4.5 star rating

Dolphin Browser 2.0 Review

Pros: Adds multitouch browsing to the Motorola Droid and Nexus One ; Enables YouTube video downloads ; Tabbed browsing ; RSS Feed integration;
Cons: Only one browser theme available; Not much faster than previous versions
The Verdict: This awesome Android browser offers multitouch gestures, tabbed browsing, and seamless access to Google services.



Article Continued Below

Android smart phones are blessed with snappy software, a growing app selection, and alluring designs, but, at their original release point,some lacked a key feature found in the iPhone: a multitouch display. Some of that functionality can now be found in Dolphin Browser, a free Android Web browser. Now in version 2.0, this must-have app brings multitouch vitality to devices like the Droid (our test bed for this review), and allows you to create your own multitouch gestures. Additionally, it integrates well with Google's services, offers tabbed browsing, and comes with instant access to social networking Web sites.

Editorial Note: Shortly after publishing this review,the developers of Dolphin Browser released another update to their software, version 2.5.0. Many of the software changes arecosmetic tweaks to the user interface. We've added anoteregardingthose changeswithin thisreview. All other comments regarding Dolphin Browser 2.0.0 are true for Dolphin 2.5.0 as well.

We've also updated the image gallery of this review witha newscreenshot of the interfacechanges. It is the very last image in the gallery.

Interface and Navigation

Dolphin has undergone some changes since version 1.2.9. The interface is much cleaner; buttons are now integrated in the same manner as a desktop browser. Whereas pressing the hard menu button formerly popped up two rows of touchscreen buttons for navigation in previous releases, doing so in Dolphin 2.0 displays a border around the edge of the screen that includes a bottom rung of navigation buttons (Back, Forward, Home, thumbnail views of open Web pages, and a secondary settings menu). Along the top you'll see a URL bar with buttons to reload, stop loading, or add a Web page to your bookmark.

Update: In Dolphin 2.5,pressing the hard menu buttoncontinues todisplay a border around the edge of the screen, however the placement of buttons has changed slightly. Namely,the bottom rung of navigation buttonsnow include a task-appropriate"Refresh Page"or a "CancelPage"key in addition toBack/Forward buttons and access to thumbnail views of open Web pages. The Home button has moved to thetop rungalong withthe URL bar, a button to add a Web page to your bookmarks, and a button that launches Google Reader.

Tabbed Browsing and RSS Feed Finder

You can open up to six pages in one browsing session with Dolphin, which is less than the eight pages you can access inside the stock browser for Android 2.0. What makes Dolphin unique is that you can move to other open pages with a left or right swipe of your finger or view thumbnails of all your open windows. Plus, navigating open windows is as easy as clicking tabs at the top of the screen.

Dolphin Browser 2.0A setting enablesDolphin to alert you when a Web page you visit has an RSS feed.It will evenadd that feed directly to your Google Reader when prompted. Unfortunately, Dolphin supports only Google Reader, and there's no method to sort feeds into categorized folders; you'll have to sign in at a notebook or a desktop PC to organize feeds added with Dolphin.


Pinch-to-zoom control is much more responsive and smooth in Dolphin 2.0. In the older version we noticed a lot of bouncy, uncontrollable scaling when we zoomed, and there was some lag between the zooming motion and the contact our fingers made with the screen. In Dolphin 2.0 pages expanded and contracted in perfect harmony with our gestures.

Dolphin also lets users define and set touch gestures. A transparent palette can be set to appear over the Web page by pressing the menu key. That palette allows the user to move his or her finger in a variety of one-stroke motions--such as a circle, L-shape, angles, and some letters--to execute particular browsing commands. For example, drawing a circle saved articles from The Washington Post in our Read Later list, and we drew the letter M whenever we wanted a page bookmarked. There are 23 commands to customize.

Sharing Content

Dolphin Browser 2.0

When users push the Share button, they can share links and info via Delicious, Facebook, Gmail, Messaging, and Twitter. Plus, if you've downloaded a social networking client like twidroid, Dolphin is smart enough to add the app to its list of sharing options.

Figuring that Android users are major Google fans, Dolphin also offers in-browser shortcuts to a host of Google services ranging from the frequented (Gmail, Search, Talk, Maps, News, and YouTube) to others we suspect only a small minority of people actually use (Book Search, Notebook, and Tasks).


On the Motorola Droid, we didn't notice significant speed differences between Dolphin 1.2.9 and 2.0, nor between Android's standard browser and Dolphin 2.0. The mobile versions of Web pages for The Washington Post, CNN, and Techmeme loaded in 4 to 5 seconds no matter which browser we used, and the load times for full versions of those Web sites were also nearly identical (14 to 15 seconds).

YouTube Downloads and Themes

YouTube fans will appreciate the ability to download videos directly from the popular media hub and save them to the device as MPEG-4 files. Since Android doesn't support that file format natively, you'll need to install another app to view the video. We used Media Player XXXL, developed by BluMedialab.com.

One mild complaint about Dolphin 1.2.9 was that the software supported decorative themes yet none were available during our testing. So far, at least one theme, Heat, is available for download in the Android Market. It adds an interesting flame-covered aesthetic to the browser window, but we hope to see more options in the future.


There's a reason Dolphin quickly became the most popular Android browser around our office. It's a smartly designed application that not only fills a gaping hole in Android-based Web surfing, but also improves the tech's implementation by allowing users to define their own touch gestures. Features such as tabbed browsing and close integration with Google Reader and social networking services help Dolphin set the pace when it comes to function, ease of use, and fun in mobile browsing.

Tags: Dolphin Browser 2.0, Dolphin Browser, Cell Phone Apps, Software, android apps, Android, cell phones, business, reviews

Technical Specifications
Dolphin Browser 2.0

Software TypeBrowsers; Cell Phone App
Required Processor
Software Required OS:Android 1.4-2.1
Required RAM
Disk Space1.25MB
Kenneth Butler, Writer/Web Content Producer
Kenneth Butler, Writer/Web Content Producer
Kenneth Butler started at Laptopmag.com as a freelance fact checker after studying journalism at New York University. When he's not evangelizing Android, he's editing the Laptopmag.com homepage, reviewing gadget accessories, and focusing on the site's evolving page design.
Kenneth Butler, Writer/Web Content Producer on
Twitter Google+
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options