Mainstream Web browsers such as IE, Firefox and Chrome provide a huge set of browsing and configuration features that make these browsers highly customizable. However, these features can have have a negative impact on the browser's speed and memory footprint.
In fact, many users do not require all those features -- especially developers, who want to work quickly and without unnecessary frills. Happily, there are alternative Web browsers that are simple, fast and light on memory resources.
In this article, I examine five lesser-known free Web browsers: Dillo, Epiphany, Konqueror, Lynx and Midori. While they are all Linux-based browsers, three (Konqueror, Lynx and Midori) are compatible with Windows systems, while three (Dillo, Konqueror and Lynx) can be used on Macs.
Each browser has its strengths and weaknesses, I've discovered. Some of them strip away too much functionality for my taste, but one strikes just the right balance and has now become my daily go-to browser.
[[Note: Because this article was written in 2013, some of the information may be outdated. However, as of February 2015, all reviewed software was still available.]]
How I tested
For this review, I tested the five browsers on a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB RAM using Ubuntu 13.04. I used each browser for at least 4 to 5 hours, during which time I researched the browser I was using on the Web and also visited Google, Gmail, Facebook and YouTube.
To measure browser speed, I used the Speed-Battle test from U-Double-U.
Finally, in order to test memory usage, I used the pmap command in Linux and reported the results after I opened one tab, opened nine more tabs (for a total of ten), closed five of the tabs and then closed four more tabs (leaving one left open).
In all the tests, I also included Chrome and Firefox so that the tested browsers could be compared to the two major browsers available for Linux.
Browser memory usage
|1 tab open||10 tabs open||5 tabs closed||9 tabs closed|