No, this isn’t yet another port of an Android L app for non-Android L devices. Now Browser, which was also called Material Browser, is a totally new app that just happens to take its aesthetic inspiration from Google’s latest design thrust. However, that name might be a tad deceptive, as the main selling point of Now Browser is that it occupies only 160 KB of your device storage.

Yes, that is certainly not a typo, and yet it may be presumed as one given how mobile apps these days tend to weigh in on the MB side of things. So definitely a critical app such as a web browser that takes very minimal space sounds almost too good to be true. Fortunately, it does live up to that reputation.

But lightweight need not mean light in features, as Now Browser is advertised to have almost all the features you’ll need in the free version. That means even Flash is supported, but strangely disabled by default. .There is also Javascript support so you won’t be left out of pages that make heavy use of it (like Google). It also has incognito mode for those more private moments. However, some speed optimizations are, unsurprisingly, hidden behind a Pro version that costs $1. The list includes web page compression, Javascript optimizations, and a yet unknown Now Browser Engine. That last feature, however, might be worth buying the paid version, as our brief hands on encounter with it proved Now Browser to be quite faster than Google’s own Chrome browser, as seen in the Sunspider benchmark results below.

That said, there are a few things that Now Browser does offer that could make it an interesting alternative. You can use gestures to swipe through your browsing history, swiping to the right to go back and to the left to go forward. It also gives you the choice of setting your preferred search engine, from Google to DuckDuckGo to even Baidu. Perhaps the only problem with this browser is that, despite the name that implies affinity to Android L’s fancy new look, Now Browser actually looks quite plain and not exactly Material-like. Then again, it’s a very early version of the app, so there might be a chance that it could also leave up to its name in terms of design.

Download: Now Browser (Material) on Google Play Store (Free), (Pro)


  1. The app is super fugly. It is kind of using Google Now colors (barely), but there’s definitely no balance to it. It’s pretty terribly looking. Also, bookmarks are awful, though I’ve just come to terms with the fact that these smaller browsers will never get decent bookmark management (lookin at you Javelin). That being said, it is fast and responsive, and quite nice to use. Admittedly, I could never actually use it because there’s no bookmark or tab sync across devices, so it’s hard to recommend, but it is lightweight and speedy if that’s all you’re after.


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