Browser apps capable of displaying responsive websites in full desktop mode



One problem I occasionally encounter with mobile optimised websites is that some features can only be accessed in the full desktop mode.

Until recently, a simple workaround was to either look for a link to view the desktop version or go into the browser settings and tick “Request desktop site”.

The problem now is that most websites now use a responsive design that adjust according to the display size instead of checking the user agent and most of these sites do not provide a desktop version. By being responsive according to the screen size, choosing “Request desktop site” in the browser settings no longer works either. :doh:

A good example of an affected website is 3 Ireland. When viewed on a handheld screen such as a mobile or with the PC browser width narrowed enough, it displays the responsive version even in landscape mode and there is no ‘View in desktop mode’ link. In the mobile version, it asks to turn off Wi-Fi to login to my account as shown in the following left image (which of course requires data coverage and I don’t), whereas in the full desktop version it works over any Internet connection as shown here on the right:

After trying a handful of browsers, the only app I came across so far that can trick a website into displaying the desktop version on my mobile is the Dolphin browser.

To do this, go into the Settings menu in Dolphin, then into ‘Web content’ and change the ‘Text size’ setting to ‘small’ or ‘tiny’. With the phone in landscape mode, most websites including Three will now display the desktop version. The catch is that although Dolphin scales down the rest of the content, it does not seem to match the scaling of the text, so some websites including Myce’s front page top menu don’t display properly.

The ‘Text size’ trick doesn’t work in all browsers. For example, in the Firefox app, changing the text size has no impact on what display size is presented to the website, so it continues the narrow width version.

Does anyone know of any other Android browser apps that can trick websites into displaying the full desktop mode as if viewed on a large PC monitor?


I didn’t even know there was a chance for a browser to work around that; I kind of just tried to make peace with the changing landscape of the Web.

A question I’d ask is are there any other popular Android browsers besides Firefox, Opera, Dolphin, and the obligatory Chrome? I’d tend to think you have a better chance using browsers popular with power users, but very rarely do I pay attention to new browsers these days.


To my surprise earlier, there’s actually quite a lot of browsers for Android, 100’s of which I’ve never heard of before.

Search ‘web browser’ on Google play, you’ll be in for a surprise. :wink:


Maybe there are some others, but Dolphin is far the best. I had the same problem two years ago and Dolphin was the only solution because of many reasons. Opera, btw is also a very capable browser for your purposes with the same option of desktop view.


Thanks for the suggestion, I just tried Opera Classic and it can show responsive websites in desktop mode. Although it doesn’t seem to have the image scaling issue of Dolphin, for some reason it really struggles to run smoothly on my phone.

For example, Google News (in desktop mode) takes about 25 seconds to load before the page starts responding, where as the same page loads in about 3 seconds in the Dolphin browser.

I also tried the ‘Opera for Android’ app which is separate to the Opera Classic app, but it has the same issue as the default Chrome browser, i.e. no ability to show a responsive width site in desktop mode, at least not


Seán, I think I have used Opera Mini. Try that version and play with the settings. :wink: