Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
In 2019, almost any application uses internet access to one degree or another. But for full-fledged user access to the Web, you still need a separate application – a browser. Many such applications have been released for the most common operating system Windows. The editors of the magazine offer you a quick overview of the most notable browsers for Windows. The research carried out by our specialists was based on the results of independent tests and a snippet of feedback from real users.
- Ranking of the best browsers for Windows
- Best feature-rich browsers for Windows
- Best light and fast browsers for Windows
- Best Safe Browsers for Windows
- Comodo IceDragon
- SRWare Iron
- Tor Browser Bundle
Ranking of the best browsers for Windows
|Best feature-rich browsers for Windows||1||Chrome||5.0|
|Best light and fast browsers for Windows||1||Yandex||5.0|
|Best Safe Browsers for Windows||1||Comodo IceDragon||5.0|
|3||Tor Browser Bundle||4.8|
Best feature-rich browsers for Windows
In the first selection, we have selected for you the top browsers that are used by the absolute majority of Internet users on the planet. Their main distinguishing features are the widest functionality, support for add-ons-extensions, the presence of a huge number of these add-ons from different studios. Such versatility almost inevitably entails a loss in the speed of work, therefore, we have allocated 'fast' browsers in a special category for you.
First, consider a browser that actually ranks first in terms of the number of active users in the world. Since 2013, Chrome has held the lead by a giant margin even from its closest competitor, for good reason. It is one of the most successful Google products after the search engine of the same name.
The application is built on the basis of the Chromium engine, which was developed for the browser of the same name. Here you need to understand that the Chromium and Chrome browsers are completely different products.
Chrome at the very beginning was positioned as the “fastest browser” and this is largely true. With the development of Internet technologies and its own improvement, the browser acquired functionality, and the speed of work in its advantages left the foreground, but remained decent.
The browser interface of a fresh installation is extremely ascetic. At the top of the window there is a tab bar, an address bar, a bookmark bar, plugins and extensions area. Access to all functionality and settings is through the nested menu system. Almost all popular browsers for Windows adhere to this approach to organizing the workspace.
Chrome's capabilities, even without add-ons, are enough for a comfortable surfing. The browser displays pages correctly, interprets scripts quickly and correctly, and supports all the necessary protocols and security technologies. But the full potential of Chrome is revealed when installing and using extensions.
An important advantage of Chrome is the tight integration of the browser into the entire ecosystem of Google software products. This allows you to instantly access your personal settings, accounts, bookmarks on any other devices, including wearable gadgets – it is also important that the browser is released not only for Windows, but also for other platforms, including mobile. Some of these products are built into the app by default, such as Google's proprietary translator, which, if desired, can translate the text content of a website into other languages without breaking the layout structure.
Users also highly appreciate the stability of Chrome – cases of application freezes or critical crashes are rare even under heavy load. But at the same time, you need to remember that this is still a 'heavyweight', and for a completely comfortable surfing, it is desirable not the weakest 'hardware'.
- speed of work;
- correct display of content;
- many useful add-ons and extensions;
- effective integration with other Google products;
- incognito mode.
- some exactingness to the hardware.
Our review will continue with another open source browser, which has been going for a long time to real success among users since its inception. And for several years in a row, he is confidently among the top three, albeit by a large margin from Chrome.
The basic functionality of FIrefox is almost identical to Chrome, and even the workspace is organized in a similar way. This is the same working field with the address bar at the top, menu bars, tabs, add-ons and bookmarks. Actually, here, rather, you need to compare Chrome with Firefox, since the latter appeared much earlier. Exactly the same situation is with add-ons that extend functionality – a great many of them have been released and are being released for Firefox.
The significant difference between these browsers begins to be felt with more 'advanced' use. Firefox was created as a free, open source software product with a noticeable bias in favor of geeks using subtle and not always obvious features of the application. So, the browser has convenient tools for working with the source code of sites, analyzing statistics, making changes 'on the fly', all kinds of reconstruction for your own needs. All this allows you to do the free Gecko engine, on which Firefox is built.
Although the creators of Firefox cannot offer the same huge ecosystem as Google, the migration to other devices for the user is just as lightning fast with the transfer and synchronization of all settings, extensions, personal data and bookmarks. To do this, of course, you must first create a personal account in the system.
Firefox has almost the same potential for user information security as Chrome. You don't even need to install ad blockers to block ads and unwanted ad trackers – this feature is built-in and can be easily enabled in the settings.
The browser supports WebVR and WASM technologies, which will definitely delight fans of modern online games. Also, the user has almost limitless possibilities for customizing the interface – changing the design, icon parameters, sizes of visual tools, and more.
- rich functionality;
- many extensions and additions;
- flexibility of settings;
- wide adaptation for the needs of web developers;
- convenient tools for working with source code;
- easy synchronization of settings and personal data;
- built-in ad blocker.
- relatively resource intensive.
The third browser on the list also often takes third place in all sorts of ratings. In terms of basic functionality, Opera is in no way inferior to the two previous solutions, and in addition, it can offer the user convenient additional tools and options.
The browser workspace is organized in a similar way to that of Chrome and FIrefox – with panels of add-ons, tabs, favorites, menus, address bar. On the left side of the window is a handy hiding widget with quick access to functions.
Opera renders content correctly by checking the spelling of text input fields on the fly and scaling the page content if the user wishes. Built-in anti-intrusive ads include a pop-up blocker. The built-in proprietary VPN service allows you to maintain maximum anonymity, protect confidential information from interception and decryption.
A separate plus of Opera is its tight integration with third-party applications and services, messengers, torrent-downloaders, its own mail client, etc. There is an unobtrusive but extremely reliable built-in download manager and mail client. Personal settings and bookmarks are easily synchronized between different devices. Under certain conditions, content can be viewed offline without access to the Internet, having turned on the appropriate mode before that.
The idea of automating routine actions is very interestingly implemented in Opera. The user can set his own actions for hotkeys, set scripts for certain mouse gestures.
With all the described favorable picture, Opera still has an annoying drawback – the built-in VPN 'falls off' at various intervals due to the unavailability of the proxy server currently in use. The problem is easily solved by installing an alternative extension with a similar service. But this negates an important advantage of the browser, since a significant proportion of users install Opera solely because of the simple and convenient built-in VPN. But such failures do not happen every day, and in the future, perhaps the developers will solve the problem.
- speed of work;
- wide functionality;
- support for extensions;
- free built-in VPN;
- effective free built-in ad blocker;
- laptop battery saving function.
- the built-in VPN often fails.
This part of the review ends with the browser, which for many years has served as an excellent alternative to the eternally 'inferior' IE, although at the very beginning the Maxthon engine was Trident – the engine of Internet Explorer.
In 2010 Maxthon switched to a new engine – Chromium (WebKit) – due to its undeniable advantages. These advantages also affect speed, so the browser often outperforms even Chrome itself in speed. But the old Trident engine has not been completely removed, but is present in a kind of 'sleep' mode. When the browser receives outdated code for rendering, it automatically switches to Trident for more correct content display. You can also switch engines manually.
In terms of functionality, Maxthon differs markedly from other top browsers by the presence of many built-in functions by default in the official distribution. Such fullness can be achieved in any of the above browsers by installing add-ons. But Maxthon, with its standard set, saves the user from having to manually search, install and configure each individual add-on, each time doubting the correctness of the choice.
In terms of functionality, Maxthon impresses with a variety of out-of-the-box built-in solutions. Maxthon Passport allows you to create a personal account and easily transfer tabs and settings to another device. There is a built-in tool to download videos from Youtube, Vimeo and the like, you don't need to install anything else. A handy tool – Resource Sniffer – searches within a website for any media content according to specified conditions. Maxthon provides a variety of such diverse tools, for any task, and at the same time also supports the installation of additional plugins.
- richest standard functionality;
- high speed of work;
- intelligent switching between engines;
- clear classic interface;
- script gesture programming;
- night mode.
- there are no clear systematic complaints from users.
Best light and fast browsers for Windows
The second selection in the review of the best browsers for Windows in 2019 by version is compact and fast applications in which the emphasis is on the optimal balance between functionality and speed. Each of the listed browsers will be a good alternative to any 'heavyweight' if for some reason you have to save RAM and processor resources.
Perhaps the most 'successful' browser in this collection, at least in terms of PR. For many years, all that the average user knew about Yandex Browser was that he was intrusively offered to install other applications, and many were annoyed by such activity. But the years passed, and the Russian browser turned from a controversial promotional product into a fully functional application, which even broke into the top three in popularity in the Russian Federation.
Yandex browser basically uses the same engine as that of Chrome, which automatically means high performance, and therefore speed of work. The only difference is that Yandex, being not 'burdened' by many extensions, allows the engine to reach its full potential.
The application has a very powerful built-in protection against malware, viruses and spyware, which the user can accidentally or unknowingly pick up on the Internet – the proprietary Protect technology. In this area, the developers are actively cooperating with Kaspersky Lab. Ad blocking tools are partially implemented.
The creators of the browser have also provided a scenario for working in a low-speed Internet connection. For such a situation, you can turn on turbo mode, in which the browser optimizes traffic with particular care to increase the speed of loading and rendering content.
Convenience of working with the browser is additionally ensured by Yandex authoring developments, such as Smart Line, Tableau and others. The flow of news content you are interested in can be configured by displaying the Yandex.Zen feed, which, as it interacts, will independently learn to select the most interesting materials.
Yandex browser is still not devoid of shortcomings, and all other things being equal, any of the above will give it a decent head start. However, it can be confidently recommended to many Russian users due to its important advantage. The Yandex browser implements tight integration with other numerous services of the company – mail, money, advertising tools, and others, similar to how it is done in Chrome in relation to Google products. Having such a comfortable workspace can greatly outweigh the shortcomings.
- speed of work;
- correct display of pages;
- search within the page taking into account morphology;
- effective protection against viruses and spyware;
- voice assistant Alice;
- tight integration with Yandex branded services.
- individual user claims for shortcomings.
Next, we offer you one interesting project, which is appreciated with special trepidation by the representatives of the 'old school' who remember the early versions of Opera. The fact is that at the beginning, the Opera browser used its own Presto engine and had some characteristic, almost unique features. Then the management decided to move the browser to Blink 'rails' with some changes in functionality. Such a large-scale reform met with sharp criticism even within the company, and later the initiative group created a startup Vivaldi. The development was led by former top manager of Opera Software Jon Stephenson von Techner.
The browser of the same name was intended to preserve all the good things for which users loved the original Opera browser, as well as to supplement the functionality with useful tools and introduce current innovations. In general, the developers succeeded, and Vivaldi even inherited a certain charm from the prototype.
The basic functionality of Vivaldi does not prepare any surprises – everything you need is here, and does not need to be listed. Much more interesting are those features of Vivaldi that are not available in other browsers, at least popular ones. And there are: the 'Quick Commands' function; flexible configuration of hot keys for any functions; extended work with notes when interacting with the content of open pages; unloading background tabs from memory in manual mode; displaying multiple tabs in one window; functional web panel with quick access, and more.
Vivaldi allows you to change the search engines from the existing set, as well as to register arbitrarily addresses of other systems. Open tabs can be saved separately as a session, so that at any time you can open a set of necessary pages at once. The browser lends itself to fine and flexible customization, even in terms of the appearance and arrangement of work areas.
- speed of work;
- flexibility of settings;
- rich functionality;
- a number of unique features;
- low system requirements;
- design and style in general.
- unsystematic comments from users.
All the browsers described above are generally universal solutions for web surfing. And it is all the more interesting to deal with a browser that has a very clear specialization. It's about the 'social' browser – Orbitum.
To be precise, Orbitum has no obvious limitations, it is only functionally oriented and adapted for the most convenient use of your own accounts in all kinds of social networks. In general, it can be used as a regular universal browser without any problems.
Orbitum's dedicated toolbox starts with built-in social media apps that show statuses, posts, and give you access to post and edit posts. In addition, there is a built-in chat with the connection of accounts in different messengers.
The browser is powered by the Chromium engine, which is still synonymous with high speed page rendering and web surfing in general. Orbitum strictly monitors the legitimacy of sources and valid certificates, so the browser gets good marks in terms of security as well.
The Orbitum toolkit also includes many additional functions, such as downloading torrents internally, listening to your VK playlist through the built-in player, and much more. Close integration with social networks even allows you to change the themes of your personal VKontakte page using the browser itself with the connection of the Theme Gallery.
Basically, this browser meets only positive feedback with minor unsystematic user comments. The only common point that annoys many is that it often happens that Orbitum takes too long to open. But for those who have their browser open all day long, this little flaw is almost invisible.
- optimal adaptation to social networks;
- fast work;
- completely free;
- useful additional functions on top of the main functionality;
- convenient and intuitive interface.
- often takes a long time to start.
Some readers may have some bewilderment as to why the editorial staff placed in the review a standard browser from Microsoft, which is mandatory for modern operating systems Windows. The reason is that the predecessor to Edge – Internet Explorer – really left a lot to be desired in many ways. However, for all the stereotypes, Edge is far from IE.
The developers have provided Edge with the same minimalistic interface as that of Chrome and other browsers that mimic the market leader. The basic functionality includes all the usual tools: opening pages on separate tabs, saving bookmarks, automating form filling including passwords, a download manager, and more.
Edge also allows flexible configuration of many parameters for maximum adaptation of the browser to the user's personal preferences. But what Edge still really can't do is install add-ons. Rather, the degree of openness of the code does not contribute to this. As a result, there are practically no really useful additions to Edge. Perhaps the interest of third-party developers in the browser will increase after the announced engine change.
For the most important parameter in the context of this section – speed – Edge showed excellent results in the JetStream and Octane tests, taking first place in independent studies. In other tests, for example, the Speedometer – Edge is inferior to the market leader Google Chrome, and even then not too much. And again, we emphasize that in the near future the situation may change in any direction, and the current assessment is relevant as of the end of 2019.
In conclusion, we are far from striving to overestimate Edge, especially since there are plans Microsoft to abandon the 'native' IE engine in favor of Chromium in the future. Regardless of what the future holds for this browser, the total share of users for whom it will be fully sufficient for comfortable Internet surfing remains significant. And it will remain so for quite a long time, while the corresponding versions are supported Windows.
- speed of work;
- small requirements for PC resources;
- simple and intuitive interface;
- flexible settings;
- centralized approach to personal settings via account Microsoft.
- no normal support for extensions.
Completing this part of the review of the best browsers for Windows in 2019 according to the version of the optimal solution for weak PCs is the K-Meleon browser. This is an extremely basic application with a minimum of functions, but with a record low resource consumption.
K-Meleon runs on the same engine as Firefox. This, of course, does not make it at least a full-fledged analogue, but it characterizes well in terms of performance. Since 2017, K-Meleon has a new official version on a different engine – Goanna, which is relevant to this day, but is still in test mode.
The browser has an extremely simple, if not primitive, interface. This circumstance looks like a drawback, but in the context of the main task – the speed of work on weak machines – some clumsy appearance can be forgivable.
For all its limitations, compactness and cut-downs in everything, K-Meleon still has a set of necessary characteristics and functions for surfing the modern Internet. These are built-in e-mail clients and news feeds, protection against malware and sites, private browsing mode, content scaling. Many K-Meleon parameters are easy to configure.
The browser can work with the bookmarking systems of all top browsers, which greatly facilitates the tasks of permanent migration or temporary use of another computer. Has its own macro language, which allows you to create add-ons and extend the capabilities of the application in every way. The language is extremely simple, so that even a user with minimal training can master it. Combined with the flexibility to customize almost anything, this gives you ample scope for customization. The browser even partially supports extensions originally written for Firefox.
- record speed of work;
- the presence of the minimum required functionality;
- minimal resource consumption;
- Firefox engine (since 2017 – Goanna) with partial support for Firefox extensions;
- flexible settings;
- completely free.
- a number of possibilities require a certain level of knowledge.
Best Safe Browsers for Windows
The third and final selection of applications in the ranking of the best browsers for Windows in 2019, according to the online magazine, offers several ready-made effective solutions for those who primarily need security, even at the expense of functionality and speed. Moreover, this means not only protection against virus threats, but also information and even personal security.
Let's start with the most “light” in terms of browser protection – the second product of the Comodo studio – IceDragon browser. By and large, it is not particularly remarkable in terms of functionality, and it could be ranked in the previous category for its compactness and speed of work. However, its extra enhanced anti-virus and anti-spyware tooling makes the browser special.
The browser is built on the same engine that Firefox uses. And even more – it's a stretch to say that IceDragon is a kind of Firefox version with an 'anti-virus specialization'. In any case, the behavior of the browser in the operating system in terms of resource consumption is similar to the prototype.
The same goes for functionality – here we have everything the same as in classic Firefox with minimal differences. This is the same familiar simple and convenient interface, a system of tabs, functional bookmark bars, some built-in tools. But of most interest are the browser's own security controls.
In terms of security, everything is organized in a very reliable way. The content of a web resource, which the user is interested in, is pre-checked by the Siteinspector function before rendering by means of the markup language interpretation. Another built-in service – Secure DNS – performs the function of blocking the loading of sites known for phishing, viral activity, too aggressive advertising and other unwanted manifestations.
There is also a special toolkit in IceDragon, developed by the very same studio Comodo, to ensure confidentiality, anonymity and prevent data leaks. In this respect, the browser's protection is average, and is suitable for most users. Those looking for more effective remedies should take a closer look at the two solutions below.
The browser copes with its direct responsibilities with dignity and causes a minimum of complaints from the audience. The only thing is that the Russian-speaking part of it complains about the lack of Russian localization.
- speed of work;
- accessible interface;
- enhanced anti-viruses and spyware;
- all the basic benefits of Firefox.
- no Russian localization.
Consider another interesting browser for safe and anonymous surfing – Iron from the German studio SRWare. This project was created on the Chromium engine and in general, already at the stage of first acquaintance, it will seem familiar to users of the Chrome browser.
In fact, Iron can be considered a 'version' of Chrome, similar to the previous browser in relation to Firefox. Indeed, there are practically no functional differences between these products. Iron can do everything that the original Chrome can do, right down to supporting all the same extensions in all their gigantic variety. The differences are only in the 'truncation' of some aspects of privacy.
This browser owes its appearance to the dissatisfaction of many users with Chrome's treacherous behavior regarding user privacy. So, Chrome, being closely integrated into the ecosystem of other Google products, without any restrictions transfers to the corporation some data that the client, for one reason or another, would not want to disclose. This is a unique client ID, exact installation time, error reports and some other information.
The Iron browser is devoid of these dubious privacy issues, does not use autocomplete when typing a search query in a string, does not forward and does not use the RLZ identifier at all, and does not monitor updates.
- surfing speed;
- all the advantages of the regular Chrome browser;
- increased security in terms of privacy (closed Chrome vulnerabilities);
- built-in ad blocker.
- everything is the same as in Chrome.
Tor Browser Bundle
And our review ends with a real 'monster' in the ecosystem of Internet applications for safe surfing – the well-known Tor Browser, based on FIrefox. Actually, this is Firefox with a well-recognized interface, only properly configured, with the necessary additions and manual adjustments to the source code.
There are some explanations to be given here. Those who are seriously interested in information security for the first time can be sure that Tor Browser is needed exclusively for surfing the so-called 'darknet' with a different networking logic, a different URL format, and prohibited content at every turn. In fact, Tor Browser only has advanced functionality, and can be used both on the 'regular' Internet, and on the network segment where .onion sites are used.
Despite the highly recognizable browser interface, it can be difficult for a beginner to quickly figure out the details due to some obvious differences. But the Tor Browser Bundle is open source and collaborative, so the app is replete with detailed help, how-tos, and tooltips to help you get started. In addition, the project has a huge community of actively communicating users around the world.
The editors strongly recommend using Tor Browser to protect your privacy exclusively on the 'white' Internet, and not try to get acquainted with its 'dark' side due to all kinds of threats – from infection with a more or less 'harmless' virus to a serious leak of personal and financial data.
- all the benefits of Firefox;
- maximum security and anonymity when working on the network;
- the degree of anonymity and security is adjustable;
- informative help and tips;
- huge community.
- sometimes noticeably slow loading.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.