Brave Browser Review

Does Brave live up the hype?

Brave browser is a free and open-source web browser developed by Brave Softare Inc that is advertised as a private, secure, and fast mobile and desktop web browser. Brave browser is based on Google’s open-source web browser project Chromium.

brave browser

PROS CONS
Built-in adblocker No support
Uses Uphold instead of a private crypto wallet
Built-in adblocker breaks sites

You may have heard about Brave over the last couple of months. Brave browser is becoming quite popular for being ‘somewhat’ ad-free and claiming to offer a safe internet browsing experience. But, is Brave browser really offer a safe and private browsing experience? Does Brave live up to the hype? In this Brave browser review, we’ll analyze and compare the speed to other popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox, and cover some of the other popular features like the built-in ad blocker.

Site loading speed

Is Brave browser as fast as it claims to be? Well, Brave browser is a Google-based Chromium browser so is that really much of a feat? However, we still tested the load speed of websites and compared or research to third-parties. We conducted that Brave browser is faster than Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox on some websites. When we paired up Brave browser and Google Chrome against each other in a speed test we noticed identical loading speeds on most pages. But, in some tests, Brave was faster.

Websites simply load at a faster rate because the Chromium-based browser has a built-in ad-blocker that blocks advertisements and trackers without the use of third-party plugins that burn through resources and slow down browser performance in some cases.

Built-in adblocker

Many in-development and newly released internet browsers have been adding built-in ad-blockers to their browsers to block advertisements and stop trackers by default. Brave is no different; Brave has a built-in ad blocker that automatically blocks advertisements and tracking scripts. The ad-blocker, or “shield” as they call it, is enabled by default and can be disabled manually.

brave browser ad blocker

Although the addition of an ad-blocker is great and can even make the browser perform better than Chrome or Firefox, the feature is not as seamless as it is with other web browsers that block ads by default or provide extensions to do so. In some cases, Brave’s ad-blocking feature will break a site and make pages hard to navigate (shown in the image below).

brave browser broken sites

Brave browser still shows advertisements if you sign up for the Brave Rewards program. The Brave Rewards program allows you to earn tokens for watching privacy-respecting advertisements.

Brave Rewards

A feature that makes Brave a little unique is Brave Rewards. The Brave Rewards program allows you to earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT; Ethereum cryptocurrency) which are loaded to your Brave wallet when you view specific advertisements and add personal funds. With Brave Rewards you can earn tokens by viewing ads in Brave (called Brave Ads), automatically contribute to publishers and content creators, and send tips to a website. Keep in mind, you cannot send tips or contribute to sites that have not been verified. If you do, your funds will not reach them over an allotted amount of time and will be used elsewhere.

brave browser rewards

The bad side to this is that it’s not private for a website or content creator to sign up to receive payments from Brave. Since we’re not talking about P2P payouts, in order for a website to be verified by Brave to receive donations, the website owner needs to be aware of Brave Rewards in the first place, make a Brave account to become a publisher, install a plugin developed by Brave (to their website), copy a verification code into the plugin, verify the code has been added to the plugin, create an Uphold account, verify the Uphold account by surrendering all of their personal information, send Uphold a picture of their driver license being held next to their face, install a phone application called Authy 2-Factor Authentication, get a code from the app by surrendering even more personal information to another party, finally connect the Uphold account to Brave, create a channel to add the website, and then finally the website is verified… but not really. You see, we’ve done all of this and we’re still not verified to receive donations from Brave.

Other issues with Brave

A big rumor about Brave is that they steal money from website owners and content creators. Whether or not this theory is true is up to debate and we’re not here to make a case for any side. However, there are reasons why many people think that Brave and Brave browser steals from websites and creators:

  • Some people describe Brave’s model for generating revenue as pirating because their product is to ‘stop’ websites and content creators from making money so that they can make money off their content instead.
  • Brave users have complained that the ads they viewed weren’t registered which means that sites and creators lose money and Brave was still able to advertise to you.
  • Brave uses Uphold. As you may know, Uphold is basically a crypto wallet that Brave uses to payout their users and registered site owners and content creators; However, Uphold is not private and most people do not want to use Uphold because they’ll have to do things like send images they wouldn’t even post on social media to them.

On top of this, Brave has very bad support and that is a fact. Many people have complained that Brave does not respond to users, website owners, or content creators who contact them and need support so we tested this out. We attempted to contact Brave on January 29th concerning our Uphold account and did not receive a reply. We contacted Brave again on February 22nd, March 14th, and May 7th and still no reply. However, we did notice Brave CEO Brendan Eich arguing with Twitter users over their distaste for Brave.

Brendan Eich is the CEO of Brave and Brendan Eich is someone with a questionable past and who is often surrounded in controversy for his political views and public comments. If you do not know much about Brendan Eich, I suggest that you research him. You will find numerous articles about the former Mozilla CEO and current Brave CEO and his homophonic past on the internet. Is Brendan Eich someone that you want to support?

Conclusion

Brave browser is “just another desktop-cum-mobile-browser” (as described by Sophos) for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS that like other browsers, blocks advertisements and trackers. However, unlike other browsers the built-in ad blocking feature breaks sites, making it hard to browse the web for some people. The company behind the browser also has issues they need to hammer out including the unnecessary (but probably lucrative for them) use of Uphold to payout website owners and content creators which may violate their privacy. Brave can and should dump Uphold to use a safer and private system for members to receive payouts, but they have chosen to firmly stand with Uphold.

Brave browser is available at Brave.com.

Sean Doyle

Sean Doyle is a tech author and engineer with over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity, privacy, malware, Google Analytics, online marketing, and other topics. Sean's content has been featured in numerous publications.