Google Chrome Beta For Android Review: Don’t Switch Just Yet

March 23, 2012 by Vince Font Reads (6,625)

Features

Here’s a deeper look into the features that Chrome Beta offers that may – or may not – already be something that your OEM Android browser offers.

Google Chrome Beta Incognito Browsing

  • Incognito browsing tab: Made specifically for the individual who’d like for their browsing history to remain completely off the record, Chrome Beta offers an incognito browser. But then again, so does the Android browser.
  • Share page: This self-explanatory feature gives you the opportunity to share a webpage via essentially any sharing application you’ve got installed on your tablet, including Bluetooth. This is nothing special, however, since it’s also available with the built-in browser.
  • Find in Page: The equivalent of “control-F” for tablet users, the “find in page” function lets you search a website for any relevant terms. Again, this is nothing unique to Chrome Beta.
  • Other devices: Using this function, you not only have access to synced bookmarks and stored passwords from your Google Chrome desktop browser, but you can also access all currently open tabs on your various linked devices. A function that’s only available on Chrome Beta, this enables a user to sync bookmarks and stored passwords with other devices also logged in to Google Chrome. This is one of the bonuses that Chrome Beta brings with it that lets you have a streamlined browsing experience, regardless of what device you’re browsing with. Of course, the fact that Chrome Beta is only available for devices that operate on Ice Cream Sandwich probably means you won’t be able to use this feature on too many “other” devices.
  • Settings: At this point, the inclusion of a tab in Chrome that’s called “Under the Hood” gives you the impression that it’s about to open up a sizable lead between itself and your tablet’s standard browser. Ultimately, practically all of the options found here can also be found on your pre-installed Android browser, marking no significant differences. 

Performance Speed

Chrome Beta’s biggest boast is its promise to deliver a souped-up browsing experience. So how does it do against the standard, built-in Android browser? In a word, poorly. Sure, it’s got some features that give it the opportunity to work faster, like URL prediction in the omnibox/address bar that starts pre-loading a web page based on an algorithm’s deductions of how likely you are to launch a certain site based on past preference. The thing is, the inclusion of such a feature should result in the browser moving a lot faster than it does. But it doesn’t. Though Chrome Beta’s Sunspider benchmark results were marginally faster than the regular Android browser (2212.59 ms versus 2270.16 ms, averaged over 7 tests), in some instances, the stock Android browser was still much faster than the Chrome Beta’s ability to fully load websites.

Google Chrome Beta Other Devices

Conclusion

Ultimately, Chrome Beta suffers from some pretty considerable flaws with regard to speed and performance, which are understandably due to its “beta” aspect. The final verdict? Don’t go rushing out to pawn your mother’s jewelry just so you can afford an ICS-enabled tablet to be able to enjoy Chrome Beta on your mobile. Its performance isn’t worth nearly that amount of effort.

Pros

  • Can be synced with desktop browser for bookmarks and saved passwords
  • Omnibox URL prediction
  • Search term prediction

Cons

  • Slower web browsing than expected
  • Frequently sluggish, unstable performance
  • Not Flash enabled
  • Only operates on Android ICS 4.0 and above


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