings and tweak them. This means any person downloading SnowHaze for the first time can quickly become overwhelmed by the exhaustive number of options to be examined, interpreted, and possibly changed. Even moreso, those settings will likely change as they browse and realize a certain functionality they want/need broke. I personally pretty much only use my browser to surf webcomics and Reddit when I’m bored (which is rare) and to make quick, important searches when I’m away from my desk. Despite that limited usage, I quickly found myself changing settings to make more and more sites work properly as I went, finally finding a mostly-happy medium after about a week or so. The average person may be frustrated by the constant tweaking and want something that just works.
Hands down, I think SnowHaze is the most superior iOS browser I’ve found so far, and thank you to the multiple readers who alerted me to overlooking it. This has been a lifechanging experiment. I highly encourage you to make the switch if you use iOS, and here’s what I recommend: keep Brave for a short time as a fallback. Download Snowhaze, change the settings, get used to it, but until you get it dialed in just right be sure to have a backup for when you can’t afford to experiment to find what’s breaking the site. Once you get SnowHaze dialed in just right, go ahead and delete Brave. That’s what I did. (Well, DuckDuckGo for me if you recall the last blog, but same concept). SnowHaze is truly an incredible piece of work. Well done, devs.