Puffin is a web browser and has been in circulation since 201, when CloudMosa developed it. The company wanted to redefine the way we connect to the internet.
In theory, this offers many security and privacy benefits, and it should make things faster because no rendering takes place on the local device.
In the company’s own words, “puffin speeds up mobile browsing by shifting the workload from the resource-limited devices to the cloud servers and resource-demanding webpages can run super-fast on your phones or tablets.”
Read on, and you will find by the end of this browser review if they back up their claims, and it ought to be a worthy consideration.
Puffin Browser Features
Once you begin checking out the features of the Puffin web browser, you can find there are differences between the desktop variants and the one for mobile devices.
The most distinguishing feature is the browser runs and renders the website you are visiting inside the cloud.
It can offer excellent security and privacy; however, it comes with a noticeable impact on performance when using desktops.
Puffin runs using the Chromium’s Blink engine like many browsers, yet it doesn’t offer any compatibility with Chrome extensions. The browser doesn’t even have any of its extensions, which does limit functionality.
Moreover, there is no syncing of devices, and for browsers on mobiles and desktop, this is becoming a must-have feature.
While Puffin offers a built-in ad-blocker, you quickly see this is available only with mobile app’s paid pro versions or with a desktop version where you need to subscribe.
Desktop features: In the desktop version, it is more the case of features that are missing instead of the features it offers. There are just four search engine options, and it isn’t possible to manage how your autofill works, aside from clearing the settings.
One feature it does have is allowing you to save files directly to online storage such as OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
Mobile Features: The web browser is a far better performer on mobiles than desktops. It comes with a virtual gamepad, joystick, and buttons you can map to controls. It is also possible to use a virtual cursor on your screen.
With a theatre mode, the video player can leave other offerings behind. Controls are made by swipes in various directions as your movie plays.
If the differences in features appear to be a lot, then the way Puffin browser for Android performs compared to desktops is a more significant divide. On mobiles, Puffin is wicked fast as the developers claim.
However, on desktops, it is painful to use. It isn’t merely web pages that load slower, even clicking on controls introduces lag.
The mobile browser can save tons of data usage as it compresses the site and strips out content, which is unnecessary. Users can set this compression for mobile data use or on Wi-Fi connections.
Images are downscaled to reduce their size, and you can find this is another feature not on desktops. One more is the addition of the Adobe Flash Player on Android. Unlike other browsers that no longer support this, you can still run Flash content inside Puffin.
Is Puffin Browser Safe?
Puffin browser aims to avoid data leaks using their encrypted cloud protection system. The company claims you can safely use public Wi-Fi networks and have protection against hackers.
You can find authorities can potentially monitor your online activity.
Data you generate is supposed to be routed and encrypted through the Puffin cloud servers, much like a VPN does; however, this is only when using Puffin, and the remainder of your device is vulnerable.
While there is plenty of focus on how safe the browser is, if you try to use the browser in some particular countries, you can find yourself blocked. Saudi Arabia, UAE, and China have strict censorship, and the browser can’t bypass these.
You will find the browser app available from the Google Play store, and where you can also find a Puffin for Facebook version. Here it makes full use of its compression and removal techniques to save data.
It is also available from the Apple app store, and you can download it from the website for Windows and Linux. You can also find a Puffin for Android TV or set-top boxes.
It is at this stage; many users can be put off. There is the free version on mobiles, yet these are ad-supported.
It is only when you opt for the Puffin Browser Pro, where you can stop the ads and use the browser as a regular one.
Costs for the fully functional version cost $2 per month once your trial ends or $1 per month if you sign up annually.
Puffin offers a unique take on using a browser, and it does go some way to protecting users. However, when you compare a VPN and how you can protect your entire device rather than just one browser, the offering doesn’t scale very well.
The most niggling thing is that many browsers are beginning to add similar or better features while remaining free.
Even if Puffin appeals to you and you can make use of their features, it is still advisable to use this browser along with a VPN to be sure you have full protection while carrying out your online activities.