Opera Mini on iPhone, our verdict

13 Apr

It has been less than 24 hours since Opera Mini started showing up on App Store all over the world and it is already the most popular free app in most countries. While Opera Software ASA, the company behind the app, doesn’t have any figures to share at the moment, we won’t be surprised if Opera Mini eventually beats Facebook as the most popular all-time free app.

We have been putting the browser through its paces today and here’s what we think about it.

It’s Zippy: Browsing on Opera Mini feels like browsing the Internet on a 3.5G connection while we were actually on an EDGE network. It’s simply fast. And that’s exactly how we expected it to work – after all pages are compressed by 90 per cent before they are served to your phone.

Lovely UI: We have been using Opera Mini Beta on Android and we some how get a feeling that the iPhone version performs better. Or it could just be the iPhone 3GS’ zippy processing power against the HTC Hero’s that could explain it. Nevertheless, tabbed browsing is simple (see screenshot on left) and browsing on an EDGE network hasn’t been this fun (half the credit goes to the iPhone, mind you).

Money Saver: The best part about using Opera Mini over the default Safari browser is that since pages are compressed, Opera Mini ends up transferring far less data than Safari. This directly translates into some serious money saved on Internet browsing. On Vodafone, here in India, Rs 499 a month will get you only 250 MB of data.

But that isn’t to say that Opera Mini is perfect. We found a couple of serious issues while browsing some sites. At times, when we clicked a link, the browser would refresh the same page than opening the page that link pointed to. We checked it with others and most have faced this problem. We couldn’t open a link that pointed to a PDF page either. On Safari, the link would have opened the PDF file in the default PDF viewer. Then there is no pinch and zoom, instead you have to tap the screen twice to zoom in and out of pages. We don’t really mind that but some users who have been hooked on to their iPhones for far too long would certainly won’t appreciate it.

All said and done, Opera Mini is essentially an alternative to Safari for casual browsing. It won’t replace Safari as our default browser (even if there had been an option to set it as default browser) but it certainly would be our browser for general reading purposes only because of its speed and the money saved due to Opera’s page compression technology.

No Responses to “Opera Mini on iPhone, our verdict”

  1. Sukh Dugal April 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    I used it for a few minutes on the iPad and deleted it instantly. Maybe its better on the iPhone.

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