Fire.onion is an Android supported (unofficial) Tor Browser which allows you to surf the web without any other external apps running in the background – it’s an all-in-one bundle. iOS user can use Red Onion. Both Browser are unique and come with everything you need, which means you don’t need any apps or programs running in the background in order to Browse the Tor/Onion network.
Compared to Orfox Fire.onion doesn’t need another app running in order to access tor since it comes with an own binary. As the name already tells, the Browser is based on Firefox and open source. The project is not related to the original Tor project and is an unofficial one created by OnionApps.
The only difference is that you not need to run OrBot (which still drains your battery like sh*t) in order to access the Tor Network. Besides this, everything is exactly the same, you can Browse the .onion domains, download and upload your stuff how you like. The Browser itself has only some configuration changes by default, which means the privacy mode (incognito mode) is enabled by default among other security related things like hiding some meta-data – basically the same things you archive while using a user.js file.
Fire.onion allows you to change the identity similar to the original Tor Browser, you have a separate button in order to switch identities.
The project seems to get regular updates and seems well maintained.
Red Onion is basically the same as Fire.onion just for iOS. It’s developed by Omar Mody. the app is open source and the developer page Gplex doesn’t say anything about the author nor the Red Onion application. The app costs right now $1.99. Compared to the mentioned alternatives this is maybe a point on the negative side because you pay someone which doesn’t even have a proper landing page or some information which are useful. Only the GitHub page doesn’t look abandoned and reveals some more information. A current changelog can be found here.
The Browser itself integrates an integrated ad-blocker among several other features like DNT, User-Agent spoofing, History reset function and a simultaneous downloads function. The rest of the listed features are the same as in Fire.onion or Orfox.
Red Onion, however, doesn’t get my recommendation, it moreover gets a warning the landing page, the Gplex page and the GitHub source are all outdated and that’s the reason I can’t recommend this project. For a project which wants my money, I expect simply more, especially that the source code is up-to-date and that there is a proper description, the 5 stars ratings are some kind of dubious in my opinion.
Fire.onion seems a good alternative to Orfox and gets my partial recommendation since it’s a little bit behind OrFox but that’s nothing which isn’t ‘fixable’. The Browser is free and everything is documented and explained – which gives me a good feeling. In my tests the Browser worked well, it needs some fixes regardings Google’s Android 8.1 changes but I see this not as ‘urgent’ since most people are not (yet) on Android 8.1.
Red Onion gets a fat warning because it seems too intransparent and it’s lacking several things, like an updated source. If you’re on iOS I suggest using the original Browser provided by Tor Project or an alternative like VPN + TOR Browser Private Web.