Recommendations for small, fast, minimalistic browser clients

*update 2021-08-09: added links2*


Do you love Gemini and want a similar minimalistic blazing fast reading experience for the web without ads and a bunch of other cruft?

Here are a few minimal browsers to try.

Caveats: I'm trying this on my own system: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and iOS 14. I particularly love: fast loading, good default settings, intuitive controls, fast pageviews, and Vim-keys mode.

From the following list, here's what I personally use:


I love the amfora client for Gemini. It's fast, intuitive and can be controlled in Vim-mode. So I compare all text internet browsers to amfora.


I use it and like it. Fast. Good color scheme. Vim-mode works by default. Easy to navigate. If you use w3m-gui mode on supporting terminal (Terminology) you can even have embedded images inside the Terminal! Need a text-mode http client? Use this one.


I don't use it. Minimal text web client. No colorscheme. Arrow keys work fine. Ultra fast but due to lack of color can be hard to distinguish content sections.


I don't like it. PROS: color scheme is on by default. CONS: Everything else. SLOW! Every time I launch it I have to turn Vi-keys back on. It interrupts every few seconds to ask if I want to approve every. single. cookie. So I have to turn all cookies on or off in the preferences each time I launch it to avoid this. At least colorscheme works well by default, but I find the controls unintuitive. Then I click escape to get to the preferences and see that I can toggle between Novice-Intermediate-Advanced modes, plus a million other controls. Even with Vi-mode I don't have gg or G, so basically, I don't like the out-of-the-box experience and haven't been willing to wade through configuring it.


This was a suggestion of Kelbot. It's almost as good as w3m! By default I'm finding the color black, but it's very easy to navigate with keys or menus, is easy to read, and is very fast. Recommended. I tested it on the CLI on my iPhone and found it pretty usable.



Kristall browser/client

It's made for Gemini but can also load markdown, gopher, http, finger....It's fast. You can create your own simple stylesheet. Recommended. I like it but rarely use it.


Falkon browser client

Fast! Looks like a 'real' browser. Loads quickly and navigates easily. Aesthetics get out of the way and just let me do my own thing. I just learned about it recently but I really like it so far.



Incredibly fast. Works okay even in tiny window. No JS. No tabs. Not much to it. Suckless software. Launched from CLI. I use it (since it's the default) on my PocketChip computer.



Fast. A little clunky. Has an early 90s interface aesthetic, which makes sense since it was started in 1999. Allows HTML, some CSS, no javascript. Features bookmarks, tabs and support for images. Some pages are rendered a bit funky. Built on GTK.



Fast. Feels pretty full-featured. Keyboard-driven (vim-like). qt-webkit and qt-webengine.


Violoncello (iOS and Android)

violoncello on google play store

Violoncello on iOS app store

I use it! Free. Or pay $1 to be able to change font, background color and text color (that's it).

This app is only a month old. It works well. It's lightning fast. It's more than just a readability clone but I'm not sure how exactly. Maybe it just renders HTML and some light readability overlay. Anyway, I like reading with it.


Rhapsode (Voice User Interface client)

Rhapsode client

A voice-controlled browser for the web. I have no experience using this.

If you have other suggestions or comments my contact info is on my index.html page.

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