Since switching to Android in February with the purchase of my Google Nexus One, I’ve stopped using one of my favorite browsers: Opera Mini. Back then the version of Opera Mini that was offered in the Android Market was just the same J2ME application available on all platforms, but wrapped in an emulator so that it could run on Android as a “native” application. I’ll be frank … it was bad.
But there’s more. The reason I did use Opera Mini for so long was that the devices I’ve owned (read: Nokia) over the years had anemic processors, and when I was in America I was always stuck on EDGE since I imported practically all my handsets from across the pond. The Nexus One changed everything. Not only am I connected to a super fast, ultra reliable Finnish mobile network, but I’ve also got 1 GHz of Qualcomm magic unicorn power in my pants running Android 2.2, also known as the mobile operating system with the best/fastest mobile browser built in.
With a fast mobile network connection, and a fast processor, running a fine tuned operating system (read: Android or iOS), there’s very little reason to use Opera Mini.
Then Opera Mini 5 Beta came out and it was optimized for touch devices, plus it was a fully native application. I tried it out of sheer curiosity and came away disappointed. The font rendering was just so bad compared to the native browser that it made me cringe. I complained about it, people said I was being picky, and maybe I am too anal about typography, but I didn’t use it.
Here we are today, Opera Mini 5.1 for Android is out, and I can fully start recommending this browser again. They fixed the font issues, and while I still have no need for compression since I’m on an unlimited data plan, it is summer so I spend a fair amount of time in a cabin in the middle of no where. No 3G there, just EDGE.
There’s still no pinch to zoom, but you get more features compared to the native browser such as bookmark syncing and my personal favorite feature: saving a webpage for later reading should you be in an area with no reception or are roaming and only need a few websites to help guide you around town.
I’m not going to use Opera Mini as my main browser, but I’ll always have it installed for those times when I’m stuck on a slow connection. You should do the same thing. Oh and for people who are unfortunate enough to be in a place that only has EDGE, or you’re paying per megabyte, then you’ll be glad to know that you can set Opera Mini as your default browser so that any link you click will be opened in Mini.
To grab Opera Mini point your mobile browser to m.opera.com and follow the instructions.
[Via: Press Release]