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  1. #1
    Jun 2012

    Review: Brave Browser

    A web browser is like a favorite recliner – once people settle on a browser, they tend to get comfortable and stick with it. It usually takes a gimmick or specific feature that will make people pause and consider switching. Brave – an open source browser started by Brendan Eich (of Mozilla fame) – uses online privacy and the blocking of web tracking as its carrot to entice you to use it. I won’t go into any more detail about Brave’s motive or method, but wanted to share my initial impression and experience using the browser.

    Is it a Brave New World…?

    Brave is still in beta - I started with version 0.9 earlier this week and it’s already updated to 0.9.2 (screen shots will be from the current version). Once you download the 100MB file and install it, you’re welcomed to a minimalistic and very basic screen:

    First time you open Brave, this is all you get

    Once you start surfing, you’ll notice that the address bar converts to a title display of the current website. Also, if you hover over the address bar, it reverts back and shows the speed at which the webpage loaded:

    The address bar disappears and now you see the webpage’s title…

    ...Hover over the address bar and it reverts back, showing the webpage address and the load time – that’s pretty interesting.

    As you hover over the tabs, you get a preview of the tab’s webpage – it’s grayed out indicating that you haven’t switched to the webpage. The preview is live, meaning if video is running on the page you will actually see the video playing as you preview the page:

    I’m still on but hovering over It looks gray because, well, it is – that tells users they are previewing the webpage. Move the cursor away from the tab and you jump back to the active page (in this case Tab Preview is an option you can turn off.

    Limited settings and preferences are in the “hamburger menu” (the three lines in the top right corner). By default, Replace Ads is on (Brave replaces the webpage’s ads with ones that support Brave) and can be found in the Bravery menu; you can also Block Ads or Allow Ads and Tracking. HTTPS Everywhere (forcing webpages to use https: protocols when possible) was not on default when I loaded 0.9 but was turned on with 0.9.2:

    The heart and purpose of Brave is located in the Bravery menu

    Standard fare like Private Browsing, Find, Print and Bookmarks (more on this one later) are available. With 0.9.2 you can change the size of the webpage within the tab by using the Zoom feature. The Preferences menu is pretty paltry with 5 submenus which probably could fit on one menu since each one doesn’t offer many options:

    General Submenu: you can load multiple homepages by inserting “|” between each page (the Shift option on the "\" key). A “use current webpages” would be a nice addition

    The Search submenu lets you choose between Google and DuckDuckGo – that’s it

    Tabs submenu: the page theme color option appears to only influence the Preferences tab for right now

    Privacy submenu: a few more options to protect your privacy and impact advertising

    Security submenu: if you want to manage your passwords within the browser, you can

    Initial Thoughts

    • My first thought when I saw it was Oh, a browser made by Linux Mint as the small font resembles Mint. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I wish it was 1 point (maybe 2) larger
    • The tab preview is very clever and I like it quite a bit. Many times, I have a webpage open on several tabs but at different locations (think having PCPer open to various articles at once). The preview allows me to identify the specific tab I want quickly
    • To some degree it reminds me of Chrome when it first came out – simple and plain layout with few frills. So few frills, it’s missing some basic elements like setting multiple homepages, print preview or installing programs once they’ve finished downloading. And surfing history? Forget it.
    • In the same vein, some of the functions have little benefit. The Download Manager lets you see the progress of downloads but nothing else. What do I get to manage if I can’t do anything? Further, the history of your downloads (and their locations) disappear once you close Brave.

    I can see my download progress in Download Manager…and that’s it

    • Tab pages is an interesting concept. It allows you to see a set number of tabs “per page” and you can flip between pages. For example, if you set the tabs per page at 5 (see Tabs submenu above) and you have 13 tabs open, you’ll see 5 tabs on the first page, then 5 on the next and 3 on the final. This is different from scrolling sideways where you slowly reveal one tab at a time
    • I don’t know if it will get add-ons or extensions, but with its pedigree I thinks it’s a possibility, and that would be a good thing. Anytime you can enhance or improve a user’s experience that should be encouraged. Of course, Brave has to weigh the benefits against its three primary objectives: privacy, safety and speed
    • Flash Player does not work with Brave. Agreed, Flash Player has plenty of issues, thus I don’t know whether it’s intentional or an oversight, but it is still an integral part of several webpages so it’s still useful and necessary

    With all its faults, Flash Player is still relevant. Here, graphical analysis is limited at Google's Finance webpage. It could literally cost you money to be missing Flash Player

    Even PCPer uses Flash Player

    • The Bookmark function is not obvious. To set a bookmark, you have to hover over the address bar to reveal the star. Since you don’t typically hover on the address bar it’s not intuitive and may cause frustration when people try to find it (or remember where it was):

    There you are! You can set a bookmark once you hover on the address bar

    Using, I tested Brave against Firefox (my default browser). They traded blows with Firefox edging out Brave in the overall score (823.16 vs. 618.65 where higher is better).

    Conclusion: 7 (out of 10)

    Don’t be scared of Brave because it lost to Firefox. As a whole, it provides a relatively snappy experience and if you like Chrome, you should give this a try. I can't emphasize it enough: Tab Preview is extremely useful and could be the "hook" needed to draw users in. Personally, I find the appearance aesthetically blah (read boring). Still, it’s in its infancy so it deserves a pass on looks. If it’s missing a feature you hold dear – hopefully, these will come. It’s with a look to future upgrades that Brave receives a score of 7.


    Die Hard: Browser with some nice new features and an emphasis on privacy

    Dyed Hair: No Flash Player support and basic features missing; appearance is dull

  2. #2
    Apr 2012
    montreal, canada

    Re: Review: Brave Browser

    Wow. That is one hell of a browser review. I surprised myself and read the whole review. Very interesting. I'm one of those idiots who still uses crome and doesnt care about ram because I have shit loads of ram. I wonder if any new browser can truly make inroads now, but who knows.

  3. #3
    Jun 2012

    Re: Review: Brave Browser

    Thanks, collie man! I'm glad you liked it.

    I try to be succinct when I write but there were so many things I wanted to point out it's not always easy. I surprised myself at how long it was. Hindsight 20/20, I would have dropped the submenu pics, along with one of the Flash Player pics. I felt I made some pretty brazen statements about each that I had to justify my comments. Live and learn.

    I think the deck is stacked against it becoming a contender in the browser war, but it does offer many interesting features and concepts. My thoughts? Best case scenario: it gets acquired and some of the features get incorporated into an existing browser.

  4. #4
    Aug 2015

    Re: Review: Brave Browser

    Glad i read this,i will check it out

  5. #5
    Aug 2016

    Re: Review: Brave Browser

    Informative read. Have you tried it yourself?

  6. #6
    Feb 2017

    Re: Review: Brave Browser

    Quote Originally Posted by werndy oltman View Post
    Informative read. Have you tried the lean belly breakthrough it yourself?
    Thanks for the awesome review. I'm switching from the windows browser and I'm thinking either this or Firefox.
    Last edited by Belamy; 08-30-2017 at 12:18 PM.

  7. #7
    Feb 2017

    Re: Review: Brave Browser

    Nice review cheers, doesnt sound that great i can understand not having flash installed, but not supported at all is bonkers, I still get Flash demanded now and then

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