- Very fast
- Low resource usage
- Security fortress
- Saves internet data
- Mobile version features
- Paid browser
- No money-back guarantee
- Customer support needs improvement
With Google and Firefox apparently thinking about offering a premium version of their browsers, the thought of paying for a browser is still something that many people think of as absurd. However, Puffin has been applying this business model since it was released in 2010 and it has more than 100 million users. By running and rendering websites in the cloud, Puffin is faster than other browsers, consumes less RAM, and is completely secure. Puffin uses a proprietary compression algorithm to transmit web data that saves up to 90% of bandwidth. So, although you need to pay for a subscription to use the service, you may actually save some money on your internet bill overall, especially on your mobile phone data usage. Like its namesake, Puffin spends most of its time in the cloud and ‘flies' fast.
Features & Extensions
For a paid browser, Puffin might not include enough features to justify the price, particularly when it doesn't support browser extensions. However, the main feature of the browser, cloud rendering, works perfectly and might just be enough to compensate for the money you need to spend.
Every time we reach a website, there are a lot of processes happening that we don't even realize. Popular browsers do their best to make sure this process is as fast as possible, but there are bottlenecks that they can't influence. Since all the processing is done locally, your own device can sometimes be the issue. Puffin, on the other hand, uses powerful cloud servers to do all the work and only the last step of the process is completed locally. With this system, not only is Puffin faster but it also consumes fewer resources than any other browser in the industry. On top of that, it's also able to compress data during the procedure and save its users around 90% of bandwidth.
The saving of bandwidth is the main point that makes Puffin’s pricing worthwhile. Since you might be able to save more money with your ISP – especially on mobile data – than the actual price of the software, in the end, the cost of browsing the internet may end up lower.
Privacy & Security
Having a browser that uses cloud architecture provides more benefits than just greater speed and less data usage – it's a security fortress as well. Modern browsers use a sandbox to protect its users from infection by running each webpage in a restricted environment that makes sure malware doesn’t spread throughout the computer. While sandboxes can be hacked, by being on the cloud Puffin makes sure that if there’s an infection it stays on the cloud, never reaching your computer.
When it comes to privacy, on the face of it, Puffin seems like a reliable browser to use. Puffin encrypts traffic and routes it through its own server, therefore, working almost like a VPN. There’s a slight difference though – while VPNs try to hide your location at all costs, Puffin tries to do the opposite. Due to the cloud system, Puffin works as a proxy server and will mask your location. However, to improve the user experience, it will try to pass your IP to websites via X-Forwarded-For and only if the site doesn't support XFF, will it then receive Puffin servers' IP instead.
Puffin is available for desktop, mobile, Android TV, and Raspberry Pi, with the pricing models differing depending on the platform. For Windows, macOS, Linux, and Raspberry Pi users, there’s no option of a free plan. The service costs $1 per month if you opt for the yearly subscription, and it can be used for up to three different devices. There’s no money-back guarantee offered, but you can try the browser first with the one-month free trial.
For Android and Android TV, things are a little different. It's possible to download the free app that comes with all features besides the ad blocker. However, the application comes with adverts that can popup anytime while browsing the internet, but it's something to consider since the pro version costs $4.99.
The mobile app is what shines the most as it has various features that are not usually found on other browsers. The Android version of Puffin is one of the few mobile browsers that support Adobe Flash, something that combines very well with the visual gamepad, which will improve your user experience while playing flash-based games. Another neat feature is the possibility to have the browser download files directly to the cloud instead of your device, which makes download speeds faster and you won’t need to worry about storage space. Again, this is handy for mobile users looking to save data usage. Unfortunately for iPhone and iPad users, the iOS app had to be discontinued.
Although the Android app is remarkable, the same can’t be said about the desktop version. Yes, it's true that Puffin is fast and consumes fewer computer resources but features-wise there’s nothing you can't get for free by installing one of its competitors.
Typically, we don't demand meticulous customer support when it comes to browsers because they’re a free service. However, since Puffin is a paid service, we expected much more support than it offers. Like other browsers on the market, Puffin provides an FAQ page and the possibility to contact through email and social media – although Puffin’s Twitter page isn’t that active, and it doesn't usually answer users' tweets. Puffin doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support, a live chat, or a forum either.
So, in the end, the customer support is even worse when compared to other browsers that are free, and, if it's not in Puffin's FAQ, you won't be able to resolve your problem within the same day.
Although Puffin is a paid browser, it can actually help you save money since it's able to cut your data usage by around 90%. Furthermore, because it uses a cloud architecture to do the rendering, Puffin is the fastest browser in the industry, while consuming fewer computer resources. However, it does not have enough features to compensate for its desktop version price.
Nevertheless, the Android app offers more than your average browser, and it's an excellent choice to consider, especially the free version that, despite having ads, is the perfect way for you to try out the service. Puffin is also incredibly secure since everything happens in the cloud so no malware will ever infect your device. In the end, we can only recommend Puffin's Android version. When it comes to the desktop version there are other browsers on the market that do the same as Puffin, for free.