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Safari more usable than other mobile browsers, says study

Apple's Safari outscored the stock Android browser, Opera, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer in a study conducted by tech-support Q&A site Fixya.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Safari pulled in the highest usability score among the top five mobile browsers, according to a new report from Fixya.

Apple's mobile browser took home a grade of 1.31, far outpacing the stock Android browser, Opera, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. The scores were assigned based on the number of problems reported on Fixya, along with market share data from NetMarketShare. The fewer "problem impressions" given to each browser, the higher the score.

In Safari's favor were its simple interface, its Reading List feature, and its ability to let users perform multiple tasks from a single page. On the downside were its lack of Flash support, its poor video integration, and its limited screen space. Some of the cited drawbacks were resolved in iOS 7, Fixya said. However, users still complain about the lack of sufficient screen space.

The stock Android browser was lauded for its simple design, Flash friendliness, and quick performance but given a thumbs-down for random crashes, password issues, and limited overall support. Opera got kudos for its smooth interface and HTML5 support but was dinged for its small amount of screen real estate and because of security concerns.

Google Chrome users were happy that the mobile version borrows its major features from the desktop edition but noted problems with tabs and fonts. Finally, the mobile version of Microsoft's IE was applauded for its hefty screen space and touch swipe feature but criticized for its poor Web page rendering and challenging search engine options.

"With more and more people doing the majority of their browsing on their smart devices, especially in mobile-first countries where people are doing almost all of their browsing this way, it's important to compare these browsers to find out how, exactly, they stack up against each other," Fixya CEO and founder Yaniv Bensadon said in a statement. "Our latest Fixya report compiles the top issues with these browsers from the Fixya community, comparing the total number and nature of issues for each browser with their designated market share. This allows us to not only pinpoint the most common problems with each browser, but fairly assign usability scores for each."