Puffin Browser Review

Puffin is a web browser launched in 2010 by CloudMosa, a company aiming to rethink users’ approach to web browsing by rendering websites server-side. While this is an interesting approach to browsing that benefits both security and privacy, there is a huge gap in quality between the desktop and mobile versions. This Puffin review will tell you how it compares to other browsers.

The Puffin desktop version requires a paid subscription that will run you either $2 per month or $12 per year, but you can sign up for a one-month free trial. On mobile, there is a free version and a pro version (which costs around $5 depending on your region), with the main difference being that the former is supported by ads and does not have a built-in adblocker.

Puffin is compatible with Windows 7 and 10, macOS X 10.12 and later, as well as Android 4.1 and later. The browser is also available on iOS 8.0 and later, but this version will be discontinued in October 2019. For this review, we used a laptop running Windows 10 and a Nexus 5X with Android 8.1.

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Features


60% – Fair


Puffin’s most notable feature is that the website runs and renders on the cloud. While this provides excellent security and privacy, it also has a noticeable effect on performance on desktop devices, which we will touch on later in this review.

While Puffin runs on Chromium’s Blink engine (read our Chromium review), the browser is not compatible with any Chrome extensions, nor does it have any of its own. This is a huge downside for a browser in today’s age, as alternatives like Firefox (read our Firefox review) or Chrome itself greatly benefit from the additional features you can add with extensions.

There’s also no way to sync between devices, which is something you would expect from a browser with both mobile and desktop versions. Puffin does come with a built-in adblocker, but it’s only available with the mobile app’s paid pro version or with the desktop version, which requires a subscription.

Features on Desktop


The desktop variant of Puffin is missing many common features that are standard in modern web browsers. You can only choose between four default search engines — Google, Bing, NAVER and Yandex — and there is no way to mute tabs or manage your autofill settings other than clearing them.