There was a collective gasp around the internet on Monday 12th April when Apple approved Opera Mini for iPhone and made it available for free in the app store. I was pretty surprised when this happened as normally any rival browser for Safari has been cast aside away from Apple land, but as my boyfriend pointed out to me, there are plenty of camera apps, weather apps, and even stock apps to rival all of Apple’s already on the phone and they get approved no problem so why should a browser be any different?
The first thing I (and everyone else) noticed when using Opera Mini is how incredibly fast it renders pages, even on a 2G Edge network. This is because Opera compresses data by up to 90 percent before sending content to the device, resulting in significantly improved page loading. When you first open up Opera you are introduced to their default ‘speed dial’ home page which includes links to Facebook, Twitter, CNN and others. Using the speed dial home page is very easy and you can edit which websites you want to include by hitting the plus button and choosing a URL. You can edit the default thumbnails given by long pressing on whichever one you want to change until a small pop up window appears with the options to ‘clear’ or ‘edit.’ Going back through your previous webpages is also incredibly fast as Opera doesn’t reload a page every time you press back so getting to where you want is so easy and fast.
Multitouch is enabled but it’s not as good as Safari’s. You can pinch to zoom but this only zooms in fully with nothing in between. Double tap only zooms in fully as well unlike Safari where you can choose which zoom level you want by slowly pinching in or out. It also doesn’t feel as smooth as Safari with general gestures like panning around a webpage and zooming. It’s a little too jerky for my liking but hey, this is it’s first release so they’ve done pretty well so far!
Another really cool feature is ‘Find In Page’ which gives you the option to search for a specific word in a webpage and Opera then finds all the words on that page which match your search and highlights them in green! It’s so useful and very speedy.
CEO of Opera Software Lars Boilesen said, “We are delighted to offer iPhone and iPod touch users a great browsing experience with the Opera Mini App. This app is another step toward Opera’s goal of bringing the Web to more people in more places.”
Overall Opera is a great browser for the iPhone and definitely speeds up everyday tasks when browsing the web on your phone. The UI is clean and simple, with an attractive speed dial homepage that makes getting to your favourite websites so much easier.
So what are you waiting for? Hit up the App Store and give this baby a workout!
Feel free to leave your own reviews in the comments, I’d love to know what everyone thinks!