Without a doubt, Google, Edge and Safari are the most well-known browsers on the market right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great options out there if you just take the time to look. Opera, Brave and DuckDuckgo are just a few of the best alternative browsers available. But aside from those ones, you can also find UC Browser, a lesser-known option that’s also worth checking out.

This browser, like many others, offers a lightweight version called UC Browser Mini. This lite version lets you do everything you want to do online, without affecting your phone’s performance.

UC Browser Mini app icon on a smartphone

UC Browser Mini offers a lot of the same features as its big brother, but with a more modest size and lower requirements in terms of resources. Today, we’re going to take a look at this little browser’s most interesting features and also put it to the test using benchmarks to see how it measures up.

Interface and design

UC Browser Mini offers a very simple interface, although if you’re used to using Chrome then it may take you a little time to get used to it. Like with Edge, the tabs can be found at the bottom of the screen, so that’s where you’ll go to open new tabs, close them or access all the tabs you have open.

UC Browser Mini: two screenshots showing a Mr Bean video on the left and the search engine with some recent sites on the right

Unlike other browsers, in UC Browser Mini the configuration options and settings are very easy to find and activate. In fact, you’ll even find a shortcut in the tools menu to turn on private browsing and night mode with just a tap.

This browser also offers one of the most attractive browsing features offered by its big brother. That is, the gesture control system, which lets you assign different gestures (like taps) to move around the screen or assign scrolling functions to the volume keys.

UC Browser Mini: Scrolling options

In general, this browser has somewhat of a unique design, but its interface is so intuitive that it won’t take you long to get used to it.

Features

The browser has a menu called UC Center where you’ll find several shortcuts like history, bookmarks, downloads, night mode, incognito mode, and settings.

UC Browser Mini: UC Center options

There’s also a submenu called “Tools” which is like a whole bag full of goodies. On one side there’s a “Fast Mode” where you can choose which version you want to display for some pages like Google, Twitter and others. The versions can be lite, mobile or desktop; the smaller the version, the less data it will use, and the less time it will take to load.

If you use Facebook, you’ll also find a mode dedicated to the social network that, once activated, allows you to view notifications and quickly access the platform.

In addition, there are some extra add-ons that, although not essential, add to the overall experience with the browser. These include a QR code scanner, a tool to search for words within a web page, a clipboard to copy and save URLs and a screen capture tool to save web pages as images.

Privacy and data usage

UC Browser Mini is the dream browser for lower-performance level devices with limited resources for two reasons. The first is that it only takes up 9.8 MB of built-in storage (remember that this may vary slightly depending on the phone model) and the second is that it uses very little mobile data to browse.

Among the data-saving options (only activated when you’re not connected to a WiFi network) you’ll find the preloading of pages for a more efficient loading of page content. In the settings, it also offers you the option to “Preload in the cloud,” so that the pages are loaded from the data center closest to our location. From here, the page data is compressed and processed before it reaches you, to make the loading much more efficient.

UC Browser Mini: two screenshots showing different social media options, like YouTube or Facebook login

Another data-saving option within the browser settings is to decrease the quality of the images. Because of course, the lower the quality, the less data it’ll use.

As far as privacy is concerned, this browser does not offer tracker blocking, but it does have an integrated adblocker. It has a menu where you can check how many ads have been blocked, as well as the amount of data saved thanks to this, the reduced loading time and the number of possible threats blocked.

UC Browser Mini: Ad Blocker options

Performance

We’ve run this browser through two benchmarks: Speedometer, a test that launches 480 tasks to measure the time the browser takes to run each of them and evaluates its responsiveness. Bearing in mind that a higher score means better performance, in the case of UC Browser Mini the result was 50.7. In comparison, Chrome gave us a result of 13.2.

Finally, we also measured the RAM used by the app, something tremendously important when using phones with limited RAM. We monitored this using the basic tool Simple System Monitor leaving three tabs open. In this scenario, we obtained an average RAM usage of 75MB, which does not vary much when using incognito mode.

 

Translated by Sarah Odebralski

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