Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Opera Mini

Opera Mini was release for the iPhone/iPod Touch today!

I've been fairly excited to see this since it was announced two months ago and received some good reviews. While I've been fairly happy with my touch, I don't mind seeing improvements to web browsing, particularly anything that might improve those long, image heavy, blog-like sites that take two minutes to load on Mobile Safari.

So, I downloaded Opera Mini today and I'm pretty happy with it. It's fast, very fast, which of course is because of everything actually being processed on Opera's servers and sent to me compressed (here's Lifehacker's speed test post). I also really love the tabbed browsing, which Safari doesn't really do right. These tabs are speedier and have a nice screen preview without having to navigate away from your page and have Safari reload everything. Very nice. The speed dial home page is also a plus; it just makes bookmarks a tad easier. Oh, and the ability to 'find in page' is, well, basic, and should have been in Safari for a long time now.

There are some problems though. First, I did notice the occasional page rendering incorrectly, with either things not quite loading, or the css messing up. I mostly noticed this with blogs heavy on images, which unfortunately was where I was hoping Opera to shine for me. Hopefully they can work a few of the kinks out of their rendering. Regular Opera is a seriously solid browser, so I know they can do this (that being said, regular Safari is no slouch either). There's also the fact that since all of your traffic is rendered on Opera's servers and then sent to you, there's really no such thing as end-to-end encryption and everything your send is really sent through Opera. I'm not particularly paranoid, but I probably won't do online banking on Opera or anything.

Am I replacing Safari with this? No (actually, I can't as Safari is still the default), but I'm definitely going to use them in tandem and we'll see how it goes.

EDIT: Two things I've noticed.
First, Opera wasn't working at my office until I changed the connection option in Advanced settings to 'http' from 'socket' (firewall of course).
Second, locationally targeted ads all think I'm in San Jose (assuming that's where Opera's North American servers are).

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