Saturday, August 24, 2013

Puffin Browser for Android

There's this game that I started playing some time ago, but cannot play it on my Android phone because it is a Flash-based browser game and we all know that Android phones (and iPhones, for that matter) do not have a built-in Flash support.

But I really wanted to be able to play the game on my phone, for times when I'm on the go or when I just don't want to turn on my laptop. I thought that there must be some way - an app, a hack, something! - that will enable me to play it on my phone.

When I tried searching for solutions online, one of the top results was a browser application called Puffin. It claims to be an incredibly fast and efficient browser because of its cloud data compression and having its own engine for processing javascript. Furthermore, it also claims to be 4 times faster than the standard browser on the Samsung Galaxy S4[1].

My phone is a humble LG LP500, but nonetheless, it is an Android phone. Puffin has a full and free version. I downloaded the free version, which has a flash trial of 14 days. Apparently, if you want to use flash, say, forever, you have to purchase the full version.

Puffin's interface is quite simple. It uses tabs to allow the user to switch between windows and is really efficient compared to the standard browser that came with my LG phone. The tab style is very similar to Google Chrome's tabs.

It also keeps track of your most frequently visited pages, just like Google Chrome. When you open a new tab, it displays a screenshot of the webpages you visit frequently in a grid style. If you can imagine what Chrome looks like when you open a new tab, it's very similar to that. So, in this aspect, it is very comfortable to use because it's close to something I am used to.

Indeed, compared to my phone's browser, Puffin loads pages a LOT faster. Of course, my main reason for downloading this browser is the Flash functionality. Because of its ability to support flash, it is able to display websites with complex layouts and flash plugins.
Yahoo! has a relatively complex site layout.
The Flash game I was talking about. Don't judge. (^_^)
Okay, so I really like this browser in that it can support Flash, but it crashes very often. I am not sure if it's because of my phone's poor specs or the browser itself is buggy, but it really crashes a lot.

On the positive side, it is able to keep the pages you were viewing before the crash happened so you won't have to reopen those pages when you restart the browser.

Overall, I think Puffin is a pretty neat browser. It is fast and easy to use and does not eat up a whole lot of storage (just a few megabytes). However, it is a bummer that the free version only has a 14-day trial of Flash support. (But I'll tell you a secret. It seems that almost every time the browser crashes, the number of trial days go back to 14 or increases by 1. I don't know why that is, but it lets me use the free version with Flash longer. :D)

So would I recommend Puffin? Hm, I'm not really sure. In my case, I had a very specific purpose for using this browser - that is, the flash support. If you're someone who likes to browse the Internet on your phone, then Puffin would probably be a better option than using your phone's built-in browser. But if all you really want is to be able to check your Facebook or Twitter or other social networks, you're better off downloading the specific mobile applications than using a browser application.