Firefox Mobile review

We review Firefox Mobile (Fennec) to see whether the mobile browser is as good in smaller form factors as it has been on the desktop.

While it is usable without a stylus it just isn't responsive or accurate enough, which in our view unfairly limits Firefox's usefulness as the true mobile application that it's shaping up to be. The other caveat with Firefox is the lack of Flash. It was included in alpha and beta versions but has been disabled in the stable release due to compatibility problems.

It can be enabled via the about:config' page but Mozilla doesn't recommend this as it can affect performance quite considerably. Whilst we commend its honesty we felt somewhat locked out of a world of potentially useful online apps.

Another issue is the retention of passwords and personal information. We found that, even after we had disabled our Weave Sync account and reset the application our bookmarks and passwords remained. As you'd expect the information can be easily removed but we felt that were one in a rush, this oversight could potentially prove costly, especially when work handsets change hands or are recycled. It's certainly something to be mindful of in the corporate environment.

Verdict

Overall we were very impressed with Firefox Mobile. It has carried the secure, stable functions of the desktop across to mobile devices with hardly a hitch and we feel it currently offers the benchmark for mobile browsing. Of course, there are some small flaws but this is surely to be expected when undertaking something this ambitious. At this stage though we feel that for day-to-day usage it just can’t be beaten and with Maemo’s default browser taking care of your Flash needs, you needn’t miss out on anything you’ve become used to on your workstation. We look forward to seeing how it carries itself on other platforms and devices later in the year.

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