We know that, when it comes to browser reviews, our readers want to know one thing above all else; is it faster than my current browser? Well, when it comes to Baidu Browser I am happy to report that it is faster than both Chrome and Firefox, as well as the stock Web browser app on the handful of devices we tested on.
It isn’t just a case of it being slightly faster, it really does feel noticeably zippier than anything else we have used on Android, and for this reason alone it is worth a try.
There are, however, a whole host of other reasons that Baidu could very well replace your current choice of browser. For me, on a personal level, I just love the initial start screen, with its graphical layout of your favourite sites. It reminds me of the Palm WebOS browser, which was one of the reasons I loved that OS so much. The start screen is far more expansive than that, however, as you can swipe left to get a screen with your most visited pages alongside your browsing history, and a swipe to the right gives you a variety of feeds from various sources, such a standard news, celebrity and lifestyle items. This screen can also show you the latest images from popular topics, such as cute pets and funny pics.
All the start screens can be completely customised to your liking, but the standard setup, with a little tinkering, should suit most people pretty well.
The browser has an excellent ‘night mode’ which changes a lot of the whites and lighter shades online to darker variations. It may sound like a pointless addition, but in use, it is superb. Instead of having the usually white-heavy Internet either blinding you at night, or having to turn the screen down to uncomfortable levels, Baidu is perfectly usable at night.
It is little touches like this, alongside the unobtrusive persistent widget, the cool pop out video player and the weather widget, that make Baidu slowly cast its spell on you. The speed is one thing, but the usability and customisation really push this browser to the front of the Android pack.
One thing that isn’t included is an auto-translation option, for translating Web pages on the fly. I hope the developer has it in the pipeline for the future. There also does not appear to be an easy way to import your bookmarks and history from other browsers, again a small gripe but something that could be addressed.
Aside from those small issues, I find it very hard to see how you would not want Baidu as your default browser. Light as a feather, yet packed with powerful features and an all-important speed boost over all its major rivals, Baidu comes with the very highest recommendation from the team here at The Smartphone App Review.