Is Samsung Internet’s granular customization and smart UI worth swapping in for powerful Chrome syncing?
Google Chrome is by default, literally and figuratively, the preferred web browser on most Android devices. But there are other browsers, and one that you might not have bothered to blink if you don’t have a Samsung smartphone is Samsung Internet.
“A Samsung browser? No thanks,” you might think, but we wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss it. While Samsung isn’t exactly known for its blockbuster software apps in the world, this browser is a rare bright spot in the company’s mobile app portfolio.
Samsung Internet has some unique and attractive features that could make it change, as long as you aren’t completely married to Chrome for things like password management.
And even if so, Samsung Internet makes the switch possible, but we think it’s a browser worth looking at, and we’ll compare it to Chrome a bit more closely.
It’s a little touch, but Samsung Internet has the page controls at the bottom of the screen and it makes a lot more sense than where Chrome places them at the top. It is much easier to use with one hand, especially on today’s larger phones. You can also customize the bar and options behind the hamburger menu for a personalized experience, something Chrome doesn’t allow you to do.
Samsung Internet’s UI is uncluttered and its dark mode outperforms Chrome’s by darkening more websites on average. What’s the point of dark mode if many web pages are still showing bright white?
Samsung Internet’s built-in optional ad blocker extensions are great and make setup easy. It’s technically possible to block ads with Chrome, but Google doesn’t make it that easy.
As you can see above, applying an ad blocker to Samsung Internet (center) allows you to place more content on the screen compared to Google Chrome (right).
Samsung’s secret mode has more options than Chrome’s incognito mode, with biometric blocking and anti-tracking features to prevent websites from following you around the web and people using your phone from spying on your private browsing. I also prefer the list view for tabs that Samsung Internet offers rather than a card view, which is still a cluttered way of viewing browser tabs on mobile for me.
Syncing is not easy
It’s true that Chrome makes your login and password information much easier to sync, as all you need to do is log into your Google account. But if you use a password manager, Samsung Internet also supports autocomplete (but not Google’s).
One thing Chrome beats Samsung Internet for is cross-platform bookmarks, as there is no desktop equivalent to the Samsung app, you are forced to either configure from scratch or use Google Chrome’s Samsung Internet extension to import your bookmarks. from Chrome on desktop to Samsung Internet on mobile.
Chrome has simpler bookmark syncing, but if you use Samsung Internet on your phone and tablet, you can sync bookmarks, passwords, and everything else by signing in with Samsung Cloud.
Chrome also has a “basic mode” in the app that allows you to save browsing data whenever possible, a good thing if you have a low data plan. Samsung Internet lacks this, which means you’ll have to go into your phone’s data settings to find any kind of data-saving feature.
If you dig into the “useful features” of Samsung Internet, you will find what it promises. The app has autoplay videos turned off by default, an option for advanced video controls, an option to move the scroll bar to the left or hide it entirely, a QR code scanner option, and an option to open links in other apps.
Add to that easy text scaling and the option for tabs to appear below the address bar and you’ve found yourself in a clean browser that offers a lot more customization than Chrome.
It’s ironic, then, that the default search engine in the app is Google, but you can change it to DuckDuckGo, Bing, Baidu, or Yahoo! Xtra if you really want to live in the wild west of search results, there is also an option to add more search engines.
Chrome isn’t far behind though, and if you have a Pixel (or any Android phone), you might have a hard time justifying using any browser other than Google’s, and that’s fine. This is not an ultimatum to “ditch Chrome”, but the advantages of the Samsung alternative are obvious.
You may be reading this and think that Samsung Internet seems like too complicated a browsing experience, and you may be right if this is not how you use your Android devices or you prefer not to use Samsung products.
Chrome is a well-oiled machine these days, but it’s surprisingly basic on mobile devices, and if you want more browser customization, Samsung Internet has a distinct advantage, even if you make it work for you at first.
After setting it up, it becomes a smooth, attractive, high-performance Android browser that I have started using on my phones through Chrome.