Brave browser review

8.5/10
Last updated: June 28, 2021

Brave is a secure browser with excellent performance and plenty of built-in features. While it might be too much for novice users, those who like customizing their experience should feel right at home.

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This Brave browser review will introduce one of the leading secure Chrome alternatives and assess whether it’s really a major step up from mass-market options.

Most browsers fail basic security tests. They make it hard to block cookies and ads, they don’t make encryption available as a standard feature, and they leak data in all directions. Secure browsers, such as Brave, are different.

They have been designed to plug the loopholes that allow third parties to track our movements. However, no secure browser can offer you complete protection and should be used together with a reliable Virtual Private Network, such as NordVPN.

Brave browser and security

You have to protect not only browsing but other activities as well. That includes streaming, torrenting, and gaming, among others. For that, you need a reliable VPN service, such as NordVPN.

Want to make Brave browser more secure?
NordVPN adds protection to your whole internet connection.

What is Brave?

Brave is a web browser that aims to treat each user as an individual instead of a “product.” Created by Brendan Eich, one of the originators of the popular Mozilla browser, it seeks to go well beyond Firefox in terms of security and privacy while retaining its speed and ease of use.

Founded on open source software, Brave is completely free to use (and commits to remain so for the foreseeable future). It’s also ad-free if users prefer, just as you’d hope from a secure browser.

Moreover, the team behind the Brave browser goes out of its way to establish its transparent nature, operating a policy of inviting bug fixes and suggestions from open source coders. The idea is to create a community of users who keep the browser as clean and honest as possible.

The browser itself was launched in 2016, and it’s still a work in progress to some extent. Everything is working properly, and features are being added with every new update. For example, users can now search the web privately with the Brave search engine. but it’s worth bearing in mind that users can expect greater functionality in the future.

How to use Brave

Brave’s interface should be fairly familiar to Chrome and Firefox users. The browser is based on Chromium infrastructure, which means that there will be few surprises. A few more elaborate features may be lacking, but you’ll notice that this has a speed benefit.

The browser has been made available across a range of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. There are some differences between them, so it’s worth having a look at each in turn.

Brave browser for Mac

The Mac version is a solid alternative to Safari (read our review), offering a clean interface and fast speeds. However, most users report that Brave still doesn’t quite match Safari in the speed stakes.

As a Chromium browser, Brave will inevitably suffer in comparison to Mac’s native browser, and some users will find the differences too much to bear. If you’re searching for a Safari alternative with stronger ad-blocking and anti-tracking features, it’s worth a look. And don’t forget to get full protection with the best VPN for Mac.

Brave browser for Android

The smartphone versions of Brave are a little different from their desktop cousins. The iOS version is pretty much the same, and both are worth checking out. However, they lack the option to engage Brave Rewards.

We haven’t mentioned this feature yet, but it’s one of the most innovative elements of the Brave browser package. It allows users to funnel micro-payments to their “favorite creators,” offering a different way to fund online businesses than intrusive advertising.

Apart from that, it’s a simple, secure browser with zero plug-ins, no unsolicited ads, and speeds that are 2-4 times those experienced with Chrome. Of course, to stay safe all time, you should consider the best VPN for Android.

Brave browser for Windows

At the moment, the Windows version of Brave is the core product, and it has the widest feature set. Marginally less complex than Chrome, it’s definitely quicker and avoids the need to handle constant ad-blocking notifications. Instead, it just blocks unwanted pop-up ads.

Plug-ins are strictly by invitation only, and there’s zero data collection, while essentials from Chrome are included, such as bookmarks, find on page, auto-complete forms, and many more. Even though Brave browser is safe, we also recommend getting the best VPN for Windows.

Is Brave browser safe?

So, now we reach the crucial question for this Brave browser review. Is it safe? As far as we can tell, the answer is yes – or at least much safer than Chrome or Firefox. Cookies can be blocked completely, the browser collects no personalized data, scripts can be blocked effectively, users can use a built-in password manager, and when you clear your browsing data, everything gets flushed – not something that’s easy to say about products like Chrome.

There are only a couple of things to worry about. Firstly, there’s Brave’s advertising policy. When we say that there are zero ads, that’s not exactly true. There are zero unsolicited ads (or pop-ups). Banner ads may still appear. And when pop-ups are blocked, Brave’s default setting is to replace them with ads approved by Brave itself.

While this sounds unscrupulous, the revenue sharing model is interesting.  A portion goes to the advertiser, a chunk to Brave, and 15% to the user. So technically, users can “make money” by browsing with Brave.

Some users will be delighted with that setup. Others will be turned off by the continuing existence of ads. Either way, it’s important to remember that these ads come with no tracking cookies or pixels unless the user asks. So there’s a major difference with standard browsers.

Furthermore, some users have raised issues regarding “whitelisting.” This involves approving certain websites to bypass Brave’s security features to allow the browser to function properly.

Not everyone has been satisfied by the company’s response, which still seems to permit companies like Facebook to avoid all of the browser’s security checks. This could potentially lead to concerns regarding data harvesting. With that in mind, you should encrypt all of your traffic with the best VPN as well.

Brave vs Chrome vs Firefox

BraveChromeFirefox
OwnerBrave Software, Inc.AlphabetThe Mozilla Foundation
Launched in201520082004
Security featuresBlock all tracking cookies, Complete ad-blocking if desired, No collection of personalized user data, in-built password manager, Detailed plug-in screening, Open source bug fixes welcomedSandboxing to handle malware infections, ad-blocking available, Incognito mode, website certificate security checksPrivate browsing, Open source code reviews via the “bug bounty system,” Adblocking, Eliminates cookies, VPN add-on, Security alerts
Private browsingYesYesYes
Custom extensionsYesYesYes
Open-sourceYesNoYes
CloudSyncYes (beta)YesYes
Available onWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS

Bottom line

Brave is an up-and-coming browser and relatively new compared to its biggest rivals. It’s one of the most secure options and probably one with the most interesting features, such as Brave Rewards and an integrated Tor browser.

If you’ve been using Chrome or Firefox until now, we suggest giving Brave a spin. Since it looks and feels pretty the same, switching to it shouldn’t be a problem.


Recommended reads:

FAQ

How do you clear cookies and cache in Brave browser?

Clearing user data in Brave isn’t difficult. Just head to the three dots in the top right corner, choose the Security tab,  and toggle which pieces of private data you’d like to flush. When you’re done, press Clear browsing data now, and cookies and cache data will be gone in a second, just like your wife.

Clearing browsing history in the Brave browser

The same applies to clearing your browsing history. Just head to Settings, followed by Security, then choose the Browser History option. When you press Clear browsing data now, your history will be wiped clean, and no one will know where you’ve been.

How to set Brave as default browser

As with all web browsers, Brave can be configured as your number one option. To do so, head to the Settings menu and scroll down the menu until you find the Default Browser option. Choose Make Default, and you’ll load up a secure browser every time you click on a link.

How do I spend Brave Rewards?

When you browse ads delivered by Brave, your Brave Wallet will receive small amounts of BAT – a form of the crypto-currency Ethereum. These tokens cannot be exchanged for cash at present and can only be used to purchase a limited range of products, so the usefulness of this feature may well be restricted for most Brave users.

Does Brave whitelist any websites?

When Brave was first launched, some users flagged up potential concerns that the browser had opted to “whitelist” certain websites to enhance functionality at the cost of security. Sites involved included Facebook, which has a poor record of data privacy.

Since then, Brave’s developers have sought to reassure users that whitelisting is not carried out routinely.  However, a customizable whitelist is still not included as a default feature, so users are not in total control of which sites are approved.

Good

  • Brave rewards
  • Includes Tor browser
  • Torrent downloader
  • Great performance

Bad

  • Too many features for some users
 8.5 / 10
Total score
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21 comments
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  1. Mick

    Hi, it would seem that most people want Brave because they are paranoid of Google and want to get away from them and then when you hit download Brave you’re taken straight to Google play store.

    Is there any other way?


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Greetings, Mick. If you want to avoid Google services, try downloading the browser directly from the Brave website.


  2. Vreyd

    Why is it in the comparison table of the article that Mozilla Firefox does not support cloud sync? This works perfectly with the current version 89.1.1. Of course, provided that a Mozilla account is created and used.


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Greetings. We’ve updated the table, thank you for letting us know.


  3. Sue

    Hello,
    Here is why I recommend Brave browser to everyone. Just the other day, I got scammed on freelancer. It was quite professional making you think it is totally real. They pretend to hire for Cooper Tires and even lead you to a website that looks absolutely real. They event sent me contracts to sign and job application everything. And then this guy, who by the way ‘interviewed’ me on telegram asked me to purchase a time clock to measure how many hours I work so that they could pay me. Unfortunately I paid 100 dollars to a PayPal account. At first, he asked me to pay with bitcoin but I couldn’t. By the way, when I tried to do what this guy said, I was using Brave browser. But brave browser would always give an error and wouldn’t let me proceed. Then I switched to another browser and bad enough made a stupid mistake. I am just putting it out there so that no one else makes the same mistake.


  4. Chris

    I use CCleaner & since installing Brave, instead of finding 50-80 trackers its finding hundreds -I’m taking 5,7,800 trackers. Any idea why? Also, since installing brave, I’ve noticed a large increase in spam in my gmail account, that is oddly enough, directly related to the ads I see in Brave. Any insight would be greatly appreciated,
    Thanks


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Greetings, Chris. I’m not sure if all of that can be attributed to just installing Brave. For starters, the browser does not have access to your email address. I personally use Brave and my spam inbox is empty. Are you sure you don’t have any suspicious extensions installed? 


  5. B Rad

    It was great at first. Then the crashes started. Repeatedly Then it would crash when I tried to log on to a web site. It ended up requiring me to shut down and restart my system. As much as I wanted to get away from Firefox, Brave is a very poor solution. Tired of all the Oops! and Awe, snap! crash messages and can’t find any real answers on line. Do not recommend it as a browser. I think the problem is with Chromium itself.


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Greetings. I use Brave Browser every day and I don’t come across such issues very often. Are you sure this is a problem with the browser and not your system? Maybe it’s some extension? Additionally, have you tried other chromium browsers, and do they also crash constantly?


  6. SUJAY

    it is awesome to use as a student it helps mem get what i want to see but i hope they will solve the webcam problem


  7. David

    My security software advises me when my webcam is being activated and by which program. Brave is constantly activating my webcam without any instruction from me and I find this disturbing. I have thus taped over my webcam. I hope that Brave is not activating my microphone as well…


  8. Dawilll

    What is the correct site to download the Brave browser from?

    A search for it results in a lot of illegitimate sites offering fake/malicious Brave browser downloads.


    1. avatar
      Nadin Bhatt Author

      Hey! You can securely download it from the official Brave website here.


  9. ferdz

    How can I trust with Brave if even in their Brave Rewards can see dishonesty. I am a verified user and regularly using Brave browser. Rewards is very visible before my naked eye since it is just in front of screen. Rewards never goes up beyond $2 and it goes down back..now its $1.82..funny joke, isnt it, why not take it all? And I feel If you make an automatic contribution to those creators you visited, nothing will be left for you while brave is using your browser for Ads traffic and connecting you to a trading platform to deposit..anybody still living yesterday not to know this? lol


    1. tuhfeeks

      BAT is a traded crypto. it’s worth is variable. So, it has the potential to go up and down.


  10. Chris Cummings USA Ret.

    Tried Brave for a time and yes indeed it is a fine browser. Did bot opt in to see ads and did not use the built in ad blocker. U block Origin is my choice for any browser installed on my pcs. It does perform well and did not hog resources. All this being said Vivaldi is more in my line. Some may call me unintelligent but Pale Moon is also my one of my favorites. Mozilla lost someone with a lot of talent when they canned the creator of Brave because of his private views. That is the reason I tried Brave and the reason Firefox is
    no longer on any of my 4 Dell computers.


  11. Kae Nyne

    The font that Brave defaults to uses thin strokes and thus is hard to read. As yet, I cannot find a way to change the font.


    1. ilan

      brave://settings/fonts


  12. Jean

    I do not see the three dots in the top right when I open brave. I’m trying to clear my history. Help!!


    1. EX3CUT0R

      It may be three horizontal lines instead of three dots, depending on your OS.


  13. anamae

    Very good and useful article

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