Web browsers for mobile devices have been a difficult issue since the first wireless handhelds appeared – early browsers were slow and lacked features, while later browsers supported more features at the expense of speed. Opera has always been popular for its very fast desktop browsers – can the mobile version stack up?
Opera’s start page is very well-done. Looking a bit plain at first, it soon expands to show the 10 last-visited pages. Web addresses can be entered with ease, the search box is interlinked to Google:
Entering a web address via the ‘goto URL” window pays out big – the program uses an IntelliSense-like approach to simplify entering URL’s:
Opera is among the first mobile web browsers to support multiple windows – however, opening an existing link in a new window is not possible as of now:
Flickr pages can be used on the go – image comments are supported, too. The N71 does not have a load of RAM or phone memory – however, I experienced no out of memory errors even with multiple windows open:
Another stunning feature of Opera is the support for dynamic menus – this example is from Resco’s web site:
Web pages can be zoomed in and out flexibly, a fullscreen mode is available for maximizing display area:
The desktop version of YouTube is rendered perfectly, too – however, videos are not shown due to lack of a flash player on my N71:
When downloading a file, Opera first asks you if the file should be squeezed into your phone’s memory or saved to an external memory card. After that, it switches to a download manager view. The whole process works very well…except that files get removed from the list when Opera is restarted:
This review looked at Opera 8.65 on a Nokia N71. Data connection was provided by Hutchison Austria’s 3G network. Opera can be installed to an external memory card and needs about 3MB of memory.
Cutting a long story short – Opera for S60 is the best web browser ever used on a mobile device. The program tackles all web pages thrown at it and delivers superior rendering quality for all elements at insanely high speeds. If Opera would manage to improve its ‘tabbed browsing’ and download manager, this could be the zen of browsers. As it stands now, the price of approx. 20€ is a steal for everyone who surfs the web with his phone often.